Heroes of the Pacific
is about as generic a console flight sim as they come. The game is set in the Pacific theater during WWII and you, as a Navy pilot, must battle through mission after mission, practically taking on the Japanese Navy single handedly. The plot that is laid on top of the historic conflict in the Pacific is a bland one, and because of this, missions tend to drag on as the gameplay is hampered by the forced effort to include a story.
The campaign is a lengthy one and the mission types vary from dog fighting to dive bombing, from torpedo runs to flying the heavy bombers of the era. Despite this variation, each type doesn’t have what it takes to hold the player’s attention single-handedly. Every time the mission switches from one type to the other, it’s like a breath of fresh air that quickly turns sour again. Once a single mission of each type has been experienced, the fun factor is gone and things quickly become monotonous.
Heroes of the Pacific has included a meager wingman feature in an attempt to create a dynamic experience from mission to mission. However, it soon becomes apparent that each mission has one role for your wingmen, and once you have figured this out and issued the order, any dream of an open-ended mission is lost.
The amount of planes included in the game are the one thing that keeps the long trek on a slightly interesting track. Every time a mission is completed, you usually get to unlock a new plane, get some upgrade points, or both. Upgrade points can be spent on the various planes to increase their weapon capacity, maneuverability, etc. At first, it would seem like your choices in upgrades matter, but due to the overwhelmingly arcade feel, the upgrades become more of a job rather than a choice. As long as you upgrade something, you will stand a chance at the next mission, no matter which plane it is.
Heroes of the Pacific can be played split-screen as well as across a network of systems. It can also access Xbox Live, and a handful of different game types are offered. The standard Dogfight and Team Dogfight are included, where things are kill or be killed. There is also a Capture the Flag mode that has each team’s home base situated as an aircraft carrier. In order to ‘capture the flag’, you must fly low over the opposing carrier, then destroy one of three waypoint balloons and return to your ship. Fox and Hound is basically a game of keep away. As the Fox, you must kill other pilots in order to increase your score, but whoever kills you will then become the Fox. Finally there is Scratch One Flat Top. This is where each team has an aircraft carrier, and your objective is to sink the opposing carrier, at which point the game ends.