Air Missions: HIND is a flight simulator that literally came out of nowhere. The build up to launch was silent, the announcement of a launch was almost completely absent, and any hype that this game had the chance of picking up, flew straight down the pan. Do you know what? I can completely understand exactly why that is. Flight simulator games are few and far between on Xbox One, with the only real notable release going to Ace Combat 7, which touches down next year. Air Missions: HIND is most certainly not one that I would recommend to fill the void in the meantime, for a whole collection of reasons.
HIND does offer up a decent tutorial that feeds you into the experience and allows you to familiarise yourself with the controls. It’s intriguing at first, but the frustrating and awkward gameplay makes itself apparent far sooner than it should. Taking off is ridiculously confusing due to the lack of explanation, forcing you to take to the control menu to acquaint yourself with the commands. It’s immediately clear that 3Division have not given any consideration to the button mapping, it’s just a total mess. Once you do manage to go airborne, things do take a slight turn for the better. Whilst you’re up in the air you can select from numerous camera angles until you find one that you’re comfortable with. I personally preferred 1st person view due to finding it easier to aim, observe, and manoeuvre.
The campaign is compiled of several missions that tend to fluctuate both objectively, and in difficulty. You’ll occasionally be given a briefing in regards to how to use new weaponry, but this is fairly self explanatory anyway. I couldn’t say that I was at all immersed with HIND, not because the content isn’t interesting, because it does have it’s moments, but because the game doesn’t seem to give a shit about captivating you.
The presentation is laughable, with most of your mission description coming via small ugly text boxes. Speaking of text, did you want some localised dialogue in your flight simulator? Look elsewhere, all of this is spoken in Russian and subtitled in English. It doesn’t help that any description you’re given is incredibly vague. Mercifully there’s much more fun to be had in the Instant Action mode, which does exactly what it says on the tin, puts you straight into the action via a collection of different themes and missions.
That’s not the worst part. 3Division have implemented the ability to play the entire game in online co-op. So what better way to do this than to force the host to disconnect at the end of each mission, load up new mission from the main menu, and then make them re-invite back their team mate. It was overly annoying and hardly what I would describe as user friendly. I would expect this sort of layout / setup back in the OG Xbox days via LAN settings, but in 2017? It’s unforgivable, and that’s putting it lightly.
Other multiplayer aspects include straight up online carnage as you take to the skies and do all that you can to beat down real opponents. The maps are barely interesting and the lack of online players will prove troublesome for those that invest. I was only able to get in a game with one other player, despite the fact that the game (and maps) cater for ten players in total. I imagine that a full lobby would prove to be the best that this game has to
offer, but I sadly don’t see that happening.
There’s just far too much from the onset that will chase players away, and I’m not just talking about the issues listed above, I’m talking about the dated visuals too. Seriously, this looks like an Xbox 360 launch title, and no, that’s not an exaggeration. Landscapes look dull, backdrops look bland and pixelated, and it gets even worse when you’re close up. Another problem I noticed is that the ground-based enemies are static at all times. I cant recall a single instance where an enemy bothered to move from their position to gain new ground or seek safe haven. Once again, HIND just doesn’t seem to give a rats behind about attention to detail. It’s really distracting and sloppy.
I dare say that the only saving grace in this game goes to the decent selection of choppers you can choose from. Once you’ve selected your chopper you can kit it out and change the camouflage. It’s important that you’re careful with your loadout, because you do only have limited ammo supply regardless as to what weaponry captures your attention. Is this enough to save HIND from the bargain bin? No, not by a long-shot. Don’t get me wrong, there’s enough content within to keep you going for over seven hours, but what good does that do you when the game will annoy the hell out of you before the first hour passes? Exactly!
What I want from a flight simulator is not what I was offered with Air Mission: HIND. I want fast paced action, a meaningful story, heaps of firepower, decent visuals, formidable foes that don’t stand still, varied content, and more. I certainly don’t want a game that pushes forward the most frustrating gameplay I’ve ever encountered in a flight sim. Group that with the senseless multiplayer (co-op) functionality that has you disbanding your team mate at the conclusion of every game, only to have to re-invite them moments later, as well as lack of PvP population, and you have yourself every reason to avoid this like the plague. There are some fleeting moments that offer up good fun, but the cons far outweigh the pros. Air Mission: HIND is by no means a game I would ever recommend, hold out for the aforementioned Ace Combat 7.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.