The realm of flight simulators hasn’t really been populated as much as before. Perhaps some of the well-known titles in the genre that have been released in recent memory are the IL-2 Sturmovik series by Ubisoft and arcade flyers like Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. series and Ace Combat. Those are for planes though, and there isn’t much in the way of exciting helicopter simulators, where most of the titles are like Take on Helicopters that go for accuracy more than fun gameplay. That gap may have been filled now with Air Conflicts: Vietnam, although it may not be that much of a filler.
Air Conflicts: Vietnam is a combat flight simulation game that puts you in the thick of the Vietnam War, where you pilot aircraft like the AH-1 Cobra attack chopper over the jungles and take out whatever is shooting at you from below. There are also plane sequences where you pilot fighter planes and get into dog fights. If you’re a fan of the old Strike series that had you control an attack helicopter from overhead view, shooting and bombing whatever gets in the way, then you may like this game as it lets you experience that from a more 3D perspective. However, that’s if you can stand it though, with how the chopper behaves in the air and how the graphics look like.
This game does have an easy enough learning curve, especially with the newbie-friendly controls that are easy to understand and responsive enough to move about. Everything else does though with the physics that has the chopper flop around in mid-air, so the controls are dictated by movements that isn’t supposed to be in a helicopter simulation. But at least you get to fly across the skies and wreak havoc upon the jungles with music that’s quite appropriate for the occasion. There’s no Ride of the Valkyries in the soundtrack, but they’re still pretty good tunes for a game like this.
If you’re into playing something with a slightly different perspective on warfare, this game does do that quite well. There may not be much in the way of realism or accuracy, but it does capture a bit of the atmosphere. The Vietnam War wasn’t exactly a glorious war with stories that could be told with unanimously positive nostalgia, but more in hushed whispers. But there is no ounce of shyness shown here with missions that show a bit of that time period in a Stanley Kubrick sort of way. You fly missions in the singleplayer, crippling the Vietcong at every turn. You may not really want to play the multiplayer though, and a lot of other players seem to feel the same way.
However, the flaws are too glaring to just ignore. It does look rather below average with pixelations that really don’t look right at all. The graphics in this game can be described as just a little shy from being enough, or ‘lax’ to put it bluntly. You see the helicopter and whatever dark green brush that represents the jungle, and everything else is rough and misaligned. It does seem like it doesn’t scale with different resolutions, which is a big sign of a game not being completely finished. If they did finish this game though, then that’s quite an oversight.
The lack of polish does make it a game you’d rather skip over, but at least it’s not as bad as HyperSonic 4. That’s also a flight simulator, and it was way more horrendous than this one. At least Air Conflicts: Vietnam looks just a tad bit better. At least the voice acting is a better than whatever you hear in HyperSonic 4. But if you’re looking for a good combat flight simulator, then something like War Thunder would do better.
Tested in PC. Final Score: 4/10