by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
Heroes in the sky
Heroes over Europe is a sequel to the Heroes of the Pacific and takes the air combat to the heart of World War II. The air battles are presented in HD quality graphics and the action follows the Allied campaign from the attacks on London to the bombing of Berlin. The players take the part of three allied pilots over the course of the war and get to fly the iconic aircraft of the period through multiple dogfights and several bombing missions. There will also be downloadable content available for the game at the time of the launch, but we are left guessing what this content might actually include.
The developers have included over 40 types of planes of the era into the game, all of them rendered in high detail. The Spitfire fighters are the fighters that make my heart pump faster and, in Heroes over Europe, we get to fly the first four iterations of this fighter type, allowing us to experience the technical development of this iconic aircraft over the course of the war. Naturally, we will also see the Hurricanes I to III, Shooting Star, Mustang I - III, Beaufighter and Blackwidow on the Allied side. Of the Axis planes we get to see the Stuka, Fockewolf I and II, Swallow and the developers don't seem to have forgotten the plethora of Messerschmitt models either.
Action really is the meat of any flight simulator, even if this one happens to be more arcadeish than one might like. In the case of Heroes over Europe, one should not expect a simulator-like experience of any of the craft that you get to fly. Rather, the focus is on arcade and fast action against impossible odds.
Even though the action is arcadeish, it does not mean that the developers have been lazy: The planes suffer realistic, localised damage in the dogfights that can actually be seen in the outside views of the plane. Furthermore, you can use clouds and sun and even the contrails of other planes to hide from your enemy – or the enemy can use them to hide from you.
The arcade steps into the picture when we consider the special abilities that the Heroes over Europe offers to the aspiring pilot: Ace Kill and Battle Cam. The first allows you to enter into a slow-motion mode when you have got the enemy in your sights for long enough and target and fire specific parts of the enemy plane to take them out – even the cockpit. The Battle Cam, on the other hand, allows you to zoom out from your plane to take a general look of the surrounding skies to spot enemy planes.
At the moment, all the material we've been treated with have included only chase camera views of the planes as you fly them. However, the press material refers to authentically rendered cockpits, so we can only assume that they will be included in the final product.