Back in 'Nam, you had to press O to shoot your flares...
Name: Air Conflicts Vietnam Ultimate Edition
Release Date: Out Now
Age Rating: 16+ (PEGI)
Publisher: bitComposer Games
Air Conflicts Vietnam is all about flying planes and choppers, and taking down those god damn Communists (Or Americans, in some game modes) by whatever means nescessary, by guns, bombs or deforestation.
First up are the two campaign modes, Joe Thompson's Story and Lost Letters. The former is about (You guessed it!) Joe Thompson, where you take control of his journey throughout the war and hear his musings. The latter is about the story of a Japanese flyer talking about how he shot down a man he later met. Both campaigns are full of both plane and helicopter sequences, and are mainly objective-based missions. The objectives are fine, the only problem is that between every objective is a cutscene, which can get quite annoying as you play through the campaigns. Also, a lot of the missions seem a little lazy at some points. For instance, in one mission you have to spray Agent Purple over a forest to deforest it, but there is no real time deforestation, and if you spray the agent over flat plains of land, the forest's "health bar" still goes down. It's little things like this that can sometimes eat away the experience a little.
Also, the characters seem a little uninspired: there's the "strictly mission briefing" guy that occasionally makes quips, the "We do this to stop Communists" guy and other uninteresting personalities. Still, there's a very cool gameplay mechanic that I haven't seen in a flight sim yet. A very cool squad system is implemented into the game, which lets you switch between different pilots and their planes. If you run out of bombs, switch to another plane. If you're attacked by some MiGs, switch to a fighter! If there are too many AA guns for your Chinook to land, switch to an attack chopper! This mechanic makes ACV much better and more interesting, and helps it stand out from the crowd.
The game's difficulty is perfect. Sure, it starts off quite easy, but it's certain that you'll die quite a lot in the campaigns, and the Instant Fight mode is the ultimate challenge if you face off against 8 planes by yourself. Sadly, I can't see if the multiplayer is balanced or not, as there was literally no one playing it. No servers, no nothing, so that may put you off of the £55 price tag if you're an avid multiplayer fan.
Now here's where the biggest issue in the game is: the controls. The plane controls are absolutely fantastic - they're easy to use, responsive and perfect for a flight sim. However, the helicopter controls are impossible. While the weapons controls are fine, the traversal is horrible. It's way too sensitive, the helicopters are extremely hard to keep in control and overall not enjoyable to use.
The planes and helicopters in Air Conflicts Vietnam look detailed and it's easy to see that a lot of work went into modeling them, but the terrain looks PS3 era. The trees are 2D and the buildings don't look the best, while enemy infantry run on the spot but don't go anywhere. Still, like the planes helicopters, the tanks also look detailed and realistic, and the sea also looks crisp and deep blue.
Still, the music is one of the highlights of this ode to Vietnam. 60s and 70s rock plays while you gun down those god dam Commies, which is the perfect fit and really sets the scene for the game. Also, the sounds of guns, bombs and missiles are all distinguishable from one another and rival the Battlefield series in terms of sound accuracy.
Air Conflicts Vietnam Ultimate Edition aims to drag you through the horrors of the Vietnam war, and does a solid job of it. While dogfighting and bombing in planes with 60s and 70s rock blaring is one of the most memorable parts of the game. However, the helicopter sequences of the game are boring and frustrating to play, and the graphics (Bar the planes and choppers) really don't look like they belong on the PS4. Overall, it's a great little flight sim, but it's definitely overpriced.