Microsoft Xbox 360 (PC, PS3, Wii)
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 2.0 stars
Air combat games usually come in one of two forms, hardcore simulation and casual/arcade style. I enjoy playing both, but I've lost my taste for modern games that rely heavily on lock-on "fire and forget" missiles. With the release of "Dogfight 1942," City Interactive has apparently ignored the plethora of spoiled gamers who cry "not another WWII game." Too bad it isn't very fun!
Set in famous locations in both the Pacific and Europe during "the big one," this game follows stereotypical American and British pilots as they attack a narrow variety of enemies and defend bases. If this sounds boring, that's because the game play in "Dogfight 1942" is as generic and unremarkable as its name.
The first mission in the game is a tutorial, but flying and shooting is so simplistic that this mission only benefits gamers who've never played a flying game before. None of the later missions become very challenging, and combat ends up being more of a skeet shoot than a deadly air battle. In fact, I never felt as if I was on the verge of being shot down even when I flew in straight lines and was constantly peppered with gunfire.
Making things simpler still is the "Ace" button that actually points the airplane's nose in the direction of whatever target is chosen and basically flies the plane automatically. This is supposed to let players focus on fine-tuning their aim, but it really turns the game into a rail shooter. Yawn! There's also an offline co-op mode, but having two overpowered planes on the Allies' side makes the game unbearably easy.
I enjoy the WWII era airplanes and the stylistic "kill cam," but these features aren't enough to justify paying $15 for "Dogfight 1942."