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Air Buccaneers Review

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Platform – PC (multi player only 32 players)

For Odin! Valhalla! And Meed!

Now for those of you who were into PC gaming in 2004-2005, this name may sound familiar to you, as it was released as a Mod for one of the PC FPS greats Unreal Tournament 2004, when released in June of 2005 this game AirBuccaneers_Beta_Qwenland_1managed to get a modest following, for a mod, and also lit the fires under soon to be game developers Ludo Craft to remake this classic mod, but with Guns of Icarus also recent released, will this game get the same foot hold as before?

For those who are not familiar with this title, it is a multi player only team based game, it was recently released through Steam, using the new Steam Green light, you play as either Nordic Vikings or the Shamanistic Buccaneers in a open valley full of cliffs. You use air ships to get around, with players on deck using on-board cannons to fire at the opposing factions airships, with different size ships ranging from the Juggernaut fortress, your standard air ship and your speedy kamikaze ships, each allowing as many players on deck as you want. With one captain at the helm shouting voice commands to his ship mates, whilst others use cannons to shoot down oncoming enemy ships, repairing their own ship, or using various weaponry to halt other ships.

This game brings a fresher feel than most new games, but not a new IP as such as it is a mod that will be loved by older players of UT2004, but as it was when it was released it defiantly is something that has not been seen before, the team work needed with this game will have you on the edge of your seat, if you are AirBuccaneers_Beta_Kyria_3playing with your friends, many an hour screaming and laughing over strategy’s will be had, and when pulled off, will leave the opposite teams ships falling to the ground in flames, with there little crew members screaming on the way to the ground.

Graphics wise this game will never win any awards, for an indie title though it should be applauded for the level of detail they have managed, and something that I have missed from games for a while recently, COLOR! All the little characters have a very bulky feel, giving everything a feeling of weight, though when I first saw the game I had to play the game on low settings, now usually I hate this, but with this game it gave it a bit more character, the lower draw distance, and fog, gave it a very unpredictable feeling, which not knowing how many ships are out there, personally I liked playing it this way! Maybe different weather could be put into this game, to give it this kind of effect.

Now, if you have never played the original mod, your in for a very frustrating few hours with this game, the tutorial that is provided whilst will get you on a ship and shooting down other players, it does so once your already in AirBuccaneers_Beta_Kyria_1a match, which can cause some misunderstandings when your team mates are expecting you to fly and shout out where other ships are, I feel while this does get you into the action faster than most games, it would have been ideal to have some form of bots vs bots mode, to get you into the game a little more.

A Levelling up system has also been introduced over the mod, allowing you to pick perks and other equipment, Call of Duty style, leveling up separately though through vikings and buccaneers.

Of course the problem with the small tutorial that is provided, not everything is touched on, for example, when jumping on your hang glider to land on your ship, on your right hand side it shows a list of the current ships that have spawned, the tutorial forgets to mention how to even select these other ships, of course the fact that you have to choose the ship mid flight, means that frequently I have landed on the ship before I had the chance to chose what I wanted to land on! Again, I think the point is to get everyone moving, and into battle, to give the feeling of a fast paced game, but it ends up becoming irritating when I wanted to join my friends on their ship, instead I was thrown onto the one just passing by!

On the mention of ships, again something that is lacking is a description of what each of the shops does, only landing on the medium ship means the game leaves you to see what the others are like, the massive fortress ship for AirBuccaneers_Beta_Kyria_2example, took me a while to understand that all the cannons can only aim up, like AA guns, but most captains preferred to fly level with other ships, like the tutorial suggest, or the speedy little ship I spend many matches thinking it was supposed to be a scouting ship, or one used to lay down mines, I did not expect it to be a kamikaze ship! And before the lone wolves of  gaming get interested in this ship remember! it go’s against the premise of team work, only needing one to man the ship, but of course most lone wolfs are not the kind to take a suicide dive for the team, over racking up the kills.

Though it is never explained again how to pull off how to change your ships altitude, or how to shout out orders to your crew mates, how to select different firing methods from the cannons, or what your weapons are capable of doing, for a time I thought the air mine was just a hand held rocket, with very bad accuracy.

Once I had gotten the hang of this, I then found my 2nd problem, and one of the things that possibly has ruined this game for me so far. The ships design, in the middle of larger fights, you can have up to 6-7 ships in your view from the cannon at one time, but, they all look the same! Though there may be a slight color difference, vikings ships are a slight red color, and Buccaneers a slight blue, but in the middle of a large scale battle its so faint its just difficult to see, many AirBuccaneers_Beta_Kyria_4times I found myself firing upon a friendly ship expecting it to go down. I would like to say though that you do have a telescope, to check who is on-board of the ships, but when your moving around on your ship, it makes it very difficult when zoomed in 100% to get the other ships in view long enough to see who is currently manning It. Though if you are close enough to see if they are friend of foe, your able to board the other ship, and go hand to hand with them, and then you will find out that the melee combat in this game again pretty bad, it turns into both players running at each other, then backing away waiting for the swing to recharge, then running at each other again as it charges the swing up, not the sort of combat im sure was envisioned here. Most of these “problems” I’ve faced are of course personal judgement, but one I can not understand why the developers left out, was auto balance something that has been perfected for over 10 years now, on top of that you can switch between both sides freely as you want, whilst this is good for playing with friends, when one team gets the upper hand, many will just switch, and ride it out to victory, which leaves it feeling very hollow.

I hate to be negative on such a ambitious indie game, but it is juts one that is very rough around the edges, there are many people who will be quick to defend this game as well, though I do not know if this is because of fond memories of the mod and rose tinted glasses, or that they are genuinely enjoying the game in its current state. Though one of the biggest criticisms I have seen is the low player population, this made a review harder to write than most, without a offline mode with bots, I had to hop on a certain times when people in Europe were playing, though i’m sure this game will manage to pull this up and get a following just like the previous mod managed. This is a game that if done right, will make an amazing multi player experience, if you can look past the problems I have found so far, and have a few friends who want to join, get on your VOIP program of choice and you will have a night of laughs and a great game to play, I hope to revisit this game and enjoy a larger community.


Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.

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A teacher of computer Science, Daniel enjoys spending time gaming to relax when not in the classroom. Gaming over many generations, and enjoys classic style games more than recent AAA titles.

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