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Anthony Capone
04 Nov, 2009

Heroes over Europe Review

360 Review | For the aces or rookies?
Heroes Over Europe is another of those World War II games where you're given a classic war-time aeroplane and squadron after squadron of Nazi fighters to shoot down. After stalling in the hanger for a while, the game has finally been set loose on shelves for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Anyone with a hankering to experience ye olde dog fights of yesteryear can now pick up and play the game, but does Heroes Over Europe aim for the stars or bomb out before the pre-flight checks are complete?

In Heroes Over Europe, henceforth referred to as HoE (no, this isn't the first review to use that label), you get to play from the perspectives of four difference aces-in-the-making. You began as a rookie being taught the ropes by the British, before moving on to New Zealand and United States pilots doing their part in the war effort. Unlike the Ace Combat series, playing on the easy difficulty really is a walk in the park. Things are also certainly helped along by a healthy dose of checkpoints. Hamming up the difficulty can extend playtime somewhat though, with enemies becoming slightly more aggressive and evasive.

Heroes over Europe begins in England, before moving across the continent.

Heroes over Europe begins in England, before moving across the continent.
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The single-player campaign begins over the green pastures of mother England. Mission locations constantly change as you delve further into the game. Each level begins with a lengthy briefing, where you get a run-down of the current state of affairs. Upon transferring to a new fighter squadron, different World War II-era planes become available. The number of machines in the hanger also grows as you tick off secondary objectives, and while this provides some incentive to replay HoE, the game is rather short with just over a dozen levels to complete. Players spend the bulk of their time behind the crosshairs dog fighting and bombing the enemy to kingdom come. However, after the third or fourth level, the prospect of downing another squadron of enemy fighters or performing one more bombing run becomes a very dreary affair.

The one feature unique to HoE is a gameplay mechanic known as ‘ace kill’. In effect, it slows the action down to Matrix-style bullet-time and allows players to zoom in on an enemy plane. And just in case you aren't unable to think for yourself, the game kindly paints the weakest points on the enemy's craft – such as the cockpit and engines – to ensure a quick and easy kill. Similar to sniping in Splinter Cell, your aim steadies over time so you place the reticule over the exact spot where a single shot is all it takes. It's fun using ace kill for the first half-dozen or so times, but it quickly transforms the game into a sniping festival. The feature also becomes a win-all button in what was already a very easy game.

There are plenty of planes to choose from, but they aren't very different to fly.

There are plenty of planes to choose from, but they aren't very different to fly.
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Unlike the recently released IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, HoE is essentially an arcade title. If you run away at the sight of one of those hardcore flying simulators, HoE is going to more your cup of tea. It's just you, the plane and the controller. There aren't any squad mates to baby-sit, and your fighter isn't going to drop from the sky if you slow down for a second too long. The most challenging decision to make is which control scheme to adopt – the default, which uses the left stick for movement, or professional, where the stick rolls the fighter. While novices and casual players are catered for, enthusiasts won't be challenged enough by this setup to entice a purchase.

For anyone that's up for a game or two with some mates, there are four multiplayer modes – Dogfight, Team Dogfight, Survivor and Team Survivor. Overall, while the pickings might be slim, the multiplayer gameplay is solid. Online dogfights are much more satisfying than playing with the in-game AI, and the mayhem of playing with up to 16 other players is hugely entertaining. Survivor mode is also rather enjoyable, as you can either choose to sit on the fence and hope to outlast everyone, or go in with all guns blazing for a real challenge. The unfortunate factor in all this though is that there is hardly ever anyone online.

Ben wasn't so big from the air.

Ben wasn't so big from the air.
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Graphically, HoE is a mixed bag. While the game looks somewhat satisfactory overall, it lacks detail in a number of areas. Ground objects look good and flying close to the earth feels more realistic than in other games such as Tom Clancy's HAWX. The fighter planes are above average, but the level of dedication from other flying titles like Ace Combat is missing. Explosions and bullet effects are well conveyed, but all this is hampered by the constantly struggling frame rate. The soundtack is well composed, but you can't help but feel your listening to the same stock sound effects all the time. Cinematics are expertly constructed with archival footage and music, but you will only notice them if you can stop laughing at the absolutely terrible voice acting. Believe us when we say that you should just turn off the voice work from the start. It'll make the game a much better experience.

There are definitely worse aerial combat games than Heroes Over Europe out there. The game doesn't require a piloting licence to play, and there are plenty of planes to try out and war-era locations to take a gander at high above the clouds. Nonetheless, experienced players will find that HoE is no more of a challenge than buttering a slice of toast. The multiplayer is fun (if you can find anyone to play with), but the short length and repetitive gameplay poke holes in the single-player campaign. If you are after a basic WWII flight game the doesn't require too much attention, Heroes Over Europe may be worth a look once it gets a little cheaper.
The Score
If you're looking for a straightforward World War II-themed aerial combat game, Heroes Over Europe is worth a look. While competent, there are better flying titles worth your attention. 6
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Heroes over Europe Content

Heroes Over Europe flies into view
04 Dec, 2008 Take a look at the latest game from Aussie developer Transmission Games.
Take a look at Heroes over Europe
28 Aug, 2008 Being developed right here in Australia.
Heroes over Europe details emerge
19 Aug, 2008 Follow-up to Heroes of the Pacific coming in 2009.
1 Comment
4 years ago
I wonder how post-release support for this game will be with Transmission Games out of the business now?
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  17/09/2009 (Tentative)
Standard Retail Price:
  $99.95 AU
Publisher:
  UBI Soft
Genre:
  Action
Year Made:
  2008

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