Fandel Mulkey On December 7, 2009 at 8:06 am

One genre that consoles have generally lacked in comparison to PC’s is flying/air combat games. Truth be told, there have only been a handful of these games during the past ten years, and when you think about it, only the Ace Combat series have turned out to be above average. Namco figured out long ago that while gamers wanted to enjoy the thrills of flying a fancy jet through mountains and cityscapes, they didn’t want to bother with the boring things like limited ammo, landing flaps and G-Loc.

Transmission Games obviously went the same route when developing its WW2 flying game, Heroes Over Europe, as the controls take on a blatant arcade feel, even going so far as to include things that would be completely out of place in WWII. Now obviously, I’ve never actually piloted a WW2 fighter plane, but I’m pretty sure that pilots didn’t have the ability to press a button to engage the 1940’s equivalent of warp speed (oh I’m sorry, “WARSPEED”), nor did they have access to “Ace Kill” mode. The Ace Kill mode allows pretend WWII pilots to instantly zoom in while a special gauge charges up. Once the gauge charges up to a certain point, you’ll need to point to point it to a flashing part of an enemy plane (cockpit, engine, etc…) to attempted a one-hit-kill. Think of it as the 1940’s equivalent of a sensor array.

The games biggest problem isn’t the lack of any resemblance of realism; it’s the fact that the game itself is repetitive and not very fun. Most of the missions are your typical “shoot a number of guys to advance to the next checkpoint” variety. Problem is, while you’re focusing on your target, your plan gets sprayed by a hundred bullets by one of your targets defending fighter escorts. The natural reaction would be to veer off your target and go after the fighters who are attacking you. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t give you a good idea exactly who is attacking you, so you either have two choices: 1) stay focused on your target and pray you don’t get shot down; 2) try to go after who’s shooting you and hope that your target doesn’t reach its target and/or blow up your base. Controls were another sticking point. You’re pretty much stuck with two choices – arcade and professional – with no way to manually change any of the button controls. I wished I at least had a choice to switch around the buttons so I could have my yaw controls on my R1 and L1 buttons instead of using the second enology stick. While it may not be a problem for most people, having the yaw controls on the stick caused me to have problems focusing on my target.

Online consisted of your typical modes of dogfight, Survivor, team survivor and team dogfight with a maximum of 16 players at a time. Actually finding 16 players to play with will be a problem though, as the game was a barren wasteland when I attempted to play online.

Graphics are another sticking point. To be blunt, the game looks a first-gen Xbox 360. Texture pop-in is common when a level loads, and the detail of the planes looks generally unimpressive Too be fair, this is the PS3 version I’m reviewing; the Xbox 360 might look marginally better. One area that does shine though is the presentation. You’re treated to 1940’s WW2 propaganda videos at the beginning of every campaign which do a surprisingly good job of making you feel like you’re actually in 1940’s Europe. The actual story itself is solid, though the voice acting could be better; still it’s far from being the worst acting you can find in a game. Music and sound effects are another high point; bullets are loud and the planes buzz generally like a WW2 fighter plane should. While the music itself isn’t too memorable, it never gets aggravating and fits the theme of the game.

Heroes Over Europe had the potential to be a fun quirky arcade shooter. Unfortunately a combination of repetitive missions, bad in-game GUI, mediocre graphics and a completely barren online environment will cause most gamers to simply move on to other games in a couple hours.


Simple arcade gameplay with features that are completely out of place in the era this game takes place in along with a bad interface will, at best annoy you as you’re getting shot at by random enemy planes. At worst, they’ll frustrate you to the point of you wanting to snap your controller.


Uninspired with texture pop-in and terrain (buildings, trees, etc…) that looks much smaller than it should be. Overall, it’s a first gen 360/PS3 games at best, a original Xbox game at its worst.


Easily the games high point. Bullets and explosions are loud and the music perfectly fits the theme of the game.


Bad design choices and mediocre graphics kill what could have been a fun shooter. Mindless gameplay can be fun in short bursts; but combine that with boring missions and so-so controls and you have a perfect recipe for disappointment.

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