If you're looking for a cheap, fun, exciting game that will keep you interested for a while, choose another game.
I'm one of those people who has to finish every game they own. This is a problem I will soon take care of when I finally get rid of this game. There are very few games I have no desire to finish, and even fewer are the games I very little desire to play ever again, other than to remind myself why I don't want to play this game ever again. "Combat Zones" is one of those games.
Okay, so maybe it's not the worst game ever. It's not. I haven't found a game yet I've hated so much it can be called the worst game ever, but if there was a short list, and I had to narrow it down from there, Combat Zones would be on it. The frustration level of this game is unlike any other. This frustration does not come from the game's difficulty, but rather all those moments you think to yourself "is this over yet?" It's not that it's even a bad game. It's mediocre. And that's the problem. Every aspect of this game is mediocre. In short, it's boring. Very boring.
This is one of those games which makes you feel as if you should be doing something productive, like "there are so many things I could be doing with my life right now that do not include this game". This game gives you that terrible "I've been sitting on this couch for the past three days doing nothing but playing video games and eating chips and drinking root beer" feeling, not long after the first mission.
Now that I have my rant out of the way (and I tried to keep it to a minimum) I shall begin with the good. The graphics are generally okay. Just as everything else in this game is "okay," but again, that's the problem. While the graphics are alright, they're so bland it just adds to the problem of how boring the gameplay is. The explosions look rather realistic most of the time, but it's just not enough to get you excited, especially after you just spent ten minutes trying to find your target; you deserve a little more compensation than the lackluster effects you are offered most of the time.
The controls are...realistic, I guess. I don't know. I'm not a real pilot. Which is exactly why the game's controls suck. No one playing this game is a pilot! If they were, they would certainly never be playing this game for fun because they would know real flying isn't this boring. *The biggest flaw in this game is the Air-to-Ground combat* The plane's controls feel like you're trying to drive a car in neutral. Hitting targets on ground level is extremely difficult to do, and nearly impossible to pull off without taking heavy damage. Your plane's nose barely angles down at all so you end up having to fly about 20 feet about ground just to hit ground targets, because you certainly don't have enough bombs. flying this low is a real problem because your plane doesn't pull up any better than it dives, so you end up getting very few hits in while you take a serious beating from the enemy. This is unbelievably annoying and frustrating during the required training missions during which almost all of your targets are tanks, turrets and buildings. This almost turned me away from the game immediately, but I persevered, knowing that I paid 8 bucks for this game used, and it has to get better. And it does, but the difference goes almost unnoticed, because you still have to suffer through the controls and finding the enemy most times is almost impossible.
When the enemy isn't on the ground, good luck finding them in the air. The radar tells you their direction in relation to your ship, but you have no way of knowing at which altitude they are flying. This means you may spend up to ten minutes or maybe even more trying to find one enemy plane.
Finally, we come to the music, which, in many cases, is one of the most important element of any game for me, as a music major. Again, it's not entirely *bad*, but it's just okay. It's the same cheezy guitar crap from any kind of flight simulation game, only this time it gets *really* annoying after spending half an hour trying to complete a mission because you can't find your enemy and you can't hit your ground targets. You will learn to hate this music after about an hour of this game, but, hopefully you won't be playing it for that long.
Synopsis: This game is boring. Straight-up, that's all there is to it. If the controls don't get you frustrated, then trying to find a single enemy plane for ten minutes while the same rock guitar riff plays a hundred times in the background may very well drive you insane. And that's all there is to this game. Go shoot stuff. If you can find it. And good luck hitting anything on the ground. On top of all of this there is *no two player mode!* What kind of idiotic company makes a flight combat game in which you can't battle your friends. I guess it's just that bad. Who would want to? If you own this game, then you probably know what I'm talking about and chances are you've already sold it.