If you want a flight sim with more knobs and dials than you can shake your cursor at, look elsewhere. Attack on Pearl Harbor is about action and fun, not realism. "This is a beer and pretzels blow sh*t up action title - think Crimson Skies set in World War II," says Mario Kroll of publisher CDV. And there's something to be said for that. After slogging our way through enormous encyclopedic manuals of Britannica proportions, and tutorials the length of your average feature film, Attack on Pearl Harbor's back to basics approach is somewhat refreshing.
The game's four single-player campaigns follow the stories of pilots Douglas Knox and Zenji Yamada. As expected, you'll see all the major battles of World War II's Pacific theater during your tour of duty, like the Battle of Midway and Iwo Jima. But we were surprised to see some of history's lesser known conflicts represented, such as the Doolittle Raid, America's first aerial assault on Japan.
There's not much to the controls. Fire your machine gun with one button, launch missiles with the other, and do your best not to crash into the ground. Whether you're dog fighting, bombing ships, or strafing ground units, Attack on Pearl Harbor definitely has a pick-up-and-play quality to it.
And from what we’ve seen so far, the game’s simplicity is both its strongest and weakest point. While it’s nice to be able to leap straight into the fray with the game’s no nonsense gameplay, the campaign missions get repetitive quickly as you destroy X planes and ships for the umpteenth time.
Also, while the Attack on Pearl Harbor looks decent - with some nice looking clouds and skies - it won’t win any prizes on the visual front. Still, that's to be expected for the game's bargain price point of $29.99. If you’re looking for a casual “blow sh*t up title,” keep your sights locked on this one. But there’s not much to get excited about for gamers looking to get the most out of their fresh over-clocked DirectX 10 graphics cards.
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