San Francisco. 07/30/13. 2:00 pm. After a long flight from New York, which I mostly spent reading Stephen King’s “It” and watching downloaded episodes of HBO’s “24/7 Road to the Winter Classic” featuring the Flyers and my beloved New York Rangers, I was greeted by the glorious California sunshine and the scent of the ocean on the breeze. I was headed to a press preview of two games by Kalypso Media, Air Conflicts: Vietnam, an arcade-style combat flight simulator, and Rise of Venice, a game where you hone your trading skills during the Renaissance in Italy. Here’s what I saw:
Thunderchief, a supersonic jet packing an intimidating arsenal, as well as the iconic UH-1 “Huey” helicopter, which for missions is outfitted with a .50 caliber machine gun poking out of the side. This prompted multiple references to that crazy door-gunner from Full Metal Jacket, and during the demo the Huey was shown to be quite powerful deadly, able to handle much more than just troop transport.
When I was given the chance to try it for myself, I started with a “Huey” mission, tasked with taking out a few AA batteries near a river delta, tucked in behind a low mountain range like a nest of poisonous snakes. The controls were very easy to pick up, and the challenges of negotiating lift versus thrust were more forgiving than other games with less finely tuned control schemes.
Despite my ill-fated mission attempt, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and am looking forward to getting another crack at it soon. We were looking at a highly polished game one of its final Beta stages, and the final version is slated for a release sometime this fall on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, and should retail in the mid-range at around $29 to $39. Keep an eye out for it at your favorite local retailer, and I promise it will be well-worth the wait.