At a glance...

Previewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Release Date Screenshots
Dave Wickham Xbox Codemasters IR Gurus 1-8 (Xbox Live), 1-2 (Split Screen) 23/9/2005 Here

GME: Heroes of the Pacific preview

This preview is based solely on the code being shown at Games Market Europe.

Heroes of the Pacific, developed by the Australia-based IR Gurus, is a World War II combat game - but don't fear, it's not Yet Another Generic WWII-themed FPS/RTS™ ready to invade your local game shop's shelf space. Instead the fighting is all airbourne, making you fly your way through a series of missions based on actual events from WWII, starting with the invasion of Pearl Harbor.

My first impressions of the game were somewhat less than desirable, as I spent a few minutes just attempting to take off from water on the PS2 stand, watching the plane do absolutely nothing before finally giving up and moving across to the Xbox version (which had been left on another level). Heroes of the Pacific is, believe it or not, far more enjoyable when you can actually do something (though presumably the retail version will tell you how to perform a water start in the manual or a tutorial).

Once I was finally airbourne and actually able to fly, I made my way towards the targets - a mass of Axis aeroplanes - and after some careful navigation (read: frantic chasing) managed to shoot one of them down to a watery grave. Breathing a sigh of relief at having one less enemy trying to put assorted bits of metal through my plane and body, I glanced down and noticed the objective: I'd taken out 1 out of 100 planes.

OK, so I over-dramatised that just a tad; the enemy planes aren't that much of a problem when you're so early on in the mission, but there really are a great number of them coming after you over time (after all, the objective was to destroy 100 of them). Planes are fairly easy to shoot down (at least with the settings in use), but not too easy as to just make it boring - it's still satisfying to take one out. The controls obviously add to the enjoyment here - a difficult control system would hamper the accuracy and lead to frustration at the inability to hit the enemy consistently.

The combat in Heroes of the Pacific (or at least in the levels we played) takes place in huge areas of open sea, save for the odd cloud, allowing a great degree of freedom in your plans to take out the impressively-rendered opponents - though you'll have to keep somewhat close to the enemies to actually be able to perform your duties. Whether the multiplayer follows the same trend or has more enclosed areas remains to be seen - it is unknown whether the mode will feature head-to-head or co-operative play, or even both. The version on offer at GME either lacked multiplayer, or we just didn't look hard enough for the option.

As long as the missions don't get too repetitive, it looks like Heroes of the Pacific could be a welcome addition to a gamer's collection.

A video of Matt playing Heroes of the Pacific at Games Market Europe is available (requires the XviD codec). You will have to save this to disk before playing.

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