Damage Inc.: Pacific Squadron WWII, by Mad Catz, 2012, $49.99 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows/PC)
Damage Inc. is a flight combat game featuring multiple variations of 32 U.S. and Japanese historical aircraft, including fighters, dive-bombers, torpedo bombers, bombers and seaplanes. You’ll dogfight your way through the major battles of the Pacific Theater, from Pearl Harbor to Iwo Jima, upgrading your plane as you progress. But while the planes themselves look great—accurate handling and design, aside from nitpicky issues with insignias—the set was given short shrift. From a distance the historically modeled locations, such as Taroa Island, look amazing, but fly in close and the buildings and landscape become pixelated and indistinct.
Single-player gameplay is a mixed bag. Dogfighting and bombing are a thrill, but you may be sent on tedious recon sorties—made even more tedious by the poor graphics. You’ll also be forced to carry out some insane orders. And you’ll turn up a few historical howlers (guys, the Air Force did not yet exist in 1941), which hurt the authenticity of the experience.
That said, the game is fun to play, particularly when matched against other players online. A collector’s edition comes bundled with Saitek’s Pacific AV8R FlightStick, and you can purchase a downloadable content pack of additional planes ($11.99).