Aces High Review: Be Glad You live in the 20th Century
By Vincent Haoson (Vincenthaoson), OnRPG Journalist
Playing simulation games never really gets old. Even those "World War X" themed games where you get to fly and experience how it feels to pilot or drive those old planes and vehicles that are part of our sad history of warfare.
Even if it's a marketable concept I was surprised when I stumbled upon Aces High. I never thought someone had actually made a MMO like this and I was intrigued with the game upon seeing how it plays out.
I expected the game to be polished in terms of its interface and graphics, however, what I got instead is an interface that feels clunky and a dated graphics set that hails back nearly to Windows 98 days. However I can say that they have done well in recreating the cockpits of the various planes that you can use. You actually feel claustrophobic while riding in the plane's cockpit, a feeling that was probably felt by a lot of pilots during their time inside the plane.
The game controls are not intuitive and you can't just jump in and expect to pilot the plane wonderfully. Right from the start I noticed that the game's learning curve is steep, and the only way for you to fully enjoy this game is to be patient enough to go through the process of learning how to be a decent pilot.
This is not an arcade
Aces High is not a game that you should take lightly especially if this is your first time trying out a simulation game. It is not like the usual flying games out there where you just press the w,a,s,d keys and you get the hang of it. This is the game's strong point because it truly makes you feel like you are in a simulator of old school planes.
However, being a simulation, the game only caters to a small audience because not everyone likes to fly clunky planes, much less play with them. So the game's real appeal is determined by your interest on these types of games. To give the game the benefit of the doubt, it does provide a decent simulation experience.
Aside from the simulation type of controls, the game has a huge number of planes, tanks and vehicles that you can play around with. It is kind of fun going up against other players in the online arena using the old planes, it gives a sense of nostalgia and a lot of awareness on how hard piloting was then.
Due to the fact that you are using old planes, you have to expect some delays in the battle because, let's face it, you are using old design planes with prop engines, so don't go expecting dog fights to be as spectacular and as fast paced as in other piloting games.
Aces High's interface is fairly easy to understand and pretty straightforward which I think is a good way of counter-acting the difficulty of the game's controls. Setting up your vehicles resources is easy with just a click of a mouse. Choosing between the various vehicles you can use is a breeze, though you do notice a certain amount of lag if you browse too fast.
The game's interface feels as clunky as the its controls, though this shouldn't be the case especially considering the type of games out of the market these days. It really seems that the game is more for niche market rather than the mainstream.
The Little Things
The game's controls are not the only thing that completes the simulation experience that Aces High provides. It's the little things like pulling up the plane's landing gear, allocating the fuel and rationing your ammo.
The other small thing that I liked about the game is that you don't start in the air. You get to prepare your plane and you are the one who flies it from start to end. That is unless you set it to auto-pilot, which thankfully does not include how to get your plane off the ground (I would personally consider this a bad move for the game because it kills the simulation).
I also like the idea that you don't die just because of enemy gunfire but also by crashing. This adds character to the game's simulation feature because it puts emphasis on your skills as a pilot. Also, dying by crashing can really hurt the ego, hence it also doubles as a motivation for you to do better, so you play more
I must say that the game really feels "old", not only in terms of the vehicles and planes you get to use, but also the overall feel it delivers. Though I don't really know if this was the developer's goal. I can be sure that this game belongs to a niche crowd where true lovers of World War II stuff can enjoy immensely.
The steep learning curve and dated graphics are not the only reasons why this game will not fly with the general gaming public. The game feels more like a history lesson of the vehicles and planes of World War II and how they fly rather than a fun simulation experience.
The thing is, Aces High passes with flying colors as a simulation game and it's so much of a simulation game that you have to be either old, or a person who wants to seriously enjoy flying old planes to fully enjoy what the game has to offer. If you are neither of these things then I highly suggest you go elsewhere.
- Provides a true simulation experience
- Huge choices of planes you can use
- You can also use vehicles
- It has a steep learning curve
- Dated graphics
- Clunky controls