An early look at Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII
When you think of Mad Catz, the chances are you probably think of fight sticks, turbo controllers and other hardcore peripherals. It’s less likely that you will think of Mad Catz as a games publisher, but the company is branching out into publishing these days.
Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII is one of its upcoming games. It’s a flight arcade game which puts players behind the stick in 32 unique aircrafts as they engage in air-to-air, air-to-ship and air-to-ground combat scenarios across historically accurate locations.
Historical authenticity is a big thing for the studio, and they say they have had extensive conversations with historians from the USS Midway to ensure everything is just peachy. The planes are carefully represented and the game even allows you to take part in historical battles, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Iwo Jima.
However, Mad Catz is quick to correct any suggestions that this is a flight simulator. Even though it does contain both sim and arcade modes, this is a full-on arcade game, packed with loads of action in the same vein as classic Ace Combat.
The main concern we have is that Damage Inc. clearly doesn’t have the high production values of Namco’s prize fighter. In truth, it’s a bit of a plain Jane. Neither does it appear to have the level of detail that makes Birds of Steel so popular.
But Damage Inc. is a full feature title. It offers a 12 hour plus campaign with 20 singleplayer and co-op missions (2-4 players). It also features multiplayer for up to eight players. The multiplayer modes include classic dogfights, team dogfights, survivor, team survivor and scratch one flattop. That last one, if you don’t know, is a team-based mode that has each team trying to sink the other’s aircraft carriers using dive bombers and torpedo bombers.
So, Damage Inc. is actually quite a comprehensive package, which explains the full-retail price tag. But to get the full Damage Inc. experience, you really need to spend extra to get the Collector’s Edition at around £89.99. This pricey bundle ships with the Pacific AV8R FlightStick, a flight stick that is styled after a combat aircraft from the Second Word War.
The stick has been designed by Mad Catz’s Saitek division, which specialises in professional flight sim products. While Damage Inc. isn’t a flight sim, the AV8R FlickStick offers precise and graceful controls, making it considerably more enjoyable to use than a regular DualShock.
This marrying of software and hardware is where Mad Catz can come into its own. They can build a game from the ground-up that will work perfectly with their peripherals, thus offering a unique experience.
Damage Inc. could certainly benefit from more polishing, but it’s highly accessible. It throws you straight into the action, allowing you to engage in dog fights and go wild with barrel rolls. It’s also got a big focus on multiplayer, so we’re hoping that it will have enough in its tank to offer up a good old fashioned arcade flight game experience.
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