Air Conflicts: Vietnam is a spin-off title from the little-known Air Conflicts series, by developer 3Division Entertainment. As its name clearly implies, the focus of the title is in aerial combat, and for this particular installment, the deadly dogfights taking place over the skies of a 60’s era Vietnam. While this might sound like a rather interesting premise for a video game, particularly one which mixes together simulation elements with actual historical data, the game actually falls a bit flat, leaving the player feeling confused and lost in the clouds.
On its face, this title isn’t really about supplying you with an in-depth backstory, placing you in the boots of some heroic and noteworthy soldier, but rather providing a loose footing for a stream of violent encounters. In short, the goal was and is to offer up a platform to jump right in and engage in dogfight after dogfight. Again, this sounds like a “can’t miss” sort of approach, but somehow they’ve managed to go a bit off mark, ultimately leaving you wondering if you’re spending your gaming time wisely.
If the game has any saving grace then it has to be its gameplay, which isn’t too bad at all. The basic idea is to have you flitting about, desperately trying to achieve missile lock on opponents all while taking solace in the rather forgiving controls. Yeah, it’s basically nothing new in terms of its premise or delivery, with an basic setup which closely resembles a dozen or so other games which involve aerial combat. At the same time, the overall response you get from enemies isn’t too bad either – they’re not boneheaded nor notoriously difficult to bring down (at least they achieved some type of balance there, eh?)
One of Air Conflicts: Vietnam’s saving graces is its early Battlefield-like ability to switch between assets. In other words, you can actually move from cockpit to cockpit, which also allows you to perhaps play a bit more strategically as well.
However, in the context of rather uninventive mission design and the use of repetitive tasks, the basic gameplay quickly becomes stale very quickly (unless you’re just in love with that kind of thing and can’t get enough of flying in general). In a way it seems like an attempt to bring arcade-style combat within the constraints of what might generally be classified as a rather generic simulation offering.
Another spot of interest in Air Conflicts: Vietnam is probably the game’s graphics, which really aren’t too shabby as long as you don’t focus on the ground. Likewise, there is an impressive number of craft available in game, which military buffs will likely appreciate but run-of-the-mill gamers will just overlook entirely.