I believe this is the Review mane_raptor is talking about? (ROFL)
(reprinted without Steve's permission, sorry Steve, but man! You write the kinda reviews this town needs. Tell it like it is, Steve, don't sugar coat it!
Nations: WWII Fighter Command
By Steve Erhardt
Well, toss another game on the furiously burning pyre of debunked hype machines.
Nations: WW II Fighter Command was hyped by Psygnosis as being a game that
could dethrone European Air War. Well, not only did they miss that mark by a mile, but
theyíve actually given Eagle Interactive a good run for the money for my "Most
Clueless Developer" award.
Iíll admit itÖ I bought into the hype they were spewing. Articles in gaming mags ticked
the usual features off in their previews, and did the usual job making the game sound
promising. All kinds of online looks at the game extolled the company line about
realism, graphics, and all the rest of those things that pique the interest of simmers
everywhere. The truth is that Nations is a monumental waste of time that not even
newbie can enjoy.
As implied in the title, the game is supposedly a WW II sim. The usual suspects from
the U.S.A., Britain, and Germany are included for the player to fly in/against. The only
slight upside is the inclusion of the Me163. Itís not enough to save the game at all, but I
figure itís worth mentioning. If the game itself were any good or any fun, then the
all-too-familiar list might not be such a drag, but as it stands, seeing the same old tired
selection of planes in such a substandard offering just adds to the lackluster feeling of
Letís start off with the interface to Nations. UmÖ ugh. Hereís an interface so screwy
itíll make even Luftwaffe Commanderís look good. Functionality wise, I suppose itís all
right, but no great shakes. Itís in the presentation that it takes a dump. I have no idea
what was going through the developerís heads, but whatever this H.G. Wells/Jules
Verne Victorian-Gothic nightmare is, it ainít what you should be wrapping your WW II
sim in. Itís an artistic thing, I guess, but the bottom line here is that it just doesnít work
in the least to incite a WW II motif. Not even the Aircraft Database can put any zing into
the mood. Itís about the saddest, most spartan example Iíve seen in a long time.
When it comes to gameplay, the game still doesnít measure up. Thereís nearly a
dozen Instant Action missions, a campaign, and training. You can select any
nationality/plane for any of these endeavors. This is good, because it will let you
experience the galling ineptitude of the game in many different airframes.
As far as the missions themselves go, they hit all the bases: ground attacks, bomber
escort/intercepts, fighter sweeps, etc. Itís a good variety that gets wasted on piss-poor
execution. And before I forget, the campaign is canned. Whoopee-**** . Yet another
painful lack of innovation in this already crap game.
The box and all the hype proclaim that Nations is the kind of sim that hardcore players
are looking for. Well, thatís ********. There are 3 flight models to implement, Easy,
Realistic, and the real big laugh, Ultra-Realistic. Their words, not mine. Ultra-Realistic
would barely qualify as arcade in the eyes of most seasoned simmers. Planes are
fantastically over-powered and maneuverable. Pilots must work, and work hard, at
purposely departing controlled flight before it will actually happen. "Ultra-Realistic" is a
real limp noodle of an option, and itís the kind of flight modeling that makes hard core
types want to puke. Despite having the approval of one Craig Penrice (Former RAF
Commander and Eurofighter test pilot), the modeling in Nations is second in
over-blown claims of accuracy only to Luftwaffe Commander. Psygnosis must have
had balls the size of cantaloupes when they were shoveling out the hype about the
realism of the game.
Flight modeling isnít the only steaming pile in the game, though. Views, practically the
lifeblood of functionality in a sim, are a haphazard lot. You get the usual round-robin of
keypad snap views, and a slewable mode as well for looking around in your aircraft.
There is also a Fly-by and Free Cameral view. Whoopee. This isnít even where it gets
stupid yet, though. While there is in fact a Padlock View, there is no targeting function
in the game. You select your padlock target by hitting padlock key when you have the
target in your cross-hairs. Um, Ďscuse me, but why the **** would we need the padlock
function when the target is already in front of us and in the cross-hair? HelloÖ? Is
any body home? Anybody? Anybody at all?
AI is also sadly in the crapper. There are 3 levels to select here as well, but they all
suck equally, with friendly and enemy pilots all routinely plowing into the ground, no
matter the setting. In a fit of impishness, I did an Instant Action 1v1 duel and simply
flew straight and level. Without even firing a shot, on the highest AI setting mind you,
the enemy lined up on my tail and promptly dove himself into the ground. I havenít seen
anything that sad since Luftwaffe Commander (Luftwaffe Commander still holds the
prize in this category, though, since entire formations will smash themselves into the
ground routinely). Tactics wise, all the AI ever tries to pull (assuming it made itís
ground check for a change) are level turns and Immelmans. Anything more imaginative
than that, you can forget it.
It could be argued that the game might be fit for arcade-type fun, but youíd
hard-pressed to convince me. With retard AI, useless padlock, and total wreck of even
the most rudimentary flight modeling, it just wouldnít be fun for even arcade level
Multiplayer may win back a few votes for arcade-ishness with lots of fancy power-ups.
Yes, I said "power-ups", as in invulnerability, super-damage and more. Somebody
hand me my gamepad, quick! You can turn these darlings off, but that assumes youíre
desperate or stupid enough to play in the first place. Sadly, I canít really comment on
how well the multiplayer stacks up performance wise, since I found no one to play it
with, but I think itís safe to say it would have been a bore at best, even if all I wanted
was an arcade flying shooter.
Graphically weíve got a big loser. Even in high resolution, plane graphics are a
smeared mess of colors, and ground objects and terrain are uninteresting in the
extreme. Special effects catch a moment of grace with explosions and flame effects,
but there isnít anything else worth mentioning on account of how well it was done.
There is an attempt to duplicate the sparkle of panes at a distance when the sun hits
them, but they should have left well enough alone and forgot about it. It just doesnít
work right. Instead of a winking effect, there a glop of color flashed on the screen for a
brief second that doesnít inspire any kind words from me.
Prop effect is almost passable when the blade is spinning under power, but when it
slows down or stops, it really destroys any disbelief with itís over-the-top cartoony
appearance and sketch-lines that appear at the apex of the blade. On the good side,
starting up or shutting down the engine (done by simply moving the throttle out of or
into the closed positionÖ Oh yeah, thatís "Incredibly Realistic and DetailedÖ") emits
a nice coughing up of smoke from the engine, but again, this isnít enough to save an
otherwise despicable sim.
So graphically there isnít anything special to rave about, which would have been the
gameís last straw at attracting even the arcade crowd. They may not be as picky as
hard core types about the flight modeling, but you can bet your *** they want juicy
graphics, and Nations fails to deliver in almost every way. Itís amazingly laughable that
a newly released game that requires a 3D card canít hold a candle to something like
EAW (A superior game in every way possible).
As for sound, well, letís just say this game needs Meatwaterís attention badly. Guns of
all types sound wimpy, engines only sound powerful because their volume is
obnoxiously loud in comparison to everything else, and Iíve heard better explosions
after a tasty bowl of chili with extra beans. Music during the game crosses between
uninspired and atrocious.
Doc wise, Nations can finally hold itís head up proudly. The manual is nicely pumped
up with history and tactics, and does a complete job of explaining the gameís
workings (but then again, itís not exactly a complicated game to begin with).
Where bugs are concerned, itís hard to tell. A lot of people have reported being
unable to get the game to do more than show Psygnosisí own opening flash before
locking up or crashing altogether. Other than that, I have a hard time telling if any
problems/gripes I have are bugs, or just more of the gameís lame design bubbling up
to the already gruesome surface.
For a final word, whether you are a hard core type like me who was foolish enough to
buy the hype, or just a random game player who wants some WW II Air War action,
stay the hell away from this piece of **** . If youíve already bought it (like me), take it
back if you still can and go grab something else. I know I will be. I donít manage to
pick too many losers to blow my money on, but Nations is definitely the exception that
proves the rule. It just plain sucks hairy, unwashed *** , and your best bet is to avoid it.