Helicopters are complex, unwieldy machines. In games, their difficulties are either flat-out ignored (Twin Cobra) or make for one of the steepest learning curves you’ll ever face (Battlefield 2). Under Defeat is a balancing act that exists between these two extremes. It controls unlike any other shoot-em-up on consoles, but that may not be a good thing, depending on your preference.
Getting used to Under Defeat’s controls is both the game's blessing and curse. Learning to control the helicopter can be exhilarating or frustrating, depending on circumstances. The original offered two control options, one where going left or right would angle you toward that direction and another option that would angle you away from that direction (allowing for quick return fire). I never felt comfortable with either but I eventually settled on angling toward the direction I’m going since A) it’s what the top scoring players on YouTube do and B) it’s called “Normal”.
The problem with this entire system is that it requires absolute control that the PlayStation 3’s thumbstick can’t provide. There is an option to increase sensitivity but none to decrease. Go figure. I became adept enough to reach the final boss on Normal difficulty, but I never became comfortable. I imagine the game feels much better with a good arcade stick. It’s as if cult favorite shmup developer G.Rev knew this because it included a new dual stick control option for this HD update. This makes moving and firing a breeze to the extent that it takes away the main appeal of the game: overcoming the unwieldy nature of the helicopter.
The dual stick controls have another major pitfall through the game’s options. Options, as in those little robots that hover around your ship and automatically fire at enemies (NOT settings). There are no upgrades in Under Defeat and the only pick-ups are options that come in three varieties: vulcan (fast, weak), bomb (slow, strong), and cannon (between the two; my favorite). Your option will only be used temporarily and you can only summon it by not firing, letting a meter fill up. There is a cooldown period after use, which is barely noticeable with the vulcan but a death trap with the bomb.
THE VERDICT - Under Defeat HD
Reviewed by Allistair Pinsof
|6:00 PM on 08.22.2012|
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