Heroes in the Sky Review
As far as free MMOs go, I can say I’ve dipped my feet into almost every genre - standard RPGs, beat-‘em-ups, and even some online racing. Heroes in the Sky was my first foray into a free combat-flight-sim-MMO, not that the sub-genre is in any danger of crowding. You decide to fight for the Allied or Axis powers in WWII, and unlike the avatars and aesthetic gear of other MMOs, your characters are the plethora of different planes from the WWII era that can be unlocked by playing through missions and leveling up.
The structure of Heroes in the Sky resembles Dungeon Fighter Online more than any other game. Quests are given through NPC’s, and then carried out through a level-appropriate lobby. At the start of every mission, you can also enlist the help of any friends, or just let anyone join.
Quite possibly the oddest section of the lobby is the Air Base. When there, the plane becomes the avatar and you’re able to essentially walk around as the plane you’re currently in. I didn’t quite understand the purpose of this, but other players can be seen wandering around as well, most likely making its purpose purely social.
The great thing about quests is that they switch up on you when you least expect it. For example: You’re given a task to patrol a certain area of airfields, when a fleet of enemy planes makes an uninvited appearance. A second playthrough of the same mission will still have you patrolling the airfields, but might unleash a band of Zeppelins for you to destroy. These on-the-fly objective changes make missions less predictable and more engaging.
Players wanting to take the dogfights to their peers, can battle it out in the PVP arenas. The PVP is a pretty standard affair, offering a team deathmatch or survival mode. Aspiring pilots and sim-enthusiasts need to be aware that the simulation aspect should be taken with a grain of salt. The controls feel much more “arcade-y” than realistic, which keeps the dogfights in gear, but at the cost of authenticity.
Since you don’t have a standard avatar, but rather a hangar full of planes, leveling up serves to unlock the production of gradually stronger fighter planes. Each plane can also has a set of upgrades that can be added, such as higher attack and defense values. Items acquired, including better guns, engines, propellers and more can be outfitted to increase performance.
One thing shared among all your planes are the skills. Skills are separated into four categories - Common, Fighter, Gunner and Bomber - multiple skill trees to fill up. Bonuses to defense when hit points drop below a certain percentage, or the ability to form a squadron with friendly NPCs are but two of the abilities that come in handy..
Being free to play means there is premium content for players to spend their real money on. Taking cues from other premium stores found in Nexon’s games, the items can be bought, (or rented rather) for a day, a week or a month, and provide bonuses like increased defense or attack, reduced cooldowns for secondary weapons, or just eye candy by slapping on a decal. Permanent aesthetic changes like different skins to further personalize the aircraft can also be found in the Premium store.
Being one of a few (if not the only) WWII combat flight MMO, I can recommend this to anyone who is willing to try something out of the norm of a standard, free MMO. Combat flight buffs who can overlook the arcade controls, will find a lot to love about Heroes in the Sky.