Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII Review

Every so often, I feel the urge to play a WWII fighter pilot combat game. This inevitably leads to the question, “which WWII fighter pilot combat game to play?”. A question, no doubt, every human being will ask themselves at some point in their life.

My first experience of this genre was back in 2002, in the form of the wonderful Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3. The Countless hours I spent in CFS3 multiplayer servers cemented my affection for the thrill and immersion of simulated wartime piloting. Since then, there have been a multitude of combat flight games released on PC, each of varying quality, realism and success.

Bringing a new title to what could be considered an already crowded and highly competitive market is a brave move by any developer and publisher. Fans of the genre can be highly critical, tend to communicate on specialist forums and much like any flying beasts, move in flocks.

Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII you won’t be surprised to know, is a game set in the Pacific during World War Two and featuring squadrons. That’s squadrons of combat flight craft, or planes, if you prefer.

DIPAWWII as I like to call it, is an arcade game. It’s as much an arcade game as an arcade game can be, and that’s very arcade gamey indeed. If you’re seeking WWII fighter pilot realism and simulation stop reading right now and play Wings of PreyIL2 SturmovikWar Thunder or similar titles. For this is a game developed with instant action and very little chance of crashing in mind. Difficulty settings don’t seem to make any difference to difficulty, except for changing the view from external third-person in Arcade mode to first-person cockpit view in Simulation mode. Additionally, RookiePilot and Ace settings are available, though I didn’t detect any discernible changes, maybe because I’m a crazy fool. As far as I can surmise, it’s pretty much impossible to crash, unless you happen to be quite drunk or distracted. The hit-boxes of enemy craft are bizarrely large too. I spent quite a bit of time checking this, and it is definitely very possible to shoot down naughty baddies by peppering the sky surrounding them with surprisingly few bullets.

If the complete inability to crash or miss enemies isn’t enough arcade style fun for you, then get this: you can employ turbo boost! Well, actually it’s called Warspeed, but it is definitely turbo boost. That’s not all though, oh  no. Check out the Rephlex Mode function, which slows time! That’s right! If the huge hit-boxes and crash impossibility aren’t enough buffing for you, then go ahead and achieve the impossible by cheating physics completely and slowing down time so that even with your eyes closed and using your feet to control the game, you cannot fail to win. Amazing.

Enough of my whimsical sardonicism though. What if you are in fact quite drunk and in the mood for playing an incredibly easy combat fighter pilot game? Well, then it’s really rather good. The graphics are crisp, clear and impressively rendered. The sounds are appropriate and well produced. Voice acting is slightly cheesey but certainly not painful, and the music is fittingly rousing orchestral pomp.

There are over thirty aircraft to unlock and combat ranges from air-to-air, air-to-ship, and air-to-ground scenarios, including over twenty multi-objective single-player and co-op missions. Craft can be upgraded by earning points to spend and Steam achievements have been implemented for Gabe-lovers everywhere.  Various control methods can be used, such as flight-stick, game-pad or keyboard / mouse. There is a multiplayer mode for online dogfighting mayhem, though not entirely surprisingly, the servers are empty at the time of this review.

My only major grumbles are that every time I try to access video options the game completely crashes (wtf?) and switching views on the fly is needlessly restricted by choice of Arcade or simulation mode. Oh yes, I almost forgot, at £39.99, in my humble opinion, it’s also over-priced.

Release Date: 28 Aug 2012

Developer: Trickstar Games

Publisher: Mad Catz

Official site

Steam Store page

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Hardware Used: 

Microsoft Wireless 360 Controller

Intel i5 3570k 3.4GHz Quad Core CPU

ATI HD 7850 2GB GPU

8GB RAM

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This entry was posted by Ian Brown.

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