Commander Kieran Sephton on Deck!
Codename: Vector Thrust
Location: Top Secret
Alright pilots, you’ve been selected as the elite required to form the basis of operation codename ‘Vector Thrust’. The information being released to you is on a need to know basis and marked eyes only. Any perpetrators from this and spies will be shot, so if this is any of you likely lot, then make yourself known now. Anybody? No, good… We shall begin…
Vector Thrust is a cel-shaded, fast jet combat simulator in the same arcade style as the Ace Combat games and Ubisoft’s counterpart in the HAWX series. It’s currently sat in Alpha and released through Steam’s Early Access feature currently priced at a measly £10.99, which for a game that is as much fun as this, is really quite the bargain – especially when you’ve the rest of the game to look forward to as its being developed and released.
Donning a G-Suit and strapping yourself into any one of the multitude of jets available, you enter the short, fast-paced campaign missions, quick action scenarios, survival and skirmish modes, and it’s easy enough and not long before you find yourself thrown into the midst of aerial warfare. The jets in this game are a mixture of original designs and models based around various real life aircraft, ranging from Fairchild Republic’s A10 “Warthog” Thunderbolt II ground attack aircraft to Grumman’s F14 Tomcat Naval Fighter. If fighting over who gets to be Maverick and Ice Man is your thing then Vector Thrust will be allowing you to do this once the Multiplayer is added too.
These jet models in the cel shaded graphic style are really quite impressive to look at with high levels of detail, and close resemblance to their real life counterparts, and alongside the games own arcade style designs these true-to-life models keep in style with the rest of the game. Some textures appear to be missing from the game with the likelihood of cockpits from aircraft being added. For instance, entering the cockpit view of the F16 Fighting Falcon there was the basic resemblance and shapes of buttons of the F16’s control panel, but again this game is still in alpha and may well be added with later patches. Like most games of this nature there is a progression in weaponry and aircraft to unlock, each mission adding currency to your name and enabling you to buy the next best aircraft or saving for the one you think looks the best.
Using a gamepad with Vector Thrust is probably your best bet with an intuitive and easy control scheme to master, but playing with mouse and keyboard is still an option and veteran War Thunder players may find this easier than I did. If you’re like me then you’ll be happier with a gamepad between your hands, or perhaps long for flight stick support.
Learning how to optimise the use of these controls is another aspect of this game that makes it thoroughly enjoyable in this stage of release. Fighting the AI enemy is easy enough to figure out in earlier stages of the two campaigns, but actually mastering these controls once the AI “Aces” come out to play really is something that separates the Mavericks from the Icemen. Learning to utilise all control surfaces of each aircraft in order to maintain the upper hand over the AI in this game is part of what makes it so much fun. It’s one thing firing missiles at your opponent from two to five thousand metres away, but tight turn dogfights using nothing but cannons at short ranges really up the pace and excitement level found in Vector Thrust.
There are a few negatives found in this stage of development and release of Vector Thrust, but really they’re small things that I hope will be updated with time and further development. The music is a little lacklustre and a touch repetitive and at times, quite frankly out of place. Mixing from orchestral influenced tracks to stereotypical arcade type soundtracks and oddly, 90’s trance/dance music on each successfully completed mission. This can be solved by adding your own music to accompany you in logging more hours of flight time.
Some aspects of the games sound effects could do with a little more attention to make them more visceral and perhaps realistic. Vector Thrust really does have a lot going for it though, and is certainly a game that I will keep coming back to each time I see it updating, not only because I’m a huge fan of aviation and combat Sims, but truly because this is a thoroughly enjoyable title.
So, pilots, to sum up this briefing session, Vector Thrust is something that is to be taken very seriously. There’s a lot of potential to be found within this, and the question is, will you have a dog in this fight?
If you follow my recommendations on your service within operation, then you’re to report to your flight leads immediately. I expect to see you at your stations shortly.
Briefing Over, I shall see you in the skies.