Publisher: CDV Software Entertainment
Developer: Legendo Entertainment
Release Date: Late July, 2007
Lately there has been an onslaught of WWII Pacific War games; some have been database-intensive battle simulations while others have been simplified action games. Having the opportunity to play several of these games, I have discovered that these titles rarely shine in both single- and multiplayer action. This all may change this summer.
A preview build of the new WWII Pacific air combat title, Attack on Pearl Harbor, featured a single-player campaign mode, in which you play through the service careers of either Douglas Knox (American Campaigns) or Zenji Yamada (Japanese Campaigns) as they engage in over 50 different missions. These engagements will take place on 14 Pacific Theater maps, utilizing five different types of American and four different types of Japanese aircraft.
If you are interested in Internet or LAN play, Attack on Pearl Harbor has a full-featured multiplayer mode supporting up to 12 players. In the event that you are short on patience or time, you can also start throwing lead around right away, Attack on Pearl Harbor features an instant action mode in which you can quickly setup who, what, when and where, and then jump into the fray right away. To help get you started, Attack on Pearl Harbor provides in-game hint balloons as you play, in lieu of a separate in-game tutorial. This form of instruction actually works well for this title, considering the simplified control scheme and its arcade nature. You will have the option of using a mouse and keyboard, joystick or a gamepad (including an Xbox 360 controller) to play Attack on Pearl Harbor.
So, are you wondering why have I labeled Attack on Pearl Harbor as an "arcade" style game? Consider the following elements: During missions, you will not need to worry about trivial matters such as running out of gas or ammunition; you will always have an unlimited supply. However, there will be delays while reloading rockets, bombs and torpedoes, and your machine guns will overheat if used continuously. Although your aircraft is not immune to damage, it will be possible to continue to effectively wage war in your aircraft even after it has been damaged to the point of taking on the appearance of a flaming marshmallow.
Some of the fast-paced action you will encounter while playing Attack on Pearl Harbor will be completely insane! Through the multitudes of exploding aircraft, smoke, flak and continuous hail of bullets you will wonder how you will ever be able to see your target, let alone destroy it. Of course, all of these unrealistic conditions may make you wince and send you running toward the RPG section, but believe it or not, Attack on Pearl Harbor is an incredibly fun and challenging game to play.
Attack on Pearl Harbor is a well-organized title with easy-to-use interfaces and a generally uncluttered appearance. The in-game graphics are equally impressive and what I would consider as "state of the art" at this time. You will want to have a newer graphics card to run this game with the best possible quality settings. Everything from explosions to environmental effects are reproduced convincingly in Attack on Pearl Harbor — you will even catch the sheen from your aircraft when the sun hits its surface just right. Clouds and smoke will appropriately impair your vision (or provide cover), as does the setting sun and the cover of night. The game features a rich orchestral score which meanders effectively behind the game's realistic sound effects. This will be a great game to break in your new sub-woofer.
The single-player mode campaigns are divided into two separate campaigns for each side. Brief campaign storylines and post-mission summaries are presented in a comic-strip style, which actually fits comfortably with the overall design and arcade feel of the game. As you begin your tour of duty, you will find that you are usually given the opportunity to select one of two missions to complete. After making your selection, you will be briefed on your objectives and will be allowed to select your aircraft and to adjust its camouflage as you see fit. While playing through the campaigns you will engage in a single or combination of mission types.
In Air Battle, you will be required to engage enemy aircraft with machine guns and rockets. (Note: Rockets in WWII were non-guided, so you will need to make sure you have aircraft lined up.) In Bombing, you may be tasked with bombing land and/or sea-based targets, whereas in escort, you will help protect the transport of troops, ships or even bombers from enemy aircraft. In Search and Destroy, you need to travel between designated waypoints and search for enemies on land, sea, and air; and finally, in Torpedo Mission, you approach and deliver torpedoes to enemy ships in both day and night missions.
After you successfully complete your mission, your performance score will be assessed and any medals or airplane unlocks that you have earned will then be presented to you. If you have successfully reached another promotion level, you will be notified of your new rank by your commander, prior to the selection of your next mission. In the event that you are unable to successfully complete your mission, you will be given the option of retrying it without penalty or simply advancing forward in the campaign.
With the excellent graphics and fast action available in the single-player campaigns, you will soon want to explore what Attack on Pearl Harbor has to offer for multiplayer enthusiasts. You shouldn't be disappointed in what you find. Up to 12 players will be able to team up and face off on the game's 14 campaign maps. Connecting to both LAN and the Internet matchmaking server are straightforward, and you will also have the ability to set up and host your own Internet-based game. Although I encountered a few synching and stuttering issues in multiplayer mode when I tested my preview build, it was generally only an occasional problem. I do recommend that you consider utilizing a voip (voice over IP) server to improve in-game communications with friends, especially if you are playing on teams.
The clean design, incredible graphics, and fast-paced action in Attack on Pearl Harbor will surely please most air combat fans. Although this game is more on the arcade side of the fence, the campaigns and missions roughly follow the actual battles of the WWII Pacific Conflict in design. Great gameplay in both single-player and multiplayer modes places Attack on Pearl Harbor on my "must-buy" list for games coming out this summer. Play the available single-player demo and consider adding it to your list as well.
More articles about Attack on Pearl Harbor