Bomber Crew | Runner Duck
BOMBER CREW REVIEW
Charming, Complex and Brutal
by Felipe Parada
Bomber Crew is a World War 2 strategic bombing sim, where keeping your crew alive is just as important as completing the objective and this couldn't be further from the truth. I honestly didn't know what to expect when I booted up Bomber Crew for the first time. Underneath its cutesy art style is a real complex, in-depth and extremely brutal management sim that will push you to the limits just to make sure that your crew stays alive. Now, I have played plenty of flight sims but this game is unlike anything that I have ever experienced and I love it.
Its real-time game play style sets it apart from other flight sims. The game provides you with a large array of weaponry to aid in your quest to deliver the payload. And speaking of payload, Bomber Crew puts you in command of a heavy bomber and its crew as you are given the objective of dropping the payload on enemy targets. You are also given additional tasks of providing relief supplies to survivors and taking recon pictures of crucial enemy targets. It seems simple at first but that's where the similarities end because its everything that happens in-between the objectives that makes this game so unique.
Once I got into the swing of things, I began to realize how crucial the pause button was in games because this game completely removes the ability to pause. This is where the challenge comes in, you cant pause to give your crew orders so you have to perform everything and I do mean EVERYTHING in real-time. From navigation to assuming the role of the bombardier, all assignments have to be issued one after the other and sometimes at the same time. Smaller tasks like targeting fighters, picking objectives, and lining up for the crucial bombing run work just the same as the larger objectives.
Bomber Crew | Runner Duck
All these complex moves require a very careful and well choreographed coordination in order to execute. You can't drop your bombs without opening you bomber bay doors first but it's not so easy. If you open the doors too early you slow down your bomber causing heavy wind resistance which wastes precious fuel. In order to land your aircraft you must first lower your altitude so you can lower your gear. Lowering your gear too early also wastes precious fuel but you also run the risk of getting them heavily damaged if in a fight. Sometimes you are going to have to make crucial decisions that could put your whole crew at risk, do you aid a downed crew mate or do you extinguish a fire that just erupted?
Each mission has a risk factor but don't be fooled, if you let your guard down you can find yourself bailing from your bomber before reaching your target. Each mission is broken down into low, medium and high risk missions each with different objectives. These objectives range from taking recon pictures to dropping a grand slam bomb on an unsuspecting target. For those of you unfamiliar with a grand slam bomb, it was the biggest non-nuclear bomb used in the 20th century. This bomb can only be dropped from altitudes so high that the cold temperatures can freeze your crew. In addition, the cold temperatures can decrease oxygen circulation and can result in rapid asphyxiation, so you have to time the altitude duration just right.
The high risk and reward system lead to very satisfying game-play that rewards you with some pretty sweet upgrades. Trust me, your going to need them in the later missions because not only do you need to worry about the objective but you have to worry about Ace Pilots being thrown into the mix. The upgrades range from simple things like engine speed and weight impact, to more impact upgrades like turret damage and re-load speed. You can even upgrade your crew and give them the ability to call in a Spitfire squadron for added support. The feeling of constantly working towards and objective makes the frequent unlocks feel like they mean something.
Bomber Crew | Runner Duck
My only real gripe with the game is the way the controller is set up. For some strange reason some of the actions seem to be a bit harder than it needs to be. Especially since it can get hectic at times, moving crew members from one station to another feels like a herculean task that often led me to having crew members standing around doing nothing. You have to be pinpoint with your commands because I once moved my engineer to the belly turret not knowing that I really moved my pilot. Safe to say that I was able to get him back in the drivers seat before my bomber took a nosedive. Just make sure that you have the area highlighted before you make any move.
The game definitely plays as advertised which makes this game a MUST PLAY. An exciting, brutally difficult, management sim with a real sense of charm. I really don't mind the difficulty in the game because if you fail to hit the target or if you get shot down you can easily replay missions where you can figure out where you went wrong. And if you do get shot down it was probably your fault anyway, as embarking on a mission unprepared or overconfident will see you easily at the bottom of the ocean. It's that difficulty mixed in with the reward system that will have you spending hours in this game as you say to yourself "just one more mission."
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A tale as old as time.
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