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Review: Air Conflicts: Vietnam

The year is 1965, Vietnam is at war. You’re an American pilot who wants to make a difference in South-Vietnam and stop the spreading of Communism once and for all. Of course you’re not alone in this, entire troops moved over to support South-Vietnam, the American way.

In Air Conflicts: Vietnam you’ll play as Joe Thompson, a young pilot who really wants to make a difference in this war. Don’t expect a deep and emotional story here however. Thompson is a faceless pilot that could be traded for another character any time in the game. Personal stories aren’t what this game is aiming for, spectacular dogfights above a Vietnam in chaos is.

When first turning on this game, you’ll immediately be sucked into a certain atmosphere. The story is told by a vintage movie while Vietnam music is coming out of you television/PC. The music sets a certain atmosphere and brings a certain vibe to the scenery. Hearing those typical sixties/seventies rock music while flying over a world destroyed by war has something special to it.

Flying over the world is something you’ll constantly have to do in this game. Just like in real warfare, you’ll have access to several aircrafts such as jets and helicopters. Every aircraft has its own way of controlling but we can say that realism isn’t really a big part of the game.

Vietnam screen 2

The first mission you’ll have to face, is a short walkthrough where you get to know the controls of the aircraft. Your jet can dodge to the right/left, fire weapons or distracting flares and even do a barrel roll. Everything happens at a really fast pace so you’ll have to pay attention each and every second. Thank god for the mainstream gamers that realism isn’t the game main focus. You can certainly make some little faults but don’t expect to fly your plain against a tree without crashing. It’s not as tough as certain other fly-simulators but that doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park.

The difficulty is found in the different kind of enemies. You’ll face ground troops that can be destroyed with precise bombing but you’ll also face hostile jets. Like said before, the game stays true to the real life speed of your jet so everything moves really fast. Finding and aiming at hostile aircrafts isn’t something you’ll immediately be good at. On the positive note you can use heath seeking rockets to take down enemies without a very accurate aiming. Later on in the game, enemies will start using flares as decoys so you’ll need some accurate aiming for sure.

In order to help you out in those intensive dogfights, your aircraft has some tricks up its sleeve. Aside of your dodging-moves, you can also use an afterburner for extra speed or your breaks to slow down mid-air. If you control all those tricks, fighting enemies will become more easy.

 

Fighting in Vietnam isn’t a walk in the park.

 

Asides of the fast jets you can also play several missions using a helicopter. Helicopters are a welcome variation in this game but take time to master. Jets can be controlled in a rather arcade way of playing while helicopters ask for a more delicate way of handling.

Everything you’ve read so far points in the direction of other games such as Ace Combat and HAWX. Too bad we have to add some negatives to Air Conflicts: Vietnam. Not everything in this game is worked out the way it should have been. For example the graphics, those aren’t great at all. If you look at this game it’s hard to believe it released at the end of the current gen consoles. It rather looks like one of the first Xbox 360/PS3 games. Although the visuals can be overlooked by the intense gameplay, there are some problems that we can’t ignore.

Probably the biggest problem in this game is the invisible walls. Point is, they aren’t really that invisible at all. Each level has four  lucent walls showing you where you’re able to fly and where you can’t go. It’s a shame the developers made this decision because you lose the feeling you’re fighting one big war. Instead of that it feels like you’re fighting in several small battles and that’s a true loss for the vibe. Those walls aren’t just visual shortcomings, they suck some of the fun right out of the game.

Vietnam screen

The other main problem in this game is the speed. It makes sense that the developers wanted the gamers to experience true speed while flying but it doesn’t always work. Because of the high speed it’s very difficult to aim your bombing or shooting  the way it should. You’ll often find yourself flying passed hostile planes instead of hitting them with all you have. The speed would have worked for sure if the areas where bigger but that isn’t  the case here. Bringing down the speed just a little could result in less frustrating moments.

All in all we can come to the conclusion that Air Conflicts: Vietnam isn’t the best game that released this year. It’s not as good looking as other games and it sets some very strict boundaries for gamers, resulting in frustrating moments. If you give the game the opportunity to grow on you however, you’ll find a fun arcade flying simulator. Vietnam is an innovating and welcome change and the music really add to this vibe. It’s a shame not everything is worked out that great. We can conclude that not everything is worked out the way it should have been but the game remains entertaining to play nevertheless. You’ll have to work to get your aircrafts under full control but after you manage that, you can start enjoying the tropical environments of Vietnam.

 

6.8/10

Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.