Review: Air Missions: HIND
In the halls of military history, the very weapons and tool of combat have become visual interpretations of the might, innovation, and skill of military power. They display a sense of prowess and power, commanding respect for the skilled warriors that wielded them, as well as providing a simple, but effective snapshot in a moment within history. The Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter, with its large, rounded profile, and the signature “popping” sound of the main rotor, has become a symbol of The Vietnam War, and the brave men who both piloted the chopper and used it for combat. The UH-60 Blackhawk has become a symbol of the special forces community the battles that have endured such as The Battle of Mogadishu. Even in other militaries, certain aircraft have become symbols, such as the Avro Vulcan of the Royal Airforce, known for its operations in the Falklands War, as well as for its signature howl. For the Russian military, no other weapons have struck fear like the Mi-24 HIND Helicopter. Essentially a flying tank, the Mi-24 HIND has made its mark in pop culture and real-life battlefields, from the Soviet-Afghan War of the 1980’s to Liquid Snake flying one in Metal Gear Solid. Air Missions: Hind, from SOEDESCO game publishing and 3Divsion Entertainment puts you int he cockpit of one of the most destructive helicopter ever assembled in this aircraft simulator for the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.
Air Missions: HIND is a simulator game, where players will be exposed to realistic mechanics and conditions, and learn how to successfully operate the Mi-24 HIND. Players will learn how to play and maneuver the chopper, as well as how to utilize its robust weapons systems. Flying a helicopter will e a bit challenging initially, as players will be utilizing all of the buttons on their gamepad. Additionally, there will be other functions assigned to specific controls, such as the ability to hold the forward rotating gun in a certain place as well as remaining in a stationary hover. Later tutorials will have you learning specific weapons systems, such as the remote-controlled AT-2 Swatter missile. After a quick tutorial, players will be thrust into a fairly lengthy campaign, in which players will embark on a large variety of missions based on real-life conflicts. Along the way, players will be able to utilize new weapons systems for their choppers, customize their controls and paint schemes, and even gain access to new helicopters in the Soviet arsenal.
Controlling the chopper, even on Casual difficulty settings, will naturally take a moment to get used to. I had to restart the tutorial just to make sure I knew the controls. But, when players learned the controls and embark on their first mission, Air Missions: HIND delivers a gripping and authentic combat experience. As mentioned before, the Mi-24 HIND is an aerial beast and the closest thing to a dragon that can be built. Performing strafing runs with the combination of rockets and gun pods makes for immersive combat experience. This is most especially so when switching to the cockpit camera view, giving you a true HIND combat pilot feeling. Even the special effects, such as dirt and sand erupting from the ground upon firing a rocket are satisfying to see. In the first mission alone, I felt like I was a pilot in history, strafing targets and surveying the battlefield. Even the small pangs heard from bullets ricocheting off of the chopper provided an immersive sensation.
From city sieges to eliminating artillery positions, there is no shortage of variety in the campaign. The Mi-24 HIND had a large range of capabilities, from search-and-destroy to all-out attacker to even being an armed troop transport. One mission had me strafing a convoy of enemy vehicles while taking heavy AA fire from the convoy. Not only did I strafe the objective with the 12.7mm machine gun and rocket fire, But I even used unguided bombs to eliminate the targets. Where some players may find a small degree of trouble is using the AT-2 Swatter. As it is a remote-controlled missile. Players have to manually guide the missile to their target. The game doesn’t zoom in on the missile, however. You have to fire and then view the missile from the helicopter’s perspective. The missile becomes a small glowing orange fireball at long distances. making the missile difficult to aim. Fortunately, an auto-aim feature, that can be turned on at the beginning of the level, takes some control of the missile and delivers a more accurate shot. Whether you happen to be a combat veteran familiar with rotary-wing avionics or just a helicopter enthusiast, there is plenty to enjoy. As Air Missions: HIND is a simulator, there are plenty of customization options, including difficulty settings, controls, and weapons. This makes Air Missions: HIND a great simulator for those looking for more comfortable combat experience, or someone looking for a video game experience that is as true-to-life as possible.
The only real setback to Air Missions: HIND is that it is a little light on the content and I would have liked more missions to have been added. A simple search reveals that the Mi-24 HIND Helicopter has been seen in a large multitude of war zones since the 1970’s. Politics aside, it would have been fascinating to see more of where the Hind served, even in fictional circumstances. Perhaps some interviews with combat pilots or a look at the research done would have been nice as well. The game also features several door-gunner levels that could have been done a bit bitter. While the game is visually stunning from the air and combat perspective, the game is rather rough close-up.
Despite some setback, Air Missions: HIND is an incredibly solid and well-made combat simulator, featuring one of the most infamous and iconic helicopters every constructed. It’s a plethora of missions and overall combat experience, coupled with a mostly well-polished combat experience make for intriguing and immersive gameplay experience. Simulators give players the opportunity to experience relevant and important instances that would e difficult to view in real-life. Air Missions: Hind is a remarkable simulation experience.
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