Review – Air Missions: HIND

When I first heard of Air Missions: HIND being ported to the PS4, my initial thoughts weren’t good. I had limited knowledge of the game, all I knew about it were a few reviews for the PC and Xbox versions, all of them being really negative. However, I tried to stand by it, being the fan of air combat simulators that I am. Once I started playing Air Missions: HIND, I was glad to find out that the game is a lot better than anticipated. Well, it’s still very flawed, glitchy, and with some terrible gameplay choices, but I still had fun with it. It’s not a bad game. It’s just… alright, I guess…

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Me trying to land the heli for the hundredth time.

Air Missions: HIND is no Ace Combat. It’s no Desert or Nuclear Strike. This is a much more simplified combat simulator that even features some interesting arcade-like qualities, like a fully customizable instant scenario creator, as well as online multiplayer. Everything loads pretty quickly and the framerate is somewhat stable, but the game falls flat in being a quick pastime due to its controls.

If there’s one thing that’s absolutely unintuitive in this game, it’s the control scheme. Air Missions: HIND features one of the most convoluted control schemes and button placements I’ve ever seen in a game, as well as stupidly sensitive aiming. The game tries to be realistic with its physics and controls, but it goes overboard with that. The (failed) realism really takes a toll in the controls. Right stick doesn’t control the camera, it controls your altitude. The slightest touch on the left stick influences not only your pitch, but also your aiming crosshair. The trackpad deploys your landing gear. R2 fires you secondary weapon, while L2 fires the primary machine gun.

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Pro tip: change the camera to this side-view setting. It’ll make your life a lot easier.

I could go on and on, but I can summarize by saying that you’ll spend a lot of time in the training mode getting used to the controls, especially when it comes to trying to land your damn choppers. The slightest mistake will result in you finding yourself inside a raging ball of fire.

That’s a shame, because the game itself isn’t bad. Sure, it’s simplistic, it’s chock-full of PS2-esque pop-ins, and its production values are average at the very best, but mowing down enemy bases with a thunderstorm of bombs and missiles from half a mile away is and will always be entertaining. Well, at least the helicopters are well-detailed, so there’s that…

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Great balls of fire!

I expected something much worse. Air Missions: HIND is riddled with issues and a very complicated control scheme, but I won’t deny, it’s an alright game. If you can get past its borderline scary gameplay, you can have quite a bit of fun with what’s essentially a stopgap until Ace Combat 7 gets released early next year. If you’re part of the very small and specific demographic of Russian helicopter enthusiasts, you’re in for the game of your dreams as well. All half a dozen of you.

Graphics: 5.5

They’re not terrible and the framerate is somewhat acceptable, but there’s nothing exciting about the visuals. At best, they look like something that could have been done on the PS3.

Gameplay: 4.5

Once you get used to the controls, the gameplay can actually become intuitive, but you’ll need a loooooooong time to get used to the bizarre button placement and sensitive aiming.

Sound: 6.0

The are some decent, albeit very loud, sound effects, as well as mediocre, but very repetitive, music. There’s also some sparse voice acting.

Fun Factor: 7.0

The controls are extremely confusing, but once you get used to them, you’ll have a mildly entertaining placeholder for Ace Combat 7 at your disposal. There’s quite a decent variety of missions and instant play scenarios.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Air Missions: HIND is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Reviewed on PS4
A copy of Air Missions: HIND was provided by the publisher.