by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PC
All the Levels Look the Same (cntd)
At the start of each level the player will start by taking off from an aircraft carrier which will work as a re-arming and healing station. When the plane has taken a few hits, the player can always land again and it is as if nothing ever touched him. The effect is instant, so he won’t even have to stop for a while. As soon as the wheels hid the deck, he’s good to go. All the islands look the same in this game. They all use the same textures, the same building models and the same trees. There is only one type of tree model and its reused so often that the island looks like a tiled texture.
In the game’s feature list, ‘dynamic scenery’ is listed and in the press release they talked about the different types of weather. In a few missions the player will have to fly in a lightning storm. Personally I think the game would have been better if they had just left that out. Each and every lightning uses the same bitmap file so every one of them looks exactly the same. The scenery and effects are very badly designed and simply look awful. While the machine guns are firing, everything on the screen will light up a little. This is very useful while flying in the dark: just let off a couple of rounds and the enemy planes will stick out like a sore thumb. It is very annoying, however, when chasing an enemy with the sun in your face. You will see his tail in front of you but as soon as the machine guns go off the enemy is lost in brightness.
Anything But Realistic
The claims that got me most excited about reviewing this game, and subsequently gave me the biggest reasons to dislike it, were the “realistic aerial combat” and the “variable reality settings”. The aforementioned reality settings are nothing more than a difficulty setting. With the game set on “realistic” – which is supposedly the hardest difficulty – players can still get straight off the carrier into a 90° climb and maintain a 150MPH on a P-51 Mustang for as long as they like.
The “realistic” aerial combat is even worse. During a dogfight the enemy planes will suddenly slow down as soon as a single bullet hits them, which means that the player must be ready to recalculate the trajectories of his bullets if he wants to shoot that bird out of the sky. There are two ways to destroy an enemy aircraft. Firstly, there’s blowing it up, either with a rocket or a few well aimed and constantly recalculated machine gun bullets to the engine. The resulting explosion is big and satisfying but once you see it a few times you will get bored with it, because, like the trees and the lightnings, they all look the same. Secondly, if you are lucky you can shoot a wing of a plane with a few bullets. The first time I did that I burst into laughter because the plane will not follow the same trajectory it was already on, it will start plummeting straight down from the position it was in leaving a 90° corner of wing trail hanging in the sky.
An Experience I’ll Never Forget
When I started out in this business, someone told me that to be able to appreciate good video games, you will have to play the bad ones as well. I would therefore like to personally thank Wastelands Interactive for giving me new-found appreciation for masterpieces like Wings of Prey and IL-2 Sturmovik. Air Aces: Pacific is a broken, ugly and dull game that does nothing to entertain the players. Its repetitive, uninteresting and off-putting gameplay just goes to show that no matter how far technology and innovation brings this favourite passion of ours, there will always be third rate garbage out there as well.
Adds a very nifty "Uninstall" button to the Start menu.
No production values of any kind and bland gameplay.