When you buy a new game, what is the one thing you hope above all else that it will do? Perhaps be original in its design? No, wait, even more basic than that - you want it to be fun. Because even games that use a tried and tested format can be really fun.
Hold on. There's something even more fundamental than that, isn't there?
You actually want the game to work.
Unfortunately, Air Aces: Pacific does none of these three.
Polish developers Wastelands Interactive are more famed for their strategy games, so I'm told. This being their first foray into the fast-paced world of combat flight sims, I'm willing to be gentle with them. After all, it's quite a jump from strategy game to flight sim.
So here's me being gentle. Air Aces: Pacific is one of the most hopeless games I've ever had the tedious and soul-rending misfortune to find myself before.
Graphics: Frankly, this is just lazy. People actually have to pay money for games. Therefore, it's only fair that the game be worthy of that money. This graphical atrocity would have looked dated in 2000, even on the highest setting. Textures are blank, trees are identical, and as for the water texture... Well, I can't even bring myself to put into words how hideous and just insultingly lazy it all is. Oh, wait. I just put it into words.
Sound: A constant popping sound interrupted the music, or sound effects, whichever the game chose to play at any given time. It changed from moment to moment, but the only constant was the regular popping sound. As a fiendish torture device, it had some merit. As aural entertainment, none.
Gameplay: Because let's face it, you can forgive anything if the game plays well, can't you? I chose to use my trusty Playstation controller, running through a Playstation to USB adaptor. I could either up/down or left/right on the analogue stick, but not both together. Which made flying my aircraft a bit like controlling Pac-man, in the sky.
Missions: I can only speak for my own experience, of course, but this game is horribly broken. After struggling to get my plane over a hilltop a couple of times in some pointless and head-scratchingly suspension-of-disbelief-shattering ‘tutorial' missions, it was time to dogfight. There's two Japanese fighters up there - go get ‘em, cowboy! So off I go, gliding into the air in an incredibly straight line (see: Gameplay), I immediately head straight toward the nearest enemy. A couple of seconds later, a message pops up: "You have failed". Try as I might, this happened EVERY TIME I tried this mission, on every skill setting , even when I used the turbo boost straight off the flight deck.
So that's that, then, really. You're up to speed on my mercifully short experience of Air Aces: Pacific. It was with a sigh of relief that I realised this horrible, horrible game was so broken that I wouldn't have to play it any further.
I'm honestly mystified that this was ever released. I can think of nothing good to say about this game.