I used to be a HUGE fan of old arcade flight-sims (Air Combat, After-Burner, etc.) and I’m thinking of getting back into the genre with ‘Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X.’ But I have a problem: I expect a high degree of quality from retail flight-sticks, lol.
This is because of the wealth of knowledge that’s available about fighting-game components. I am constantly trying to figure out what the ‘Sanwa’ of the flight-stick genre, lol. So far I’ve seen sticks from Logitech, Saitek, and MadCatz (“Created in collaboration with UBISOFT to work perfectly with HAWX”). But I don’t know what to look for or which company has a good balance of quality/price.
I’m probably going to buy the “official” one from MadCatz, but a part of me just wants to know more about the product and its market. Can somebody please give me some suggestions?
Don’t buy anything but CH or Saitek. Saitek is decent quality, similar to mad catz, I’ve owned an X45 and X52 (currently using the 52 for PC flight sims), it’s a HOTAS (has a throttle) and would work very nicely if it’s compatible. It has a crapton of buttons and a pinky finger modifier where you can squeeze the pinky trigger and every single button has an alternate mapping (like a shift key). CH on the other hand, is your Sanwa of the flightstick world. They are very expensive, but you get what you pay for. They tend to come in separate pieces also, so if you don’t want a throttle you don’t have to get one. In the flight sim world most people I know run with a Saitek x52 throttle, either use the x52 joystick or a CH Pro Fighterstick, and CH Pro Pedals.
From what I’ve seen, HAWX is not a flight sim. It is an arcade flight game similar to crimson skies and other similar games. IMO just use the analog stick on the system of your choice. Another option is to get the Saitek Cyborg series of sticks, decent quality, relatively cheap. If you absolutely must get a stick for HAWX and don’t plan on playing any serious flight sims like IL-2, then I’d suggest a cyborg (they look retarded but who cares). But if you’re serious about flight sims, I’d personally recommend the x52 setup. HOTAS is nice, good stick, great software, can’t beat the price if you can find a refurbished one on the saitek site, etc.
Thanks for your responses, guys. That was very informative, Hoffburger!
I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to get something too expensive and intricate since I’m just starting out. And yes you guys are right that this is not a sim and may be too simple for a flight-stick. However, I’m trying to replicate that old flight-sim arcade cabinet feeling where all you really had was a stick (no pedals or throttle).
By the way, I found out that MadCatz actually *owns *Saitek and that their official HAWX Aviator Stick was made by Saitek! On top of that, as Inverse said, this game is less complex than most sims so maybe the HAWX stick will be tailored toward casual players such as myself. And if I decide to pursue sims in the future, I’ll check back here for the suggestions that you guys posted. Thanks again!
EDIT: By the way, are there levels of “stiffness” among these sticks? Or are they all pretty much equal and acceptable?
The madcatz HAWX stick is sure to be tailor made for the console/game, it has the colored xbox buttons and such. It looks like it has a dual throttle (1 for each engine) which is nice and something that would be nearly impossible to find anywhere else. It’s 10$ cheaper than the saitek cyborg, but I’m not sure if you can use it on the PC if you want to get into flight sims.
I’m also unsure if the saitek cyborg would even work on the xbox so that’s another thing to consider. The saitek sticks tend to be more stiff than CH. Saitek sticks use a spring for resistance which can be redneck engineered with zip ties to make it more loose, but it cannot be made more stiff. I have no personal experience with CH sticks but their system is completely different, I’m pretty sure it involves two different rotary style springs that move on one axis (think of it as a throttle on top of another throttle to give it full 360 degree motion). I’m unsure if and how this could be modified to your taste.
It seems to me that as long as the HAWX stick isn’t complete garbage and you can use it on a PC as well as the xbox, that would be your best bet. The game isn’t complicated enough to make use of a HOTAS setup (it has to be designed to accommodate the default controllers). If the saitek cyborg works for the game and the HAWX stick doesn’t work on the PC then I would recommend getting the cyborg because for 10$ you’re gonna be able to play any pc flight sim as well.
As a side note, most complicated flight sims like IL-2, MSoft, etc. require you to trim the plane. This basically means small adjustments to the control surfaces so that the plane stays levels, the amount of trim required changes radically with the speed of your plane. This makes trimming virtually impossible without trim knobs in any combat flight sim. Trust me, you don’t want to be worried about trimming with a keyboard in the middle of a furball. Also, many times I’ve been shot in the legs or arms and the only way to land safely is to fly home and land on trim alone, doing this on a keyboard would be equivalent to trying to land on the carrier in the NES game TopGun while using a PowerGlove while riding the teacup ride at DisneyWorld. I’m not sure if the cyborg has trim on it, the x45 and x52 have two trim knobs and a flap slider (another important thing to not be fuddling around with on a keyboard) on the throttle. Not sure about CH but I would assume they have them as well. I highly doubt the HAWX stick has flap or trim control.
Just saw the description for the HAWX stick. It is a “Twisty” stick, this means that the rudder control is performed by physically twisting the stick around its axis. Some prefer this, others prefer the “rudder rocker” on the x45 throttle (google it if you really care, it’s a rudder controlled by two fingers on the throttle), or actual pedals. I cannot stand twisty sticks so I locked my x52’s twist function (x52 is a twisty by default but has the option to lock the twisting motion) and use CH pedals. If you can get used to it then twisty sticks are ok, but if you notice that you keep stalling yourself out of the sky in high g turns because you’re putting more rudder into your maneuver than you think, then you probably shouldn’t be using a twisty. Rudder movements can be very bad if you’re doing them and not noticing it. It may not be an issue in HAWX but in most flight sims, losing speed from jerky or imprecise movements = death.
Yeah it’s still a tossup as to which I pick even though it’s tailor made. And I’m pretty sure that it works on PC.
Well I have PS3 so XBOX is not an issue. And I don’t think that I would be into modding. I was just curious if there were levels of stiffness like with fighting game sticks. But since I’ll probably get a Saitek then it doesn’t matter.
Hmm I guess this leads me more in the direction of the Cyborg even though the HAWX is tailored for it.
LOL I had no idea that flight-sims were so deep. Then again, people would probably want them to be even deeper. And yeah, I’m pretty sure that HAWX won’t have trim. There is even an “easy” mode where you let the computer just take over and basically play the game.
I think that I’d be the type who doesn’t like twisty sticks as well. I guess I’ll probably go for the Cyborg then.
Thanks again man! I really appreciate it. I wish I could rep you again, lol.
Remember that the cyborg is a twisty as well. If I was in your shoes I would check tomshardware and other gaming sites for reviews on the HAWX joystick. Since you say it works on the PC it would be good enough for casual flight sim use. As long as it’s not complete garbage I would go with that. I’m too biased to give you a suggestion but I can at least tell you that you wouldn’t be unhappy with any saitek product. Even though I’ve never had to use their customer service (and I even had a refurbished x45 for 6 years and still works to this day) I hear that they are pretty good.
Tomshardware is THE place to go for anything PC gaming related. Video cards, sound cards, headphones, joysticks, everything.
I’m uncertain if you can lock the cyborg but if you’re not using the twisty rudder then you obviously have rudder pedals and you can simply unmap the twist function on the stick which would alleviate the input issues. It would still twist, it just wouldn’t do anything.
As for my setup, sadly, no. I’m a poor college student and don’t have the dinero to afford multiple monitors and the horsepower to run them. I would love it though, it would improve my situational awareness a ton. In general though, an 8 way hat switch is sufficient.
You bring up a good point though, in any serious flight sim not only are there very few dogfights, but most are won before the planes are anywhere near each other. Situational awareness is THE staple of an ace pilot. Why bother with all that twisty turny crap that wastes fuel and ammo when you can simply dive down from above the enemy below his six so he can’t look behind and see you and simply blast him to bits with a short burst with virtually no way for him to hurt you. If he notices you, simply climb away with your superior energy and look for another target. This is what all the German aces did in WWII and it’s why they had hundreds of kills before they finally got shot down. Their planes were faster and climbed better than anything the allies had till the end of the war and they used those advantages to their fullest.
Haha that’s what they are saying in a lot of interviews. Basically pilots can delegate everything to the computer these days. I like how you said that situation awareness was more important than flying skills. That really defines the game (and probably modern warfare) in a sentence. But there is still fun to be had with zooming around like crazy, lol.