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Attack on Pearl Harbor is an ambitious game that tries to blend the theatrics of film with the mechanics of a flight sim; how does it turn out?

Attack on Pearl Harbor, developed by Legendo Entertainment, is something unique in today's age of cookie cutter games - it sets itself apart by trying to create a hybrid of two beloved genres: Flight Simulator and Pick-Up and Play Arcade Style games. You'd be surprised if it actually worked, right? Well, keep those peepers in your head. You're about to be astounded. Rather than solely relying on one area of either genre, AoPH keeps it simple; fly & shoot. To my knowledge there has only been one other game that has aspired to do what Pearl Harbor has done; Crimson Skies, which was held to critical acclaim some years ago.

Your name is Douglas Knox, already a veteran of World War II; you're called back into action once the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Simultaneously you can play as Zenji Yamada, Japanese ace aviator, thrown into the thick of war, bound by honor to fight or die. Attack on Pearl Harbor gives you the unique option to play on either side of the historical campaign, and more surprisingly, does not make claims of villains or heroes, only perspective. The story is illustrated through cut-scene comic-book-esque panels that appear from time to time narrating your adventure across the pacific. While the story is a bit short on details, visiting some of the places that these battles actually took place is pretty cool and unexpected from an arcade-style game. Which path you choose will ultimately send you through a different story, so choose wisely. The only real problem with the game play is that after the first ten or so missions, the tasks you're asked to perform might get monotonous - you're in a plane and you shoot things. Legendo does their best to keep things interesting, and for some it works, and for others it just seems a bit contrived. For an example, one of the missions you escort another plane, which really just boils down to shooting other planes quicker than they can shoot your buddy down. As much, or perhaps, as little variation there is, AoPH maintains to be an addicting game.

Attack on Pearl Harbor is a simple game, but that doesn't bog it down or subtract from its appeal, on the contrary, in fact. Most gamers are put off by the hardcore flight Sims of today, and dare I say, tomorrow, because of all of the keyboard configurations, combinations and intense mapping of key binds; how does Attack on Pearl Harbor handle this? You use your mouse. Sure, you can use your typical WASD (W for forward, A for Left, S for Down, D for Right) configuration, but you're not limited to just that. With just the mouse alone, you can control ninety-nine percent of the moves that are available to your character in game. Firing, of course, is left click, while missiles are fired by pressing down on your right button. Accelerate and Decelerate are handled (if you so wish) with your mouse' click-wheel (if you don't have a mouse with a click-wheel, seriously, get with the now. You should probably upgrade from your PS2-Port as well) and your maneuvers are (drum roll please) controlled by moving your mouse up and down on the X/Y axis.

Multiplayer is exactly what you might expect from such a title; you fly and you shoot. Barebones at best at the moment, even the display containing information such as Ping (computer to computer latency) has been left out. At the moment, all I could find were dogfighting servers, where each player is pitted against each other in a battle to the death. Again, the experience is exactly how you'd expect it to be; which is a bit of a let down. A few more modes of multiplay would have been great; cooperative, objective based, team based or even follow the leader could have added a whole new level to the game.

The graphics are well done, though they were a bit demanding in this release I received, an un-optimized version. Attack on Pearl Harbor boasts some pretty meager system requirements, which is good, but maintains to output some very nice visuals. One thing you will notice is the abundance of explosions and volumetric effects which lend it the feel of some major action movies, namely Pearl Harbor; don't act like you didn't see it. We all did. Even with exploding fireballs abound, the game holds up nicely with little to no loss of frame rate and few hiccups on all high. If your machine can't handle high resolutions and volumetric materials, I'm afraid to say that your experience might be a bit lessened. While the game looks great on all high, due to lighting tricks mainly, the world seems a bit bare without these options enabled. There is a little tip though; if you're computer is struggling with Horizon Blur (DoF) and 3D shadows, disable Horizon Blur for a major increase in frames per second while still retaining some great visuals.

Sound can, and usually is, the most lacking aspect of all games. Why more studios don't spend more time on this, I don't have any clue, but it seems like it was just a mere afterthought for Attack on Pearl Harbor and aside from the standard cannon fire, and the main track, there isn't much else. Nothing to complain about and nothing really outstanding; it just is. In a sense, when you don't have anything remarkable about a specific area in a game, it's mediocre; wherein the problem lies. If you can't say anything good, and you can't say anything bad, you're really not saying much about it, and that's just bad for games. Period. I think some of the guns might have different sounds for their cannons, but really, in the state of gaming we're in, that should go without saying. Over the next few weeks Legendo might beef up some of the sounds, so stay optimistic about this element.

Overall, Attack on Pearl Harbor is a pretty fun adventure; you can really get into it and the action feels pretty epic. Some of the levels are a bit boring, and for the hardcore FlightSimm'er, you'll feel a little insulted at the (lack of) control configurations - so this game probably won't sit well with you. For the average Joe, this game might actually bring you into the world of Flight Sim X and IL-2, both of which are great games but very complicated, and if it doesn't sway you into the hardcore side of this genre, you'll still have a ton of fun pulling down some bogies. Attack on Pearl Harbor ships out this summer. Let the Ice-Man jokes ensue.

by Dan Thompson

 

Attack on Pearl Harbor - The Story

Overview:

In development by Legendo Entertainment, Attack on Pearl Harbor is an aerial combat game that will allow players to relive the action-filled dogfights of the Pacific Theater of WWII as both Japanese and American pilots. Featuring arcade-styled gameplay, an accessible interface and extensive tutorials, players will be able to quickly jump into the cockpit and take part in exciting aerial battles. Richly detailed graphics, graphic-novel inspired cutscenes and realistic radio chatter round out the experience. Attack on Pearl Harbor features four solo campaigns, plus a "quick play" dogfight mode. In addition to the initial Japanese attack on Oahu, the game also offers a host of famed and challenging scenarios such as the Battle of Midway, Iwo Jima, Burma and Manila. Each campaign spans several months during 1941-1945, presenting an exciting and varied selection of missions.

Features:

  • Intuitive controls - Pick up and play the game via a simple, straightforward control scheme that'll have anyone flying in seconds
  • Instant action - An accessible interface makes it easy for anyone to jump straight into the biggest aerial battles of WWII
  • Multiplayer dogfighting action - Up to 12 players can fight it out via the Internet or LAN, fly solo or team up in squadrons as either American or Japanese pilots
  • Choose your side - The campaign mode offers players the chance to take on the role of dashing Douglas Knox of the USAAF or fighter pilot Zenji Yamada of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service.
  • Riveting action - Take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier in the most prolific fighters, bombers and torpedo-bearing aircraft of the WWII Pacific Theater!
  • Historical Locations - Fight the same battles that determined the outcome of the war including Doolittle Raid, Pearl Harbor, The Battle of Midway and Iwo Jima!
  • Unique cutscenes - The campaign is advanced through graphic novel-inspired

 



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