Flight Simulator games outside Ace Combat don’t seem to do very well, in fact Ace Combat is the only long running series that I can think off of the top of my head. However Air Conflicts is looking to stake a claim in the genre and based off of the strength of this title, it very well could challenge Ace Combat for the title of best Flight Sim.
The game is based around World War 2 and the events of Pearl Harbour and beyond. You can play on both the American and Japanese sides, and you get three different classes of planes to fly, sometimes even all three in the same mission. You get the standard fighter planes, the dive bombers and then the torpedo squadron. Each class flies differently, so for example the Fighter Planes are extremely quick and agile, and are mainly used for fighting other planes, whereas the torpedo squadrons are extremely slow, but can carry a lot more bombs and are used to take down enemy ships. Each squadron has their own merits and flaws, it is all about finding out how best to use each one and their abilities. During some special missions you also get to fly the B-52′s which whilst extremely slow, pack an almighty punch.
The Japanese and American planes are all different as well, and every plane has it’s own distinct feel. Personally I preferred the American planes as they seemed more balanced and easier to control. The Japanese planes just felt really off-balance. However this does add a good dynamic to the game as each plane requires a different playing style.
Each section of the game has five different battles to fight through, detailing different points in the history of World War 2 and the Pacific. You have to complete each battle to progress to the next one, but you can also do a number of different missions that are separate. These missions include patrolling looking for enemies, Watchtower duty or solo night flights. Each one breaks up the pace of the game nicely, and after each mission you unlock different pilots to be added to your squad.
There are several different modes that can be played, the Main Campain, and Instant Battle and Survive mode. The Campaign and Instant battles are exactly what they say on the tin, and the survive mode is where you have to survive wave after wave of incoming fighters. There is also a Multi-player mode, which includes all the standard modes such as Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch.
Visually the game is ably stunning, the water in the flows beautifully and during watchtower view you can even see Dolphins jumping out of the sea. In the midst of combat more and more flak appears and the ships start smoking, set fire and explode realistically. This makes the game a lot more fun to play, as it means that you will be dodging flak and flying through smoke, so it makes the game more intense during fire-fights.
My one main problem with the game was the soundtrack, which although it used music that is instantly recognisable with honouring the dead during wars, it just kept on playing over and over, there was no variation. If more thought had been put into the music department instead of just using the same repeated score over and over this would have made the game even better. However this is only a small problem in a game that is otherwise extremely good.
Overall this is an extremely good game and perfect for a weekend of gaming. If you are a hardcore flight sim fan, or just looking at getting into the genre, this is definitely the game for you.