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July 18 2007
Heatseeker - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
30/5/2007AtariCodemastersIR Gurus
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating
128KBMedium1-4PG

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Yet another PSP flight sim.
Flight sims aren't a common experience on consoles, but we've already seen a couple in the PSP's short life. Most notable is Namco's very impressive Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception which, we must add, sets a pretty high benchmark for this game to match up to. The game has been developed by Australian company IR Gurus, who had a pretty successful title, both critically and commercially, with Heroes of the Pacific on PS2 a couple of years ago - so there were pretty high hopes for this game as well.

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Ground textures are passable - just.
So what we have here is an arcade styled flight sim featuring some of the most advanced fighter jets available to militaries around the globe today. With 30 missions set across a wide range of locations including the Caribbean, Antarctica and the Far East to name a few there is certainly a wide range of locations and backgrounds to fly over. Planes in the game include favourites such as the F-15 Eagle, F/A-18 Hornet, SR-71 Blackbird, F-22 Raptor and F35 Lightning II as well as many more. As expected you'll have a range of missions to target and while there are about double the number of missions in this PSP title compared to the PS2 and Wii versions, the missions are actually much shorter in length, making the game more suitable for gameplay while on the move.

Good news for PSP owners is that this game includes multi-player gameplay for up to 4 gamers through the PSP's wireless connectivity. Unfortunately with no one else with a copy of the game that we know of we were unable to test this function, but other reports online indicate that this is certainly a solid feature with some game time.

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The Impact-Cam shows destruction.
The biggest problem with Heatseeker is the controls which simply aren't responsive, or accurate enough to make the game enjoyable. Indeed you'll be quite frustrated at times with the controls which aren't nearly as accurate as those in the PS2 or Nintendo Wii versions of the game. Another problem is one we've also commented about in the sound section - it's the complete lack of speech in the game. When you're flying a mission you want to hear about your squad mates planes, or hear the updated mission objectives, but in this game you have to read text. It disrupts the flow of the game to the point of distraction. Mission variety also needed to be increase. Sure, you get your typical bombing runs, and taking out enemy aircraft, and sure, there is only a limited number of missions one can include in a game like this, but even so, a little more imagination would go a long way.

Graphically Heatseeker is also quite average. The Impact Cam allows you to follow the missiles to the target which, while nice, doesn't add too much to the gameplay and soon becomes distracting. Ground textures are quite poor when compared to other PSP titles and buildings look terrible but fortunately the game holds a passable frame rate.

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Expect plenty of explosions!
Audio is certainly the most disappointing aspect of Heatseeker. While most flight sims include plenty of cut scenes with voiceovers they are lacking in this game. Even more disappointing is the lack of voice chatter over the coms during the missions. Why this is missing is unknown - and to be honest it's inexcusable. It really removes much of the atmosphere in the game and with 1.8GB of storage space on the UMD it's quite baffling. Besides the lack of speech the audio effects and music are adequate - but still not earth shattering.

I guess the problem with this game is that there is already better on the market including Namco's very entertaining Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception. Still, if you've played that game and are looking for a bit more flight sim excitement then Heatseeker may be worth a look.

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSA good variety of planes, and some adequate graphics. Nothing special though.
65%
SOUNDAdequate music and effects, but the lack of voiceovers really hurts.
43%
GAMEPLAYThe game feels sluggish next to Namco's title, it's ok, but little more.
55%
VALUE30 missions in total, and some multi-player makes this good value.
68%
OVERALLCertainly not a great game for the PSP but if you're after some flight-sim action then you may get a buzz out of this.
57%

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