Every once in a while a game comes out with little fanfare and even less attention. For Gaijin Entertainment, the Russian developer of IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, its latest release is not getting all that much coverage, and we tried very hard to learn why.
Published by Activision, Apache Air Assault is a helicopter flight simulator that includes 16 multi-stage missions and a co-op experience that allows two to four players to join together in 13 missions. There is even local co-op that allows one player to pilot the helicopter, while the other player is the co-pilot and gunner. The graphics are fairly realistic and the few missions we played are relatively varied.
So why are we writing a non-review? Simple, after trying to play the game the past several days, we became so enraged with the controls that we simply gave up. That’s right, flame away, but we gave up. There are far too many games out this time of year for us to spend too much time reviewing a game that we strongly believe our readers will either not care about, or will find equally frustrating.
Our first hour with the game was enjoyable. There are very few helicopter sims on the market, so it was exciting to learn how to fly a copter in game. But after the first level, we discovered a trend. The controls are clunky and the helicopter is so difficult to maneuver, that the actual gameplay experience was downright awful. Furthermore, the early missions task you with shooting missiles at ground units, but they are so difficult to see and the helicopter is so terrible to operate. It was as if three screaming babies were blowing chunks while a fat clown was stroking a rubber balloon on our TV screen, making that gut-wrenching noise everyone hates. Needless to say, the game proved more of a headache than we care to endure.
Call us bad gamers, call us bad reviewers, but we give up on this game and we cannot figure out why anyone in their right mind would want to suffer through this experience. But now that we think of it, there may be some flight sim fans out there that yearn for a fresh helicopter combat game—thing is, we still can’t in our right mind recommend this. Maybe there is a PC market for this, but it plays poorly on the PS3. Sure, it’s only $49.99 USD, but there are better ways to spend that money—a visit to the dentist is probably more enjoyable.
Go play a better game.