Being a huge fan of air combat games, I had high hopes for Air Conflicts: Vietnam. I have played and loved the Ace Combat series (it’s where I got my gamertag) and Microsoft Flight Simulator. Heck, I even loved the X-Wing game. This game, though, is just not up to par with the others.
First and foremost, if you are looking for a realistic control scheme in which you have to roll your aircraft and pitch up to turn, this is not the game for you. Instead, you have to turn your control stick left to turn left. Maneuvers are just a button press away, such as barrel rolls (mistaken in game as an OODA loop instead of a barrel roll – who does that?!) and basic evasive moves. Yep, Air Conflicts: Vietnam is the beginner’s flight game.
Even the story has “beginner” written all over it. You are a pilot of both an aircraft and a helicopter; you are in the cockpit, and it is your job to shoot ground targets and brain-dead enemy aircraft which fly in pre-determined paths. It’s pretty much a turkey shoot if you can figure out the paths they fly, and you can learn it pretty quick;y, even in harder modes. The background of the story is very ho-hum when the enemy can be shot down so easily. Even the atrocious voice acting can’t save the dumb AI.
Quite possibly the worst thing about this game is the combat area. It is so small that it is a shame to call this an air combat game. You will literally be flying circles on air-to-ground missions due to just how small the area is. I get that HAWX had very big maps, but Air Conflicts: Vietnam is the Call Of Duty to a world full of Battlefield in map size. The area is such a mess that enemy aircraft routinely and repeatedly wander in and out of the engagement zone. What good are the maps when they are so small?
The graphics in Air Conflicts: Vietnam look like a Playstation 2 or original Xbox. It is very muddy, so much so that it makes all other 360 games look beautiful in comparison. Frame rate issues are plentiful, and even graphical glitches are frequent. This should have been a better game graphically, but it seems that the developers were either inexperienced in the graphics engine or didn’t care about the game itself.
Multiplayer in Air Conflicts: Vietnam is nonexistent, in that there is no one playing this game, and reasonably so. The 360 version had nobody online, but I heard that the Steam version did have a few people; no word on if people are playing the PS3 version. I suspect that the console releases didn’t help the PR for this game, but when nobody plays your multiplayer, you have something seriously wrong with your game.
With all these problems, I would suggest playing Air Conflicts: Vietman only if you are new to flight games, and even then you are probably only able to handle five minutes of this game before you give up on it. With shoddy graphics, controls that are arcade-like, and a very nonexistent story, this is a game you should avoid like the bubonic plague.