Operation: Ghost Rider
You start off playing as Major Crenshaw (highly dedicated and exceptionally skilled combat pilot) with a transfer approval by Brig. Gen. Andrew McAllister to High Altitude Warfare-Experimental Squadron (HAWX).
This first mission is very easy. The terrain is open and with little obstructions. You only have one kind of weapon available, JStrike. You just have to direct your plane near your target and you get a lock on then fire away! Once you locked on your target and fired, you can immediately select the next target and engage it. It will be useful to practise switching targets and getting used to the controls. The default controls were hard to get used to. They used Q and E for yaw left and right while W and S for Thrust and Brake which is not very conventional. I finally switched it to WASD instead with E as switch target and Q as select next weapon. Its much better. As I am playing the entire game with keyboard and mouse (my favourite), I spend some time trying to get used to the feel of flying a plane with a mouse.
You will come to realise that when hitting the control key, you can’t seeem to activate the assistance off mode, its normal. The assistance mode is disabled at first, you will be given a chance to practise on that later on.
As mentioned, the targets are very easy, consists of mostly ground targets; tanks, Anti-Air vehicles. This ground targets have no chance to evade your missiles. Just lock them on and fire. Make sure you always take out the Anti-Air first, they are still capable of dealing some huge hits depending on your difficulty settings. Engage them at far using your Jstrike, then switch to the nearby targets (They come in groups), normally tanks and hit space bar. If you do it fast enough, the missiles will reload in time for you to engage another. Otherwise, feel free to spray your targets with cannon. The cannon is unlimited but it heats up quickly, so use it wisely.
You will soon encounter your first air target, AH-64 helicopter. This helicopters are slow moving and had little chance of evading. You can engage them as soon as you are in range. It gets abit more interesting as the helicopters start coming in in all directions coupled with tanks and rpgs closing in on your assets you are supposed to protect from. After you had taken them out, you will come face to face with your first enemy aircrafy, SU-27. After the first two is taken out, more will come. It gets abit trickier. Just try to get a lock on the plane and fire away. You will find that it is much harder to engage them as not only are they moving much faster than any targets you had encountered previouly, they are also equipped with countermeasures. A way to get around the countermeasures is to fire the two Jstrike in rapid succession. The second Jstrike will go through and hit your target. To evade a missile, you can simply pull your plane up, left or right.
After taking down the air targets, your first mission is completed. Your second mission marks the leaving of the United States Air Force and the start of your new career in a security company known as Artemis Global Security.
Second mission is to protect a refinery from enemy attacks. First wave of enemy consists of tanks and helicopters. Nothing threatening. Engage them as you did on your first mission. Two air targets, Jaguar will join in the assualt shortly. Another wave of Jaguars will come next. For the fourth wave, they come in several groups. Tanks, Anti-Airs (AA), helicopters and Jaguars. Be sure to take out the Jaguar first after they are in your radar. This planes moves mucch faster and can deal more damage to your refinery. You will need two Jstrike to eliminate each. The fifth and final waves consists of bombers and fighter jets. Your primary target is the bombers, take them out first before they reach the refinery. Your mission will be completed after that.
Your promotion as Squadron leader is confirmed. This mission involves the use of free fall bombs. Theres a indicator, a circle to represent the location the bomb will hit at your current speed and angle. You will need to adjust your plane with the use of Yaw left and Yaw right to fine tune your position to ensure your bomb can hit all the targets in the circle. Its pretty easy as the targets are non moving, essentially just buildings.
At the fourth target onwards, you will have anti-air shells fired at you. So just remember to gain some height and dive back down to do a quick release then surface up again to avoid those guns. As the mission progress, you will have enemy planes engaging you while you take out the ground targets with your bomb.
Theres a timelimit afterwards and you need to destroy all rebel bases otherwise you will fail the mission. Enemy planes will come wave after wave. Just concentrate on the ground targets first. You can easily dodge their incoming missiles. After all rebel bases had been destroyed, you face one last task of taking down the escorts of an enemy’s general jet before the mission is completed.
You are tasked to escort a NATO bomber to its target. Along the way you will enncounter several enemy Jets. This time, however, you are equipped with multi-AA missiles. Similar to the Jstrike, you just have to position the nose at the centre of the targets, oncce locked on, you are ready to fire. It can engaged up to 4 targets at a time.
They will lots of jets heading towards your NATO bomber, take it out before they reaches it. Later on, you will need to take out three of the SAM sites before the bomber is in range.
As the SAM sites are well protected by the rocks, you will need to position yourself to have a steep angle of attack. You can manually position yourself or you can activate the ERS (Enhanced Reality System). Similar to the usage against enemy planes, using the ERS on the SAM sites will make use of the computer to help calculate and lay out a suitable path for you to follow and engage the SAM sites.
Be sure to make full use of the brakes if you cant turn in time. Once the three sites are destroyed, mission accomplished.