Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII -- Game Impressions
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 3rd Sep 2012
In addition to being a fun play and a wicked romp through a histrionic era, Damage Inc. is also a game that rewards the player for being clever, for their ability to evaluate a situation and devise their own strategy for resolving it, and offers the player a number of alternative approaches to accomplish victory -- but if you find yourself having trouble with a mission in the game, or with a specific challenge, remember that you can slow down time and give yourself a decided edge over the enemy by simply activating the "Reflex Mode" of the game.
Another tip that you will find incredibly useful is understanding the targeting assistance system that has been built into the game. When you are playing with the gamepad configuration set to "Arcade Control" the 'A' and 'B' buttons are how you access Targeting Assistance, while playing the game with the Gamepad in "Simulation Control" mode has those set to the 'X' and 'Y' Buttons. So when you want the game to show you the next Objective Target you tap 'A' or 'Y' -- when you desire the game to target the closest Objective Target, you hold down the 'A' or 'Y' button so that it locks on to it. When you want to lock on to the Next Target you tap the 'B' or 'X' button, and when you want it to lock on to the Closest Target you hold those buttons down. This is really important when you need to differentiate between enemy aircraft you need to thin out and the objective targets that are part of the mission, just saying...
The Campaign Story
The distinction should be made and understood that there is no real difference in the game between the campaign story mode for single-player or co-op multi-player play. If you are doing the campaign story mode regardless of whether you are alone or playing with a friend (or friends) you are flying the same missions, targeting the same objectives, and performing the same optional additional goals in both instances.
The story begins with the first unofficial training mission in which you will be acclimated to the basic controls and flying combat, and then you jump right into the action with the Japanese attack; as history requires it, you move along the path that the Japanese took as they island hopped through the region of the South Pacific, trying to take strategic targets and largely succeeding in their efforts. Your job is to jump into critical roles in those locations, roles that no one man did or could have played, but through the magic of video gaming, you get to experience. Cool that.
While it may not seem important when you first play each of the missions, the assignment of the aircraft for the early missions (basically the pre-customization missions in which you have to fly what the game gives you rather than what you want to fly) will massively influence how well you do, how long each mission takes, and whether or not you are able to complete any optional quest elements.
Remember that in addition to being goal-oriented, many of the missions in the game as well as specific key events within the missions are time-limited; you need to accomplish the set goals before units on the ground are overrun, captured, or destroyed. That being the case you should expect to need to return to some of the missions later for partial replays of the game in order to unlock every aspect and in particular all of the medals, which are awarded for completing the optional events.
Each mission is usually constructed from a number of complementary quests that are strung together to form the mission, so you may easily find yourself repeating some of the same types of quests as part of a mission that you did in the previous mission, but be assured that they are not the exact same quest, under the exact same conditions and requirements, because hey, that would be lame.
Upon completing each set of quests that make up each of the numbered missions above, your character will be awarded a set number of Upgrade Points as part of the reward for having succeeded in completing them. Additional Upgrade Points will be awarded for completing any of the optional objectives, and the higher the difficulty the more points your character will earn. You use the Upgrade Points to unlock more advanced versions of the different planes you unlock for completing each of the missions.
While victory is its own reward in playing the game, one of the regular rewards you will be receiving as you complete each of the missions is unlocking new aircraft -- both Allied aircraft and Enemy aircraft -- as well as special medals for accomplishing specific miss-able tasks.
The collection of Medals that you can unlock includes the Air Medal, Marine Corps Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Navy Cross, and others, mostly for a mixture of primary and secondary achievements like protecting the hospital from attack during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, disrupting the supply transports trying to reach Taroa, protecting JFK's PT Boat during the Taroa invasion, and more mundane but no less valiant efforts such as intercepting enemy planes attempting to flee from the engagement when you attack the enemy stronghold and airfield, and protecting a damaged plane over Guadalcanal -- basically for completing actions much like what the medals were actually given for, including heroism and risking your life above and beyond the call of duty.
While the medals are awarded for secondary or special actions that are not necessarily a part of the regular mission criteria, this offers gamers a bit of extra kudos and recognition for doing better than average and for listening to the hints that the radio controller will give you as you play -- he actually clues you in when something unique is in the offing, you just have to pay attention to what he is saying. If you are concerned that you may have missed an opportunity to obtain one of the medals you can easily find the mission in which you may have missed that opportunity by looking at the mission briefings on the mission menu, under the final info line, which reads "Bonus Objective" which will either say "Complete" or "Incomplete."
Bearing in mind that to upgrade the planes that you have already unlocked you need to use Upgrade Points, which you obtain by completing a mission successfully. You also obtain bonus Upgrade Points by completing the optional objectives, which is why you are going to want to do them, as otherwise you are unlikely to have sufficient points with which to obtain all of the versions.
Achievements / Trophies in the game are divided into three basic categories -- Story-based that every gamer who plays through to the end of the game will unlock in the process, optional special action Achievements and Trophies that the player has to perform a specific and special task to unlock, and finally the online Co-Op and Multi-Player PvP Achievements and Trophies. Of the latter a few are actually connected to playing the game's campaign with friends online, which was unexpected and is rather cool, but most of them are awarded for playing the multi-player and PvP missions.
I am not going to weigh-in on the goodness or badness of online Achievements and Trophies. I know that there is a large segment of the gamer community that does not like them, and an even larger segment that does not seem to care either way, but at least there is nothing to dislike with respect to the single-player side, as there are not too many in that collection gamers will not unlock simply by playing the game.