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Posted on Mar 5, 2007 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Air Assault Task Force – Game Review (PC)

By Larry Levandowski

Passed Inspection: Fun, detailed, tactical simulation of helicopter assault operations.

Failed Basic: Graphics and sound are functional but archaic by industry standards. Some AI and interface issues can be frustrating.

Hollywood has definitely paid tribute to helicopter borne infantry attack. Apocalypse Now, We Were Soldiers and Black Hawk Down have given us unforgettable images of the "new cavalry." The game industry, on the other hand, has been less generous. However, with Air Assault Task Force (AATF) developed by the ProSIM Company and published by Shrapnel Games, this gap in our choice of games is filled very nicely. Air Assault is a great way for players to experience some of the danger and challenges of conducting an air assault without actually participating in the real thing. The game has a strong professional military pedigree, making it just as much a command simulation as it is a war game. This might seem a steep slope to climb for those without military experience, but once the player becomes familiar with the concepts, they will start to wonder why more war games aren’t designed this way.


Air Assault plays in real time using real world military topographic maps, symbols, organization, weapons, and tactics. The game supports both single player against the AI and online play against other armchair warriors. The game is tactical, with the basic unit being one helicopter, or one infantry fire team. Units are equipped with realistically modeled weapon systems like the M60 light machine gun, or M203 grenade launcher. The interface is well suited for managing combat up to the battalion level.

In terms of campaigns, AATF ships with four; Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam, Somalia, Operation Anaconda, and a hypothetical training campaign. The player may also run the individual scenarios as stand-alone games. All of the campaigns are real-world examples of the power of air cavalry. The player in the US commander’s shoes directs air assault, artillery, light ground, and tactical air support forces against insurgents. Everything from grenade launchers to B-52 strikes are available. Gameplay can be very exciting as the player tries to meet military objectives while coordinating the combined arms symphony against a deadly enemy. Curiously however, the player is not given the option to play the defending forces-except in on-line multi-player mode. Also, while these scenarios represent historic use of air mobile infantry, they only represent unconventional conflicts. A nice touch would have been a hypothetical scenario in a full-blown conventional war; NATO vs. the Warsaw Pact, 1985 for example.

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