Impression: Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers

Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers: a wwII fighter plane trailing the remnants of a shot down enemy plane
It certainly didn’t stop after three.

Luckily it’s not just about Carriers…

Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers is an air combat arcade game with an unfortunate name. It was released in 2012 by Games Farm and is part of a series of other Air Conflict games with less silly names.

As the name suggests, it’s set in the pacific, in World War II, and you either destroy Japanese or US ships and airplanes. You do this via ultra simplistic controls (‘hold ‘Y’ to take off carrier’), which don’t get in the way of the arcade appeal. If you want to, you can switch to ‘simulation’ controls, which will then get in the way of the arcade appeal. If you’re at it: switch to the beautiful cockpit view, that takes away two thirds of your (preferably TV-) screen and you are set for disappointment. This goes well with the boring multi stage battles, which make up the game’s campaign.

But if you take the game for what it is – a simple arcade game – you can actually have fun with it for some short intervals. It even looks pretty if you stay far enough away from the ground and any naval vessel. Sometimes the graphics glitched on me, but it remained playable.

It’s not the game I asked for, after enduring some Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. Especially since it lacks the ridiculous and cinematic story telling, but gameplay wise it’s a little bit more up my alley. I might return to this if I remember it at the right five minutes of boredom.

Impression: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon – Enhanced Edition

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon - Enhanced Edition: hand shielding from incoming fighter jet
Just grab it at the right moment!

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon – Enhanced Edition was originally released in 2011 for consoles and it only took Namco two years to port it to PC. I already played the game for a short while after I bought it – it happens – and only remember being unimpressed and slightly disappointed. I now relived those emotions. The game looks like a really (really!) stupid action movie from the 80s or early 90s, which I regard as a thing of beauty, but it just doesn’t deliver. There’s not even a volley ball scene with pilots all oiled up in sunscreen.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon - Enhanced Edition: sweaty protagonist shield eyes with hand
That’s no sunscreen… !

The tutorial is fun. You shoot rockets at planes and the results are beautiful, but as soon as you realize, that you have to engage half the enemies in ‘dog fight mode’, it becomes clear how extremely dumbed down the controls are. It’s a really basic arcade game. This comes even more apparent in the second mission, which lets you play as a door gunner of a helicopter just pointing the mouse at everything that moves.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon - Enhanced Edition: A devastated village and burning wrecks from the perspective of a helicopter door gunner
After bringing peace to the region, the locals will probably celebrate me as their hero.

Speaking of controls – why is this game easier to play with a keyboard than with a controller? Who cares! It got repetitive with Mission 3 and I consider this ‘done’. Is there something similar out their, that feels less like an arcade game and takes a more realistic approach, without being a hardcore simulation? That’s what I want.