Heroes of the Pacific PlayStation 2
Published by Codemasters
Developed by IRGurus
Release Date: Out Now
Heroes of the Pacific, an introduction.
World War II games seem to be back in fashion of late. However whilst recent World War II games we've seen have been PC strategy titles, here we have a flight combat game for the PlayStation 2. World War II dog fighting action is pretty difficult to come by on the PlayStation 2, which is saying something given just how many titles appear on the console each year. Here we have Heroes of the Pacific which attempts to fill the void.
What's the game about?
As you might expect with a World War II based game set in the Pacific, the action begins with the bombing of Pearl Harbour. You play as Lt. Crowe, a pilot, whose brother is killed in the Pearl Harbour bombing. Beginning with Pearl Harbour the game goes on to cover 26 missions that are based on real life events from the U.S. Navy's Pacific campaign. The game features 35 authentic military aircraft and as the game progresses you can unlock additional aircraft. You'll begin with the P.40 Warhawk but later in the game you'll get to fly the F6F Wildcat and the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair to name but a few. As well as the main campaign you also have an Instant Action mode, a Missions mode where you can replay the campaign missions, Historical mission mode and a Multiplayer mode that supports split-screen, LAN and online gaming. Multiplayer games include Dogfight, Capture the Flag, Team Dogfight, Scratch One Flat-Top and Fox and Hounds. These games support up to 8 players.
What's good about the game?
Heroes of the Pacific offers both an accessible arcade style and a professional style control system that allows you to control rudder movements and also allows you to roll the plane. This makes the game both appealing to those who just want a quick blast and those who want a greater degree of control over their aircraft. Of course even the professional control scheme is far from a simulation but a realistic control scheme would be impossible with the Dualshock 2 controller. You're rewarded for your performance in missions by upgrade points (the aircraft have advanced versions that you can attain by using these upgrade points) and extra aircraft. The game has four difficulty modes in all and you're rewarded for playing the game through on the highest difficulty mode as you'll unlock aircraft that can't be unlocked on any other difficulty mode. You can also tinker with your aircraft and alter such things as the gun types, placements, elevation and harmonisation as well as assigning weapons to your weapon slots.
What's not so good about the game?
At times the game can be frustrating. This is mainly down to the fact that you feel like you're doing everything yourself a lot of the time and failing to complete one objective in a mission can result in the mission being failed, which does seem a little harsh. You can return to the last checkpoint if you have passed one so I guess it's not as frustrating as it could have been. Later on in the game you'll have some wingmen at your disposal and this takes some of the load off you but even then you'll still have to do the bulk of the work yourself. The tutorial instructor is a little irritating at times too and seems to have little patience. Whilst the inclusion of the online mode is most welcome it's very difficult to actually find anyone playing online. As we've said before though, this seems to be the trend with most online PlayStation 2 games.
How does it look?
To begin with it's pleasing to see both 60Hz and widescreen options are available in Heroes of the Pacific. The game actually looks quite impressive with aircraft models definitely being a highlight. The terrain graphics look good too, along with good sunlight, cloud and water effects. In fact this game is probably about as good as it could have been on the PlayStation 2. You will encounter some slowdown in the frame rate but it's only minimal and certainly nothing that spoils the action. I was impressed with the presentation of the game and the artwork that adorns the menu and loading screens suits the mood perfectly.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Heroes of the Pacific does have subtitles but you'll have to enable them before you start a new game. With the subtitles enabled the game is absolutely fine for deaf gamers. The tutorials are subtitled, which is great to see as they are actually very useful. Mission briefings are displayed in text as are the objectives. The objectives can be recalled mid-mission too. Radio chatter and further instructions that are given out during a mission are also subtitled. All targets are clearly highlighted and when they are off-screen you'll see arrows that indicate the location of your next target. During missions, events will take place and you'll see a ticker tape scrolling at the bottom of the screen that describes these events. An indicator will alert you to the fact that your gun is overheating, whilst stall warnings appear in text to inform you of the danger.
Whilst we've seen several flight combat games on the PlayStation 2, Heroes of the Pacific is quite unlike the other games we've seen on the console. Last year we reviewed Secret Weapons Over Normandy on the Xbox and there are similarities between the games. Secret Weapons Over Normandy was an engaging title that had a great feel to it that kept you coming back for more and the same can be said for Heroes of the Pacific. Both the dogfights and the air to ground combat is enjoyable and the game should definitely keep you busy for a decent amount of time. If you're looking for a World War II flight game on the PlayStation 2 this is definitely the one to go for.
Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10
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Heroes of the Pacific is an enjoyable World War II flight combat game that should please those who like their dog fighting action. It's not a simulation by any stretch of the imagination but it can be a whole lot of fun.