Aces High is pretty much the illegitimate love child of WarBirds. Both have the same basic premise: beat your opponents into submission using a mix of sheer weight of numbers and ovenwhelming firepower. But the raison d'etre of Aces High is dogfighting. Pure, unadulterated furballing (to coin a phrase). While WarBirds has gone down the pure realism road, Aces High still has long-range icons and a virtual in-flight radar, so you can home in on the action fast. While purists may cry foul, it cuts down on pointless map roaming: a plus in our book.
The game's come a long way since it's inception two years ago. The developer has dispensed with the rather surreal chess-set strategy menu, although there's still the three-way fight between the Bishops, Knights and Rooks. There have also been numerous aircraft updates and the addition of ground vehicles.
Go Get It!
Behind the obvious aerial combat, there's a rather complex strategy model at work in Aces High. Airfields, vehicle depots and harbours can all be captured, usually with the judicial use of parachutists, although you can roll in a halftrack packed with squaddies to do the job.
Coupled with this are targets of opportunity. These cannot be captured, but destroying them gives you a strategic advantage. These include cities, ammo factories, fuel depots, radar stations and the like. Knocking out a fuel depot can limit how much petrol is available to enemy fighters. However, the enemy can drop supplies in, so even if you've blown your foe into the Dark Ages, he's still capable of putting up a fight.
While the action will get your adrenalin flowing, the actual look and feel of the game is a bit old hat. Compared to the stunning IL-2 Sturmovik, Aces High looks like something from a bygone age. True, the aircraft models look fairly true to life and the cloud effects have come a long way in recent updates, but you always feel like you're playing a computer game, unlike Lock On and IL-2 where there are occasions when you feel as if you're really flying.
What's That Noise?
So the visuals are somewhat lacking, but there's a vast array of new whistles and bells which add to the game. Air raid sirens sound when a runway is attacked and anti-aircraft shells burst with a satisfying pop (and leave a nice puff of smoke near your aircraft too). Plus, if you're unfortunate enough to get shot up, the plane and cockpit show signs of damage.
As a flight sim, we'd have to say that Aces High is above average. As a massively multiplayer flight sim, it's the best on the market. The price isn't extortionate and there's a free two-week trial without needing your credit card details anyway. If only all games were like this.
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode