Developer: IR Gurus
N Amer - 05/01/2007
You know, its funny, we get so preoccupied with the new/current generation of gaming systems that we sometimes forget that there are still titles for the previous, yet still "designed for" gaming systems. In fact, when I am looking at the games I am interested in reviewing, lately, I seem to be passing up those titles that are on the PS2, the GameCube and the original Xbox. Why? I don't know, we all know that there is potential in these systems, and that developers still make titles for them, but hey, maybe it's because we want the latest and greatest. And, to be honest with you, 99 times out of 100, if a game is made across all platforms, and there is a PS2 version and a 360 version, the 360 version always seems to look and sound better for the obvious reasons. But every once in a while, a title comes out that is exclusive to one system and even though it is a last-generation system, everything fires on all cylinders and gaming gold is struck. But not in this case. One, not only because the game isn't all that great, but two, the game is available on the Wii and PSP.
Aside from my mindless ramblings in the above paragraph, I wanted and actually requested this title, because quite frankly, I wanted to play some serious air-to-air, air-to-ground combat action. I had hoped that my unnatural itch to fly at mach 3 and blow things up would be scratched with this title, but alas, I keep on itching and you keep on wondering just what the devil I am talking about.
"You smell something burning?"
That being said, in Heatseeker, you play as a, what else, a jet pilot. You run the gamut of about 18 missions that involve the introductory levels that help you get the basic controls down while blowing enemies out of the sky, to eventually moving on to more dramatic fare, which involve blowing enemies out of the sky AND on the ground. Yes, that is a note of sarcasm that you are picking up on. Sadly in Heatseeker, the game never really gets past the one trick pony of blowing things up as a way to move the missions forward. Oh sure, you may have to defend a base, or go hunt down nuclear weapon smugglers, but in the end, they all just get blown up. And when I say they all, I mean it. I'm fairly certain that you will single handedly kill every enemy aviator in both hemispheres as you unload your machine gun fire into sortie after sortie after sortie. And miraculously never run out of ammunition. Oh wait a minute there is variation. Sometimes you drop bombs, other times you drop torpedoes, but in the end, things still blow up. Am I being a little hard on this game? Well, I don't think so. And in all fairness, the game is played like a arcade game, with the action coming at you fast and furious, only things just get old way to quickly. To expand on my disappointment in this title, you need to understand something. And I can clarify everything in one simple sentence.
They blew it.
There, everything is all wrapped up, but wait, I wouldn't be a good reviewer if I left it at that. So understand this. In the game, you get debriefed before each explosion-filled mission. Only it's not so much a debriefing as it an personal attack meant to belittle you into action. The game's weird plot structure is a hodgepodge of poor clichés and even poorer voice acting. Your commanding officer treats you like you are a hotshot pilot (ala Tom Cruise in Top Gun), but it is never determined why, there is no back-story as to why you are being treated this way, and in confirming with my father who was a 25 year career military man. A commanding officer doesn't generally act this way when he is potentially sending his men off to die. Maybe it has something to do with your being a rookie, maybe it's your nickname, but whatever it is, it doesn't make sense. But not only is it poorly conveyed, it is poorly said. The voice acting is a blistering attack on the English language, the over the top, barrage of orders just seems so out of place. Really, is anyone this upset?
"Should the unlikely event of a water landing occur, then your seat cushion can be used as a floatation device."
The graphics in Heatseeker don't do the game any justice either. The fighters, and there end up being quite a few of them, are decently displayed, with different, noticeable attributes. But the ground and buildings are nothing more than blasé colored blocks and detail-less pudding. The frame rate, while quick and without lag doesn't add any weight to a game that has this poor of visuals. There are an awful lot of explosions, but they happen so often that the developers clearly didn't want them to be too pretty as to distract. Smoke effects were unrealistic and tracer fire could have been a bit brighter. Either way, the graphics don't bring anything to the table in this title, and we all know what the PS2 is capable of.
I said above the voice acting was pretty bad, but the cheesy glam rock that saturates this mess only serves to make you smile, with a solid shock disappointment. Who would have thought this game would have been made this way. It's crazy to think this way. It's almost achieves the "It's so bad, it's good" mantle, but falls just short, making it so bad.
Lastly, the game feature no sort of multiplayer mode. Not that it would help, but this is a jet fighter combat game, and it sort of is expected.
|Review Scoring Details for Heatseeker|
There are two ways to fly the jets, arcade and professional. The pro mode makes things a little more difficult, but no so's you can't blow lots of things up. You never run out of ammo and you can perform some well known maneuvers. The controls were designed to give the player a quick, action feel and for the most part they do deliver.
There are several real life jets to pilot and look at, and they do look pretty good. And if I'm being totally honest, then I will admit the levels are huge and filled with good looking cloud effects. However, that does not excuse the really bad, ground effects, the lack of detail, and the "I don't even know how to explain it" look of the buildings.
Oh man, I can't get over that crazy rock music. And the completely unnecessary yelling that occurs from both your C.O. and your wingman. Honestly, could your character be any more hated by everyone?
Sigh, it's just a middle of the road, 500 mph, shoot em' up.
They had different mission, but they didn't really feel all that different since you still blow up tons of enemy aircraft.
I had high hopes for some real rock em' sock em' aviation action, it never happened.
I almost forgot I owned a PS2
Reviewer: Mike David
Review Date: 06/19/2007