Let me start this review off by saying, if you’re going to make me spend about a half-hour loading seven disks to get your game installed, it better darned well be fun. In the case of Aerial Strike: The Yager Missions, that seven-disk samba was just barely worth the effort. Here you have a game that’s basically a PC version of the Xbox hit, Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge. However, due to an overly complicated control scheme, it’s not nearly as fun as its Xbox competitor.
Being that Aerial Strike is as flight combat sim, I’m more than willing to give it a little wiggle room when it comes to complicated controls. After all, I’ve played through SU-27 Flanker and some of the real hardcore flight sims, so Aerial Strike, with its emphasis on quick and deadly dogfighting shouldn’t be, as far as controls go, all that bad. But it most certainly is one convoluted mess of controls. Ships has both a hover and a jet mode, wherein they act like a helicopter or a fighter jet respectively, and the controls reorient themselves to which mode you’re in, leaving you constantly struggling to remember what button does what. The fact that this aerial sim doesn’t start with the Y Axis inverted didn’t help me feel too charitable towards it either.
Whoever wrote the missions for Aerial Strike must have really loved Crimson Skies, because at times, it feels like the same darned game. The storyline has you chasing, get ready for this, sky pirates! And, you’re a high-flying mercenary. Gee, this all sounds so familiar. But let’s say you don’t care about the story, and are just wondering how it plays. You’ll be glad to know the game does play well, once you get the crazy controls wired. The missions, while simplistic, can be a lot of fun, and the at-times visually stunning aircraft and environments really suck you into this high-tech fighter fest. The CGI’s, you’ll want to do without, as the animation is choppy and jaggy, but once you’re back in the game, it’s all good fun.
Shooting down enemy planes is pretty simple as your fighter is certainly armed enough to take down most of the opposition, and at times, you’ll have a wingman standing by to lend a little oomph to your attacks. Weaponry is pretty basic, but it all gets the job done.
If you can overlook the incredibly steep learning curve for the controls, Aerial Strike is a pretty enjoyable way to blow 20 bucks, especially if you don’t have an Xbox with Crimson Skies. If you do have Crimson Skies, there’s no need to pick this up for your PC, Crimson is a much better game. Anyhow, in the end, you’ve got some good, though not great, fun for 20 smackers.
— Craig Falstaff
- Gameplay: 6
- Overly confusing control scheme, basic gameplay.
- Graphics: 8.5
- Great environments and cool looking vehicles.
- Sound: 7
- Does the job
- Replay: 6
- Plenty of missions keep the game alive for some time, though nobody’s playing this online.
- Overall: 6.9
- Basically, it’s a Crimson Skies for PC, but it’s not bad for $20