Although I do not get the chance to review many games, from time to time I play a game and figure it is worthy of at least some commentary . Some months ago I downloaded a set of games as part of a bundle in order to get Civilization III. Among the games included on that set is a game called Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol, which is a turn-based strategy game where the player is in charge of a squadron of World War I pilots. To be sure, the planes of WWI were by no means as fearsome as their later counterparts. That said, though, this game in no way seeks to overstate the importance of planes to the efforts of the various military efforts of the Allies and Central Powers. Planes in World War I were essentially light cavalry in the sky, and so the tasks of pilots were essentially those of gallant hussars in previous generations, which at least makes some sense of the way that fighter pilots even now have a sort of devil-may-care cavalier attitude about them that is entirely fitting with their role on the battlefield.
In terms of gameplay, this game ought to be familiar for those who are fond of the way that Sid Meier tends to create games in the first place. The maps are somewhat simplified but the graphics and gameplay are solid. There is a clear mission approach and a progression where good performance in missions allows planes to be upgraded with new technologies and for pilots to learn new skills that allow them to perform better in the air. Each squadron has people with different skills and special abilities, and different missions require different numbers of pilots, sometimes including all four members of a particular squadron. Missions include reconaissance of enemy territories, protecting one’s own base from the recon mission of enemies, downing enemy planes or zeppelins, attacking the supply line of enemies, and so on. Again, this is not overstating the importance of these missions, as the simultaneous end of the horse as a viable part of modern warfare in Western Europe and the development of fragile planes capable of performing the same functions as light cavalry had done in the past gave early planes a clear role within the military that have not been relinquished yet to this day.
So, is this game worth playing? I believe so. That is not to say that this game is perfect. Obviously, those who want real time games are likely going to find this game a bit slow paced, but those who like the tactical turn-based elements will find much more to enjoy. I for one thought this game to be immensely enjoyable to play for the most part. The only serious critique I have to make is that the game was somewhat buggy to play on my computer. I am not sure if that was a problem because of the game or my computer or the interaction between them on Steam, and so I would hesitate at least a little bit before considering this a systemic difficulty that will plague your own gameplay. That said, though, even with the frequent buginess of the game I found this to be an enjoyable game to play with considerable replay value given the fact that one time through is not enough to play all of the possible scenarios and missions, and any game that can inspire me to play a game despite crashing is doing more than a little bit right, making this game worthy of recommendation.
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