Heroes of the Pacific Review

I have to admit that when I first took to the skies with Heroes of the Pacific the experience was quite painful. I started out with the game’s training missions and promptly proceeded to fail them with reckless abandon. It’s not like I tried to fail; on the contrary I really tried to get through them. Some of my many methods of failure included my inability to track the instructor plane I needed to follow, flying out of the instruction area when I thought I was flying towards the objective, pounding my plane into the Earth during each low-level training run, … the list goes on and on. And on each failure I was yelled at incessantly by my instructor and put back on the runway to start the whole ordeal over again from the top. Good thing the tutorials were not mandatory, because I finally gave up and jumped into the campaign game. In the first mission I found myself at the stick of a P-40 Warhawk desperately trying to save any piece of Pearl Harbor during the infamous sneak attack. Suddenly my objectives were clear, I was in full control, I was shooting down meatball emblazoned planes left and right – I was having a lot of fun. This has got to be the first game that I ever played in which the tutorial was brutal and merciless and the campaign was exciting but not overly challenging.

A P-40 scores a kill.
Obviously my advice to you is to skip the tutorial and get right into the game, which is pretty easy to do thanks to the game’s simple control scheme. There are actually two modes of aircraft control in the game – arcade and pro – but each use the same basic inputs. Your left stick acts as the aircraft joystick and your right as the throttle, and clicking the throttle will engage a limited turbo burn. As for other controls, the right trigger fires the guns while the left drops other ordnance and that’s about it. The difference between the arcade and pro modes is that in arcade mode you can’t roll the all the way over and it’s harder to stall your aircraft. While Heroes is no hardcore flight sim, sim-like qualities do fact into play. Different planes handle differently and you’ll really be able to feel the difference between flying a torpedo bomber and a fighter, and even between different classes of fighters. You won’t have to deal with real-world issues such as engine torque, though. Also, when flying torpedo and dive bombers the game gives you guidance as to the proper speed, altitude, and/or angle needed for a successful bombing run. This may be sacrilege to sim-nuts, but it’s a nice assist for those just looking to have some fun with some aerial action.

At the heart of the game is its campaign mode. In this mode you are a US Naval pilot by the name of Crowe who enlists with his brother before the start of the war. Crowe’s world changes the day he finds himself fighting for dear life against the massive Japanese air attack at Pearl Harbor and his brother goes down with the Arizona. As Crowe you are then in it for the long haul, flying a variety of aircraft through the major battles of the war that follow. The overall presentation of the campaign is excellent and makes extensive use of graphics that fit the historical period in which the game is set.