Excerpt: By Brad Russell In most games these days, controlling a vehicle is just a portion of the game, with flight sequences being an even shorter experience – Halo: Reach, Black Ops, GTA IV being some examples. Games based purely on being stuck in a cockpit have been successful over the years, but of late have gone into hiatus. And there hasn't been a stellar, must-have flight game in a long time.
Excerpt: Gaijin Entertainment seems to have the incredible ability of mixing a air/air to ground combat simulator and arcade and creating something that may well please the flight combat fan and casual gamer alike. Apache Air Assault places the player at the stick of the pilot or weapons officer station of the famed AH-64 Apache with often very satisfying results when it come to blowing stuff up. However, it falls short on any kind of involving the player in any form of story.
Excerpt: We’re not short of flight combat games, well ones featuring planes anyway. Poor old helicopters on the other hand are mostly ignored by developers. So with Apache: Air Assault Gaijin entertainment (developer of the likeable but flawed I-L 2 Sturmovich: Birds of Prey ) have found a bit of a niche. Like their previous game, Gaijin Entertainment has attempted the somewhat difficult task of pleasing both the arcade-y and simulation fans.
Summary: Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? You've studied the battlefield, marked your targets, and in one explosive pass the enemy convoy you just engaged is reduced to a pile of ash. Air Assault is filled with these moments, and since simply piloting an AH-64 Apache is no easy feat, each one feels like a small victory.
Pros: Varying difficulty levels to suit your skills, Plenty of variety in the extra modes, Co-op support throughout
Conclusion: If you ignore the poor locations and forgive the steep difficulty curve, then Apache: Air Assault is an enjoyable flight sim that offers plenty of challenge. The combat packs a real punch and the aircraft are lovingly recreated, plus there's the added bonus of the incredibly tricky 'Realistic' mode. It certainly won't be to everyone's tastes but, for anyone looking for their next sim fix after IL-2 Sturmovik, then Apache is probably your best bet.
Summary: It has been a while since I last played a dedicated chopper simulation game on consoles, even on PC in fact. The last one I played was KA-50 Black Shark on PC, where it took me nearly 30minutes of clicking switches before my choppers rotors started spinning and I was being lifted off the ground.
Pros: Great graphics and sounds, Suited for core and casual types, Some challenging missions
Cons: Some graphical glitches, Repetitive mission structure over time, Limited lifespan once complete
Conclusion: The base is under heavy enemy attack. Red markers indicate the attackers on my heads up display. Tangos all over the place. The rotor blades start humming, I'm up in the air and take aim for a number of armoured vehicles and foot soldiers carrying rocket launchers. My AH-64D Apache Longbow unleashes the heavy artillery with Hellfire missiles raining down on my targets. If you're a military fanatic it's enough to bring forth tears of joy.
Pros: Challenging, satisfying combat, varied missions, well crafted controls.