Air Conflicts: Vietnam – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Flight
Developers: bitComposer Games
Publisher: Kalypso
Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360

Air Conflicts: Vietnam – Review

Site Score
3.1
Good: Decent 60's soundtrack.
Bad: Technical and graphical issues, Arcade gameplay is hampered by odd design-choices, invisible enemies.
User Score
8.0
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (5 votes cast)

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Air combat-games have been somewhat under-represented this generation. Titles like H.A.W.X and H.A.W.X. 2, of course, made ample use of this shortage, but generally speaking there haven’t been many reasons for flight sim fans to flock to consoles.

Air Conflicts: Vietnam, then, doesn’t help either, instead offering what is possible one of the worst entries in the genre in recent years.

Story

The name of the game says it all really. Casting you as an American soldier during the most embarrassing period in the entire history of the United States, Air Conflicts: Vietnam sets off with a bunch of missions sending you after Vietcong fighters.

The story is the only part of the game with any roots in reality, handing out condescending preaches about atrocities performed during the Vietnam War.

Everything is told by the most unenthusiastic drill-sergeant you’ve ever heard. Expect nothing of real value here.

Graphics

The game’s major faults surface in this department. Even during its tutorial, Air Conflicts: Vietnam is plagued by a disastrous frame-rate, astonishing pop-in issues and graphics that seem to have been stripped straight from 2005’s trash-can. Environments have been copy-pasted as well it seems, a baffling and lazy design choice that only adds to the feeling you’re playing just a hasty cash-in.

These things, alongside other issues like screen tearing, completely rip away every chance on immersion. Enemies are hard to spot, making them not much more than hotboxes on the horizon

There’s one area where Air Conflict: Vietnam deserves the credit it’s due. Its aircrafts are, after all, great representations of their real-world counterparts. There are plenty of details to be found for those gamers who pride themselves on their knowledge of aerial technology.

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Sound

Music in this game consists of a handful of rock numbers hailing from the 60’s. What’s there is more than decent, but it’s a pity there’s only a limited supply of songs, essentially leaving you with a play-list that repeats itself a bit too often.

Gameplay

Air Conflicts: Vietnam is an arcade shooter at heart. High-octane action is what it sets out to deliver, yet the game suffers from some strange design choices that accomplish the exact opposite. For one, you run out of ammo much too quickly for a game that shies away from being a simulator. Then there’s the fact that this iteration of Air Conflict takes pride in creating a realistic digital version of its Cold War era-planes. Which evidently means that you’re hampered by missiles that don’t always lock on, evasive manoeuvres that lack the dynamics of modern vehicles.

While this could have made for an interesting mechanic, it’s something that goes completely against the game’s quest to do out with any form of realism during actual combat.

Although this is partly remedied by the ability to swap between your squad members, there’s no helping get rid of the contradiction at hand

At the same time, Air Conflicts: Vietnam suffers from – at times – unresponsive controls and portrays enemies as mere hit-boxes.

During the game’s campaign, missions are usually split into different parts. You might start out taking out ground-targets, go on to defend your own fighters from enemy jets and end up with a full-blown aerial war or throw away all restraints by using chemical weapons to clean out entire areas.

The problem is that transitions between these parts are jarring and aside from actual combat, things only get more repetitive and boring.

But what I personally missed the most, was an option to temporarily keep your jet airborne at a slower pace, in order to be able to aim or handle your plane a little bit better.

It’s a pity, because at times there are glimpses of what this game could have become. When the combat works and you manage to perfectly take down enemy targets in rapid succession – accompanied, of course, by fancy explosions –, Air Conflicts: Vietnam shows its potential.

Too bad it is almost entirely obscured by a long list of damning flaws.

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Conclusion

Air Conflicts: Vietnam is a poor excuse of a game. It’s bland, repetitive and suffers from perplexing graphical and gameplay issues, that should never have made it to consumers this late in a console cycle.

Quite frankly, I can’t recommend this game to anyone. Stay clear from it, even when spotted in you local gameshop’s sales bin. It’s money best spent otherwise.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
Air Conflicts: Vietnam - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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