Review: Heroes Over Europe (PS3, Xbox 360)September 20th, 2009 | Written by Alex Quevedo | Topic: PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360
What would a month be without a World War II game? September sees the release of Heroes Over Europe, Ubisoft’s sequel to 2005’s Heroes of the Pacific. As you may have picked up from the name, you assume the role of WWII pilots as you do your best to take down your Nazi foes.
From time to time, you will be shooting something other than a Nazi plane. But 90% of the time you will be fighting air targets, so you can imagine how repetitive the game will become. Each mission sets you up with a short video of what’s going on with the war. Then you’ll get an art-based clip of the pilot you are in control of (there are three total).
The former of the introductions is based on actuality. And aside from planes and locations, that’s about as far as it goes in reality. Pilot stories are meant to provide some depth and emotion but fall completely flat. You might even forget the pilots’ names if it weren’t for others addressing you by name during missions. Heroes takes another few attempts at melodrama with a fellow pilot and it results in another swing-and a-miss.
Speaking of fellow pilots, it would appear they are there solely to have some sort of chatter within the game. They do absolutely nothing productive in terms of fighting. If Heroes was somewhat fair, it wouldn’t be too big of a deal. But it throws out far too many enemies for you to get through single-handedly in one try. In any given dogfight mission, you are likely to face a total of 60 enemies and as many as 20 at a time.
And during those missions, you will have to have extreme control if you want to see where they are all coming from. Too many times we were being pounded by gunfire from mysterious locations. But even if we had enemies dead in our sights, we would fall victim to incredible accuracy from the computer enemies. Frustration will become a very familiar fiend.
Oddly, as many enemies you will have to put up with in the single player, there are that many less people to play online with. Heroes supports up to 16 player matches in dogfights and survivor (team variants available for both). 16 players would most likely provide a decent experience. Unfortunately, we only snagged in two others at best. In the somewhat large aerial arenas, it provided for more searching than shooting. But at least you will have a decent selection of planes, most of which are unlocked by completing missions.
In an attempt to set itself apart from other aerial games, Heroes Over Europe introduces the new Ace Kill selection. Think of it as sniper mode for your airplane. Within a close enough distance, you build up a gauge to activate the option. With the press of a button, you go into slow-motion and are given a small time frame to pin-point target areas. Depending on the plane, you can target the back gunner, propellers and/or the engine. It’s necessary to use Ace Kill from time to time, but for the most part you don’t have to use it. The feature is an alright addition. But when you’re being overrun by enemies, using it will leave you incredibly vulnerable to enemy fire. We suggest using it sparingly or when you have a significant drop on the enemy.
Heroes Over Europe also fails to impress when it comes to graphics and sound. Everything looks decent at best. Planes look a little better than the environments. The details are there as much as they need to be. The best details are seen through the sustained damage on the aircraft. Landscapes are a little more interesting. Like the planes, they are detailed as needed, but if you get close enough you’ll see nothing better than standard, beginning-of-this-generation graphics. On the whole it is just another plain-looking game. The sound is just a little bit better, but with so much shooting going on, it mixes together too much to really stand out.
Which, of course, segues into Her0es Over Europe being an incredibly lackluster game. The exciting situations you’re forced into aren’t very exciting at all. You are given way too much to accomplish on your own. We wouldn’t call this mind-numbing, but this certainly won’t get your gears going. And we aren’t suggesting picking this up, so you can let it keep flying under your radar.