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Heatseeker is one of those games that will give the ever-so-old Codemasters the boost it needs and the possibility to prove they still have what it takes. It’s no Ace Combat, but damn… It does come reaaaal close! I can truly recommend this game, certainly to shorten the waiting for the next AC.
With the speed and the hectic action, not to mention the unlimited ammo, Heatseeker ticks all the boxes for a fun game. The only trouble is that it has no real depth. This in its self is not a bad thing, but you do find your self going into a trance as you take out endless waves of Migs. For me though it has been a thoroughly enjoyable game to play. If you want to feel like Tome Cruise in Top Gun, even for a few minutes, then this is the game for you, just don't expect to get the girl at the end of it!
Ultimately, Heatseeker may not be on the level of a Burnout of the skies (as the back of the box claims), but it is a rowdy good time. You may need to look past some rough patches – and the fact that you've done just about everything before in other similar games – but it’s still a worthwhile romp for your PS2. So go ahead, recite all those Top Gun lines, and ride into the danger zone.
A dix mille années-lumière des simulations aériennes, Heatseeker offre une bonne session de shoot au joueur avide de sensations fortes. Les combats aussi surréalistes que divertissants constituent l'épine dorsale d'un soft avant tout caractérisé pas une grande facilité. Heatseeker est titre très accessible, peut-être trop, ce qui contentera surtout les néophytes et les joueurs désireux de participer à d'âpres dogfights sans s'être coltiné un manuel de 500 pages auparavant.
The problem with Heatseeker really comes when you start to realise that's all there is to it. As much fun as each mission is on their own, when you're pulling on the flight gloves for the next and then the next and then the next it all soon starts to become very familiar. For all the fresh locations spread throughout the world each mission is still essentially you flying through the open air with either land or sea below you, shooting planes that more often than not all tend to look very much the same from the distances you view them at. It's not that any of it is bad; it's just that it all feels rather pointless after a while. With no strong narrative to hold the campaign together or to evoke any emotion it all falls apart somewhat once the initial thrill of combat has faded and the monotony of yet another similar mission set in.
Mag ja sein, dass die PS2 die primäre Entwicklungsplattform war, aber etwas mehr Engagement hätte man für die dreister Weise auch noch etwas teurere Wii-Fliegerei schon aufbringen können. Eine spielerische Offenbarung ist der Titel aber auf keiner der beiden Plattformen und auch grafisch wirkt Heatseeker bis auf die hübsch inszenierten Zeitlupenabschüsse ziemlich rückständig. Arcade-Piloten können trotzdem einen Probeflug wagen, ansonsten gibt es gerade auf der PS2 weit ambitioniertere Alternativen.
Ich habe selten in den letzten Jahren eine dermaßen schwache Grafik mit ansehen müssen, allein deshalb disqualifiziert sich Heatseeker sofort nach dem ersten Spielstart. Unverständlich ist auch, warum die PS2-Fassung besser aussieht als die Wii-Version. Letztere macht dennoch etwas mehr Spaß, da die Steuerung mit der Remote überraschend gut gelingt. Doch das abwechslungsarme Gameplay mit den unzähligen Angriffswellen und den wenigen Aktionsmöglichkeiten zerstört jeglichen aufkommenden Spielspaß. Auf eine richtig gute Actionflugsimulation müssen wir daher weiter warten, bis dahin greifen Flugfans zum besseren Blazing Angels.
With no multiplayer, dated graphics, grating sound, and some unoriginal gameplay, Heatseeker has a lot of things going against it. But in spite of all these issues, shooting wave after wave of generic enemies can be fun in short spurts. If you're looking for some mindless fun, the game might be worth the $30 price tag on the PS2, but it's in no way worth the $50 Codemasters is asking for on the Wii.
Heatseeker is an average game, tending to slip under the average, in the category of those titles that won't even be remembered a month after their release. Aside from the Impact Cam concept and the fun you can have while playing the game, there's nothing else to enjoy in Codemaster's title. Even the older Ace Combat games are ten times better than Heatseeker and it pains me to say that we've yet to see a class A flight sim for the Playstation 2 console.
Instead, we're left with a very empty feeling after playing Heatseeker for even a few hours. It starts off entertaining but loses all its appeal and fun factor very rapidly, primarily due to the reasons listed out at the start of the prior paragraph. IR Gurus and Codemasters could've done so much more, but just didn't bother, and that's the long and short of it.
When it comes right down to it, Heatseeker just isn't a good value for the money, compared to what else is out there for the PS2. At $30, Heatseeker is more expensive than a used copy of Heroes of the Pacific or Lethal Skies II or a brand new Greatest Hits version of Ace Combat 5, all of which are clearly superior air combat games. With those kinds of quality alternatives out there, there's no reason to even let Heatseeker out of the hangar.
As we mentioned earlier, Heatseeker does have a low-budget title feel to it and had it been priced accordingly there wouldn't have been too much to be upset about. However, the game is priced at £29.99 and at that price it's difficult to recommend, especially if you have yet to play the Ace Combat titles. The story is pretty much nonexistent and some of the missions are just tedious. Graphically the game also falls short. Given how enjoyable Heroes of the Pacific was, it's disappointing to find that Heatseeker doesn't even come close to living up to its expectations.
Unless you're really against a game that takes itself seriously there's nothing to recommend Heatseeker over Ace Combat, especially not since the last AC, Belkan War, made a serious effort to recreate the kind of one-on-one duels we've all seen in the movies and expect from dogfighting. Heatseeker feels like a step back, a simpler, uglier, dumber but friendlier jetfighter that plants you firmly in the role of the one man army. To put it another way, Ace Combat expects you to be upset at the scripted, drawn-out death of your wingman and Heatseeker lets you fly into the ground and bounce off with a bit of damage. The only thing Heatseeker succeeds at is being a close approximation of a superior game. If you don't mind supporting that and you like your gaming ultra-casual, you're clear for take-off.
Graphically the game can be extremely painful, as it often rests at PSP quality, and the overall presentation isn’t much better, as menu navigation and pre-flight is pretty basic as well. Heatseeker has its moments, and they usually result in a blaze of glory that’ll get your heart pumping, but those moments are few and far between, as the majority of the game is a low-res, basic flight experience with very little to justify a semi-demanding price. When factoring in amazing flight games such as the Ace Combat series on PS2 (many of which can be found between $10 - $20 now), there’s simply no competition, as Heatseeker looks, feels, and plays like a first-generation PS2 game; nothing more.