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SummaryAOTP leaves a lot to be desired.
The GoodThe sheer amount of planes is amazing! I don't know of any other flight sim that comes close. Also, because you can fight on land and sea, it adds a whole dimension that Battlehawks 1942 didn't have. These advantages are mainly due to the fact that BH42 came out 4 years earlier, when harddrives were just becoming standard, so they couldn't put as many "goodies" in because of space constraints. The graphics are pretty nice. You can identify most of the US planes, and the clouds, blackouts, and sunouts are very nicely done.
The sound of the guns and also the rate of fire are better represented than they are in the Lawrence Holland Trilogy.
The BadSo many things to list. First, the busywork of HAVING to take off every mission and not being able to engage the autopilot until 250 feet off the ground is very frustrating. It should just put you directly into the action, or at least make it optional.
Planes are just too hard to hit when they get in close. The guns are harmonized too far out. I guess this is for historical accuracy, but it's so frustrating!
The accelerate time function has to be accessed by pressing F10 and then moving a slider bar. This is way too inefficient.
The whole process of dive-bombing is next-to impossible. The ships don't show smoke or damage, so there's practically no way to know if you hit (unless you happen to catch the on-screen message that says you hit). After releasing your bombs, you *always* get shot down by a hail of AA fire, unless you press A to autopilot away (?!?!).
The US planes, allegedly far tougher and able to take lots of damage, are like paper airplanes... about 2 or 3 hits and your dead. Many Japanese planes can take more damage.
Once really nice thing about most other flight sims is that at the end of the mission you get to see what types of planes you shot down. At the end of the career or campaign, you can go back and look at how many of each type of plane you've shot down over your career. This game not only doesn't show you what you shot down during each mission (it just gives a total number of planes), but it keeps no career records. All you're left with is an anonymous number of total kills. This is very unrewarding.
Most of the Japanese planes look alike, so it's impossible to tell what type of plane you're flying against.
The mission recorder is really poor. When trying to position the camera, you can't move it vertically. For example, to move down, you have to tilt the camera down and move forward (down) until you get to the desired elevation, then tilt it back up. If they had just added an up/down control, it would've been sooo much easier to use.