In the campaign mode, you pilot a Russian Mi-24 hind as you traverse four locations around the world in a variety of missions, consisting of different objectives. The missions themselves are fairly short to begin with, but become gradually more complex and lengthy as you progress. During one mission, you get to escape your cockpit and enter the side gunner position, decimating a town full of enemies. Circling around the town, pulverising enemy troops situated on the rooftop, became the biggest highlight- the only one. It plucked me from a combat simulator, straight into an Apocalypse Now type action sequence.
Selecting Instant Mission will throw you straight into the action. The list of missions contains various scenarios that range from recapturing cities, to straight up air battles. Once completed, your score gets added to the leader board, which is the only real incentive to return. There is an option to change the time of day and it does pose a little extra challenge, especially in the night when the enemies are harder to locate.
Before entering missions, you first must set up your helicopters loadout. You can change the type of helicopter and the camouflage, as well as your equipped weapons. Here you will have three different slots. It’s great when you enter a mission with the right combination of guided missiles, heavy turret and rockets, but when your decisions are wrong it leaves you stranded. I entered a mission that required me to destroy enemy buildings. It displayed a mission brief, but it never provided me with any default weapons choices, or even recommendation that would aid me. You also must watch the amount of ammo you use. During each mission, you’ll only be allowed to have a certain amount of reloads. If you run out of ammo for one weapon and reload, it will count as one full reloads used across all weapons. That means you must be careful how you use your ammo you use, because once you run out, mission over.
While in the air, you can choose between numerous camera angles, which can make it easier for you to aim your turrets towards the enemy. These can helpful, especially if you’re in a sticky situation and need a different angle to see who exactly is firing at you. One angle takes you into a grey scale view, which is great for getting a closer and more accurate shot, but when I played an Instant Mission in the night, it completely cancelled itself out, with no night vision setting to be seen.
PC ports are fairly frequent, and while most of the time they can be ported over without any issues, Air Missions: HIND certainly does not succeed (on the menu screen you can actually see the mouse cursor). Usually with PC combat simulators the best way to control the vehicle is to use a joystick, unfortunately I feel that 3Division just transferred those controls and mapped them to a controller without any thought. Something as simple as taking off became incredibly irritating, because the prompt screen didn’t tally with the action needed.
Once you’re up in the air (twenty minutes later for myself) the controls don’t get much easier. I first tried to use the default settings that were provided, but again you’re left with awkward controls. These can be manageable in a peaceful environment, but when the pace is switched up, the aiming reticule can’t keep up with the camera, meaning you have to wait for it all to adjust itself whilst you’re bombarded by gun fire. The game allows you to change the controls so you can map them to your preference, which does indeed make the game easier to control, but it doesn’t stop the other issues from occurring.
When entering a combat simulator, I want immersion. I want to see a hectic gun battle in a rich environment that has constant movement. What I get from Air Missions: HIND is the complete opposite. Its bland, the mission landscapes look plain, the cities look like a grey concrete mess. It’s all very stagnant; when being attacked enemies won’t try to move into cover, groups won’t disperse when they come under fire, so there just left sitting ducks for your rockets. I was left disappointed by the sheer lack of audio as well. A part of military games is the constant chatter, that will keep the on a constant feed, but with Air Missions: HIND there is nothing. A dialogue will appear at the start of the mission, and then once you’re completed. During a gunfight, I was expecting to be given an update on positions of the enemies, or just a general indication how the battle was going.
There is a multiplayer option that allows you to compete against others in the usual game mode. These are good with friends, but finding a game myself was very difficult. The best way to play Air Missions: HIND is through the co-op missions, as you and a friend take on the campaign together.