video of me doing one of the extreme time trials in this game:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzOpNE7_YK0
Take On Helicopters has similar strengths and weaknesses to the ARMA series, only more so. It tries to bridge the gap between simulators and conventional video games, which it does with some success. There are few niche games like this, so it is good when one shows up, even if it is not perfect. It reminds me a bit of SimCopter from 1996.
Realism and flight physics are very good but not perfect. There is a start-up procedure, but it is simplified. There is no autopilot but there is an optional auto-hover helper. The controls have the same kind of problems as in ARMA, and I had to spend a long time tweaking them. Unlike most sims, you control a human as you would in any shooter game, who in turn can board and pilot helicopters realistically.
There is a career mode that has interesting missions and a decent believable story. It takes 10-15 hours but I wish it was longer. There is also a small management aspect - you can buy new equipment, inspect your helicopter, and pay for maintenance to prevent breakdowns. While the voice acting is good, it does have a low-budget / mod feel with crude character animations etc. And as with ARMA, some missions were a bit difficult, and had unreliable scripting, forcing me to retry a few times. Overall, I still enjoyed it.
Then there are the more challenging time trials, where you have to fly as fast as you can through virtual hoops placed between buildings and under bridges etc. The courses range from moderate to insane - these are awesome, but require you to have mastered the helicopter controls . They are probably the most intense and challenging races I have tried in any game, partly thanks to the additional vertical dimension - car racing games are so 2-dimensional by comparison (pun intended).
Contrary to what most say, the graphics look good and I get a decent 60 fps with only ocasional slowdowns to 40 fps (with an i5-4570 and overclocked GTX660). The Seattle environment is detailed and beautiful. I did have to carefully tweak the video settings though. My youtube video stutters a bit but that is just youtube, the game was smooth.
Sadly multiplayer does not work, due to the gamespy server shutdown. While you can just about play with a keyboard or controller, you really do need a '3-axis + thruster' joystick (about $30).
Despite its flaws, I would strongly recommend this to mature patient gamers willing to try a flight sim.