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Damage Inc.: Pacific Squadron WWII Review

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Developer: Trickstar Games Publisher: Mad Catz
Release Date: August 28, 2012 Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Mad Cats is mostly known as a hardware company, although they have dabbled in a few games over the years including a poorly received dance game with a mat for the GameCube and a golf simulator with a motion control club. The latest of their efforts, Damage Inc.: Pacific Squadron WWII, is a flight simulator bundled with a Saitek AV8R flight stick for the Limited Edition of the game.

The game starts off at the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. It’s a quiet, sunny day in Pearl Harbor until a sneak attack killing 2,402 Americans lunges the U.S. into World War II. The game’s 23 missions begin here where your goal is to fend off as many Japanese fighter planes as possible. Eventually you make your way across the Pacific in a number of historical battles.

Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII

The strength of Damage Inc. is in its presentation of the war’s history. The developers clearly wanted to immerse gamers in the World War II experience in a respectful fashion. What they fail to do is capture any of the emotional moments that you find in both movies (Saving Private Ryan and Letters from Iwo Jima, for instance) and accounts of the war from people that were actually there. Instead in-between history lessons we get repetitive air fights and bombing runs that lack any visceral feeling.

Aside from the missions which seem to repeat constantly, the controls are overly sensitive and the enemies are seemingly brain dead. They try to compensate for the shitty controls by adding a “Reflex Mode,” which gives you Matrix-like slowed down time and is basically cheating. It takes all of the challenge away from the game and more or less guarantees a kill.

Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII

The flight stick is an impressive piece of plastic that makes an otherwise unbearable game somewhat enjoyable. It takes some getting used to – and by that I mean at least an hour – but once you get it down the game can be somewhat entertaining. The main sticking point is not the inversion of the up and down, which you expect from a flight game, but from getting your angles just right.

The main problem with Damage Inc. is that there is a lot of downtime between actual skirmishes in the sky. You often find yourself flying between checkpoint to checkpoint in essentially desolate maps that look like they were created for PS2. It is almost as if they were trying to build suspense, but it just never succeeds.

The average mission length drags to thirty plus minutes, sometimes even approaching an hour if you have to replay a mission several times. This will almost never happen because you were shot down, but instead because you likely failed to save a building or units that you were supposed to protect. The game can be entirely unforgiving in this respect.

The bottom line is that Mad Cats should just stick to peripherals. While Damage Inc. technically covers all of its bases and is not literally a broken game, it is not a fun game, either. Both diehard fighter/flight sim fans and more casual gamers will be disappointed. It’s too bad since the flight stick controller is a pretty sweet addition that would have suited arcade-style gameplay a lot better.

Graphics: 2
Sound: 4
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 5 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review