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Air Conflicts: AWWII does a good job of being an entertaining game and is also a very decent PSP action/flight simulator. For a system that doesn't have many games, Air Conflicts is probably worth the time to play.
Many of the annoyances are small, but they add up. Thankfully, the game's main focus--exciting airborne battles--is done very well and ultimately trumps the flaws. Hopefully, the developer's next effort will include all of the flight-based fun but none of the superfluous frustrations that occasionally send Air Conflicts: Aces of World War II into a tailspin.
Air Conflicts had the potential to be great, if only the development team had sat down and worked out the technical issues before launch. The scale of the landscape doesn't translate onto a handheld, and the loading times and subpar visuals are simply unforgivable when we've come to expect so much more. In addition, even though the title provides a ton of missions and a lot of history, nearly all the assignments play out the same way, leading to a repetitive experience that stopped being fun hours ago. World War II games have a bad reputation right now, and titles like Air Conflicts: Aces of World War II aren't going to help one bit. The game falls short by nearly every measure and earns a dishonorable discharge for being a poor example for soldiers everywhere.
First off, the game suffers from unfair difficulty. You'll have an enemy in your sights and open fire, only to have half of your bullets miss the target, as if they suddenly changed their mind about hitting the plane. Then he turns you around and gets off a few lucky shots, sending your aircraft crashing to the ground. Instead of restarting the mission, you go all the way back to the menu screen. Second, despite developer Cowboy Rodeo's attempt to recreate the World War II era, the visuals are below average. Half the time, the frame rate chugs so badly that you can't even maintain solid control of your aircraft. Lastly, if you do manage to weather the storm, there's not much to unlock. You get a few extra planes and medals for each level, but you'll never feel a sense of accomplishment. Air Conflicts: Ace of World War II is just another forgettable piece of vaporware. Leave it for the history buffs and take flight with Ace Combat instead.
Unfortunately, the developers didn't bother to compensate for the difference in screen size between the typical PC monitor and the PSP's screen. Everything from the menus to the mission briefings to your aiming reticule is absolutely tiny and difficult to see. The second distinction is that it has the longest load times of any PSP game I've ever played, even putting the first Midnight Club game to appear on the system to shame. This is probably due to a lack of knowledge of UMD optimization on the part of a bunch of PC gamers, but whatever the reason the net effect is that you'll spend more time with the game listening to your UMD drive whir than you will actually playing the game. Lastly, it's the most it's one of the most difficult PSP games I've ever played, and not at all in a good way. Terrible mission design and unforgiving difficulty, not to mention trouble seeing what's going on, pretty much make the whole thing an exercise in frustration.
At best, Air Conflicts is well-suited for a collector that wants every bit of World War II merchandise he can get his hands on. Anything beyond that and you’ve got a game that is practically unplayable. The clunky controls, uninviting (and ultra-repetitive) mission objectives and ugly level designs produce a game that will only be remembered for its depressing existence.