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Posted on Oct 18, 2011 in Electronic Games

Take On Helicopters – PC Game Preview

By Rod White

Take On Helicopters. PC Game Preview. Publisher: Bohemia Interactive. Developer: Bohemia Interactive.

The golden age of PC flight simulations has been here and gone already, and the selection of flight simulations for the PC today is so slim that it’s almost nonexistent as a category anymore. However the guys behind the Arma series, Bohemia Interactive, are hoping to change that with a new unique PC flight simulation offering in Take On Helicopters.

I must admit the name alone is a little odd, but as one might imagine the focus of this simulation is to master various rotor-driven aircraft. To preview Take On I’ve been poking around with a pre-release beta version and what I’m seeing is intriguing.


Visually speaking it looks like a tweaked version of the Arma II engine at work under the hood, which isn’t a bad thing. There are lots of visual bells and whistles too, so if you just blew a few hundred bucks on a new PCIe graphics card Take On Helicopters will no doubt help showcase some of its capabilities.

The water looks amazing, better than I remember the water in Arma II. Panning around the cockpit reveals some impressive dash gauge detail, plus an impressively rendered copilot even. The choppers also look the part, right down to the rivets on a Huey. You can even step out of the aircraft to do a visual pre-flight check of the airframe before takeoff as well in a first-person mode.

The texture detail as you get close to the ground leaves a lot to be desired, and while Seattle was pretty impressive in how they modeled it in scope… the textures and models within the city feel more hand-drawn and less photo-realistic. However there is random traffic to be seen on the ground, which I thought was a nice touch. Again this is a beta I’m looking at, so the finished product may be more polished upon release.

Gameplay-wise it reminds me of the old Flight Unlimited series of PC flight simulations from the mid-90s, because you can take on a variety of civilian aviation tasks or missions. Although there is one mission where you are armed with guns in what appears to be an AH-6 LittleBird, Take On Helicopters is focused almost exclusively on the civilian side of what these birds can do. The missions were limited in this prerelease version, but I was able to attempt sling loading above the docks in Seattle and taking on the role of private military contractor as well.

Again very much like Flight Unlimited you can fly through checkpoints rings and up, over and around objects, competing in time trails, takeoff and landing, etc. You can also just free fly around and check out the scenery they’ve provided and joyride all you like – very much like you can in the MS Flight Simulator products.

There will also be a story-driven career mode, which will allow players to take on the role of one of the son’s from the real world Larkin Aviation. Multiplayer modes will also be provided for competitive and co-op play, and a mission editor promises some longevity for Take On Helicopters.

Make no mistake about it, this isn’t going to be a casual flight game, it is a simulation, because like actual helicopters, the choppers modeled in this game are just as difficult to fly. I can’t say the flight modeling is spot on exact, as I wasn’t able to pull off any auto rotations. But overall in the beta at least the flight modeling appeared for the most part quite believable, which is what counts. After all choppers are inherently unstable platforms for flight to begin with, and in Take On Helicopters you definitely get that same impression.

In the realism department the hardcore flight simulation enthusiast can go through the entire pre-flight checklist and start up a chopper manually, or you can use the Auto Start feature to get through it quicker. I tend to prefer the later myself. The interface seems intuitive and clean, and there’s also some impressive hands-on training missions provided to get the hang of things.


Take On Helicopters takes off October 27th, 2011, so we aren’t far off from seeing how the final product stacks up. As a pre-release beta it’s quite promising. Considering there aren’t really many other flight simulation options to choose from, Take On Helicopters may be the only PC flight simulation to check out this holiday season. I know I look forward to seeing how the final build turns out.