The Average Gamer

Apache Air Assault Review (360)

Another Newb Review guest post from the indefatiguable Tom Wallis. Somehow I keep giving him terrible games to review. Or maybe he’s just a miseryguts who hates all games. You decide.

Apache Air Assault seems to be confused about exactly what it is. It toys with the idea of being a helicopter simulation game with the controls being incredibly fiddly, much like a real helicopter I imagine. However, you’re also given infinite rockets. Simply by waiting a set amount of time your weapon of choice will continue to reload ad infinatum, with varying waiting times depending on which weapon you’re using. In what’s touted to be a simulation game, this really doesn’t make any sense.

On anything but the easiest difficulty, the slightest touch of the controller has a dramatic effect on your helicopter, and often flips your gunship, sending it hurtling to the ground. Lining up enemies from a distance and spamming them with missiles as you pass makes up the majority of the gameplay, and it’s frustratingly easy to jerk the view away from your intended targets. Furthermore, it’s incredibly cumbersome to turn around to take another run once you inevitably pass them. This frustrating combination leads to some morale-sapping gaming sessions if you’re determined to get through the campaign.

I do appreciate that it may simply be the case that I am not good at this game. However, if the gameplay is inaccessible for someone who plays a lot of games, I imagine it will alienate the vast majority of the populace. Furthermore, this game attempts to cater to hardcore simulation fans at the same time as having issues with the so-called “realism”, as it’s possible to barrel roll the helicopter and recover, which I’m pretty sure is impossible in real life.

The story is non-existent. The only semblance of narrative is through the text-based mission briefings you are given before each outing. These are both uninspiring and quickly ignored, especially considering the static presentation and extremely wordy write up. The miniscule narrative is made all the more redundant by the fact that each mission revolves around different characters. Whilst I agree that it would be unrealistic to have some über-pilot, completing every major mission across several different conflicts, it’s equally unrealistic to have infinite rockets, so shut your face.

If Apache Air Assault is anything to go by, being a helicopter pilot is incredibly dull. There are 16 missions to trudge through and each lasts around 30 minutes. However every mission is something of a by the numbers affair; you ride your helicopter along for a bit… then you attack some enemies… And that’s pretty much it. Once all the enemies, or in particularly interesting twist on some missions, a key enemy, have been killed, the mission ends and you feel a little bit more of your soul being sapped by this vapid experience of a game.

Graphically the game can, at best, be described as poor. Enemy character models look like a cardboard cut-outs, and move even more awkwardly than they look. Cityscapes also evaporate at the mere sight of a rocket from your gunship.

I’ve tried out the co-op and it is not fun; primarily because it doesn’t allow two helicopters. One person pilots the helicopter whilst the other person has to control the guns. This doesn’t work well at all; it’s kind of like banging your head against a brick wall… because you can’t aim if you’re banging your head against a brick wall.

If you switch the difficulty up to realistic controls or, heaven forbid, veteran, you’re really going to hate it from the beginning. Playing on the easiest difficulty there’s about half an hour of fun to be had with Apache Air Assault, but other than that I really wouldn’t recommend it.

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