Apache: Air Assault Review

I quite enjoy any game that has you taking to the sky. Apache: Air Assault does just that. After countless hours watching soldiers transported by chopper in cut-scenes of late, it’s finally time to control the bird.

What Apache: Air Assault Got Right
Realistic enough for pros – While I have ambitions of one day gaining my pilot’s license, I should never be given the keys to an Apache helicopter. On training – the default skill level – the player has a great deal of control over the aircraft; however, everything is simplified for new players, who have a limited understanding of pitch and trim. While a mistake will lead to certain death, it’s easy enough to master the controls to avoid this happening. Realistic, as you would expect, turns things up a notch, and is clearly catering for the flight sim crowd, with more realism at every turn. Before you even get to combat, flight controls present a stern challenge on realistic mode.

Explosive combat – That’s all that really matters when you’re at the controls of an Apache. Hellfire missiles are the most devastating weapon in your arsenal and lock-on to enemies if you have a clear line of sight. You only have 8 of these bad boys, however, after which you’ll need to wait 3 minutes for them to reload, which turns out to be a ruddy long time in the heat of combat. Manually aimed rockets are plentiful, with 30 that are restored after just 10 seconds of exhausting your supply, but required a keen eye, which leads to blind spamming.

The machine gun cannon – The cannon is poorly controlled by the A.I. in flight mode, however, you can blind fire at any time. If you have a bored friend sitting next to you, they can take over cannon duties in local multiplayer. At any time you can move to the cannon seat and switch between thermal and infrared vision. This becomes increasingly important when you’re waiting for your hellfires to respawn, but pay attention, as an Apache that has sustained damage won’t remain on auto-hover and might smash into the ground while you’re messing around with heat signatures.

Great helicopter models – Each Apache has been licensed by Boeing and carefully designed to resembled its real-life inspiration. Instruments inside the cockpit mimic those in the real thing; although, that’s not of great use if you don’t know how to read them, and only relevant on realistic or veteran difficulty.

Online Co-op – Online multiplayer is leaps and bounds better than the local alternative. Rather than having you as co-pilots, online gives each player their own Apache to co-operate and complete a series of objectives. Furthermore, online co-op injects much needed variety into the single player campaign, which gets caught up in sending you out to shoot stuff time and time again. Online has races and you scouting ahead for your ally, extra modes that just can’t be replicated with A.I.

What Apache: Air Assault Got Wrong
A nothing story – Apache: Air Assault has a story that is less interesting than the tale of your grandpa’s grocery shopping. It isn’t designed to do anything more than progress your mindless blowing up of bad guys, but it could have been much better. It has something to do with terrorists, pirates and probably the end of America, but fails to deliver a compelling narrative in any sense of the word.

Useless tutorial – The tutorial can be blamed for your constant death. Even on training (normal) mode, it fails to fill you in on some of the crucial details, such as the ability to repair your helicopter. Here I was thinking I had no choice other than to smash into a bunch of RPG-toting terrorists when they hit me with a rocket, but the game assumes you’ll find the, relatively hidden, repair helipads on your own accord.

Bland environments – The poor story is compounded by the boring environments which all look exactly the same. It’s a shame, as the attention to detail on the Apaches themselves is immaculate, but ruined by terrible brown backgrounds. It’s like buying a really nice couch for your spider-infested shed; it’s wasted in the environment.

The Final Verdict
Apache: Air Assault is best if you master the controls and experience both single and online multiplayer. It’s realistic enough for most pros, but more casual players will struggle to master the flight controls, even on the training difficulty, while the fun is to be had on realistic. That leaves it as a fairly niche title for combat flight sim fans.
I quite enjoy any game that has you taking to the sky. Apache: Air Assault does just that. After countless hours watching soldiers transported by chopper in cut-scenes of late, it’s finally time to control the bird.

What Apache: Air Assault Got Right

Realistic enough for pros – While I have ambitions of one day gaining my pilot’s license, I should never be given the keys to an Apache helicopter. On training – the default skill level – the player has a great deal of control over the aircraft; however, everything is simplified for new players, who have a limited understanding of pitch and trim. While a mistake will lead to certain death, it’s easy enough to master the controls to avoid this happening. Realistic, as you would expect, turns things up a notch, and is clearly catering for the flight sim crowd, with more realism at every turn. Before you even get to combat, flight controls present a stern challenge on realistic mode.

Explosive combat – That’s all that really matters when you’re at the controls of an Apache. Hellfire missiles are the most devastating weapon in your arsenal and lock-on to enemies if you have a clear line of sight. You only have 8 of these bad boys, however, after which you’ll need to wait 3 minutes for them to reload, which turns out to be a ruddy long time in the heat of combat. Manually aimed rockets are plentiful, with 30 that are restored after just 10 seconds of exhausting your supply, but required a keen eye, which leads to blind spamming.

The machine gun cannon – The cannon is poorly controlled by the A.I. in flight mode, however, you can blind fire at any time. If you have a bored friend sitting next to you, they can take over cannon duties in local multiplayer. At any time you can move to the cannon seat and switch between thermal and infrared vision. This becomes increasingly important when you’re waiting for your hellfires to respawn, but pay attention, as an Apache that has sustained damage won’t remain on auto-hover and might smash into the ground while you’re messing around with heat signatures.

Great helicopter models – Each Apache has been licensed by Boeing and carefully designed to resembled its real-life inspiration. Instruments inside the cockpit mimic those in the real thing; although, that’s not of great use if you don’t know how to read them, and only relevant on realistic or veteran difficulty.

Online Co-op – Online multiplayer is leaps and bounds better than the local alternative. Rather than having you as co-pilots, online gives each player their own Apache to co-operate and complete a series of objectives. Furthermore, online co-op injects much needed variety into the single player campaign, which gets caught up in sending you out to shoot stuff time and time again. Online has races and you scouting ahead for your ally, extra modes that just can’t be replicated with A.I.

What Apache: Air Assault Got Wrong

A nothing story – Apache: Air Assault has a story that is less interesting than the tale of your grandpa’s grocery shopping. It isn’t designed to do anything more than progress your mindless blowing up of bad guys, but it could have been much better. It has something to do with terrorists, pirates and probably the end of America, but fails to deliver a compelling narrative in any sense of the word.

Useless tutorial – The tutorial can be blamed for your constant death. Even on training (normal) mode, it fails to fill you in on some of the crucial details, such as the ability to repair your helicopter. Here I was thinking I had no choice other than to smash into a bunch of RPG-toting terrorists when they hit me with a rocket, but the game assumes you’ll find the, relatively hidden, repair helipads on your own accord.

Bland environments – The poor story is compounded by the boring environments which all look exactly the same. It’s a shame, as the attention to detail on the Apaches themselves is immaculate, but ruined by terrible brown backgrounds. It’s like buying a really nice couch for your spider-infested shed; it’s wasted in the environment.

The Final Verdict

Apache: Air Assault is best if you master the controls and experience both single and online multiplayer. It’s realistic enough for most pros, but more casual players will struggle to master the flight controls, even on the training difficulty, while the fun is to be had on realistic. That leaves it as a fairly niche title for combat flight sim fans.

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