There arenâ€™t too many places to earn your wings on the PlayStation 2, or in fact any of the current generation of consoles. For some reason or another flight games on a console have never quite taken off (sorry).
Lets face it - World War II is an ideal setting for videogames. Developers have been taking advantage of this fact for ages, pumping out FPS after FPS. Itâ€™s strange we havenâ€™t had more focusing solely on the airborne side of things. Bombing runs, torpedoing frigates, escort missions, and of course dog-fighting are all very cool scenarios that offer a lot of diversion to the gameplay.
Once you boot up this game for the first time you will want to jump into the training mode, which will explain the controls to you. You have two control options, Arcade and Advanced. The arcade setting is a dumbed down arcade control scheme which is very easy to use and probably the best place to start for those wanting some instant action. Personally I think itâ€™s great when games give you options for the controls such as these, letting you decide how much effort and involvement you want to take on. That said, even in professional mode, this is still a far cry from a proper flight sim. One nice touch is that you can change them mid-game in your pause menu instead of having to quit your game.
Graphically, the game doesnâ€™t start out all that impressive - but once you get to the later levels, the sheer amount of vehicles and gun fire on the screen at once will amaze you. What this game does do well is make you feel like you are in the thick of things - whereever you fly there will be friendly and not so friendly troops doing their thing. Just donâ€™t get too distracted by all the enemies on your radar or youâ€™re likely to lose sight of your primary objectives. Presentation is also top notch, with the game adopting war comic-style loading screens and menus, and actual war footage for some of the cut-scenes.
The sound is where the game takes a bit of a dive though - the in-game voice-overs can be pretty bad and very repetitive. Whilst I had to grit my teeth every so often, the voices and music got on the nerves of other people in the room far more than mine. This is a shame, as the rest of the presentation is so well put together, and the sound effects sound fantastic. Voice-overs for the cut-scenes and briefings however are less painful.
So how does the game actually play? Pretty damn well actually! This game is pretty much an action-fest with many pedantic details about flying planes thrown out the window. This makes Heroes of the Pacific an extremely easy game to pick up (with arcade controls), and you can be holding your own in a dog fight within a matter of minutes. My only real complaint is that the game maps could either have been bigger or looped as I seemed to get turned around way too many times.
If you're after an action game with a difference, Heroes of the Pacific is a great choice, as it fills a plane-shaped hole in your WWII library.