Date: 11-28-2009 13:57
Reviewer: Eoghan

Type: PSP
Genre: Flight Simulator
Developer: Kuju Entertainment

Pilot Academy. An attempt to bring true flight simulation to the PSP. Was this a worthy attempt?

Gameplay: Gameplay is good. L and R control the rudder of the plane, while triangle and X handle the throttle. The analog stick is the main system of controlling the plane and works quite well. To take off you have to set your flaps to take off and all little things like this provide a good simulation feel. Your plane can be damaged in heavy winds and if you do any dar5ing stunts, your passenger comfort gauge will drop severely. Overall gameplay is good but lets itself down a bit in some places. For example you may encounter heavy wind after you take off and will crash straight away. This cannot be avoided and can be very frustrating.

Graphics: Graphics are good and bad, it depends on what way you look at them. If you are soaring at full altitude draw distances are great and you truly feel that you are flying above a real landscape. But if you are close to the ground some textures and objects that looked great from above look blocky and have a lack of detail. The planes are detailed well with numbers and model names painted on the sides, and when your plane is damaged smoke will billow from your engines. All in all, graphics are OK.

Presentation: The main menu is nice and plane themed. The pause menu is terrible, with only two options, continue and quit. The pause menu does tell you your goals and the goals you need to meet for an award but it is very poor. Load times can be very long especially at the start of the game where you have to wait about three minutes so it can load the load game screen. It then has to load again (another minute) for the main menu. Presentation feels half finished and rushed.

Lifespan: There is loads of potential for this game to be replayed. There are both civilian and military missions. Civilian missions involve crop spraying, photographing animal herds for a safari park and landing your plane in stormy weather. Military missions take place in every era, from WW I up to today. They include dogfights and photographing in spy planes during the Cold War. There is free flight mode where you can explore a huge 64 x 64km squared area. There is lots to go and see and will keep you flying for ages. There is an ad-hoc multiplayer which is enjoyable but gets boring quickly. The challenges will keep you hooked as well. These include flying through hay barns and emerging unscathed and more. There are over 25 planes to unlock and you will need to complete every mission to get every plane, so it is some thin to work to. You will also work to get the awards for every mission, which get you secret planes.

Pilot Academy has plenty to do in and can be very enjoyable. Pilot Academy is packaged as a flight simulator. It doesn’t truly live up that title but does its best and you will be so occupied by the missions and challenges, this won’t matter. The developers did a good job on Pilot academy and overall, it is a great game.

Gameplay: 8
Graphics: 7
Presentation: 6
Lifespan: 9
Overall: 7.5
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