I have setup and played 4 games since yesterday. 3 full campaign and 1 historical Pearl Harbor.
In every single game the Japanese CVs sit NW of Pearl Harbor and rip its guts out for DAYS. They
sink well over half of anything in the harbor and destroy any land targets. I tried to send out
an "In Harms Way" TF of every cruiser and DD with a gun on it ... surface action in daylight where
about 90% of my shots miss and then his carriers blow the TF to dust bunnies THEN go on to attack
Pearl Harbor again. I know there is a major nerf on the Allies (I have yet to have a torpedo
plane in the Java/Philippines to ever hit something for weeks except cargo ships). I managed
to have a DD group ambush his AO squadron ripping them up but the AI could care less and spends
another day blowing the innards of Pearl. I have abandoned all the games as unplayable as their
seems to be no AI decision of withdrawing after the initial strike. I now have 11 total fighters
in Pearl and I cannot load any in San Francisco. Also the nerf of locking in all forces except by
marching overland so you cannot switch some ground troops to another HQ so I can at least put up
a fight on the Andaman Is. I cannot load US/Dutch/UK troops even when i spend the PP which the
rules say I can do for (R)HQs. I remember the nerfs from WITP other two versions but the AI on
Normal appears to be fanatical about destroying Pearl utterly. I just bought this but will
switch back to the non-Admirals version so I can at least get a start at something. Other players,
please don't tell me how great your games were as that is immaterial. Really a big waste of 2
days of gaming (I have been computer gaming since the 1981).
EDIT: I went to where my old non-admiral version was and i see this OVERWROTE that program. That
is just swell. You think it would have a different file. Now I get to rummage thru old boxes in
the garage to find my hard copy. That is just swell. 2 days wasted and another one tomorrow.
Take with a grain of salt what I say but CVs pounding PH for several days is quite bizarre. I have never played against AI, though.
Still. It's not the game being "unplayable", it's that you make mistakes or have wrong expectations.
A) TBs & co in the Philippines/DEI. Your only torpedo platforms are Catalinas and Vildebeests. Now, Catalinas begin with terrible pilots in NavT (they're PA, after all) and Vildebeests' guys ain't better. It's already quite a lot you have been able to hit multiple targets. Moreover, what do you expected? To kill outright the whole IJN with few, outdated, poorly manned aircraft?
Moreover, you do not specify which are your tactical settings in order to achieve results. Are you diligent in night/day NavS? Are your assets properly placed in AFs with sufficient air support, sufficient dimension and torpedoes loaded in HQ TOE? Leaders? etcetc.
Even with very good pilots (the onest starting on CVs TBs groups) Catalinas aren't a mass destruction weapon. Vildebeests are just cannon fodder if you do not have good pilots (ad you don't).
B) You cannot load troops in (R). I do not know where it is stated you can, if so, please provide the reference to the manual because it can be a confusing thing for beginners. Anyway, only unrestricted HQs enable troop to be embarked. Please note that HQs with the notation (R) are "restricted but not permanently", meaning that the units are restricted but they can become unrestricted paying proper PPs. The two extremes are HQs which are [R] ("permanently restricted", such as West Coast HQ [R]) and the ones with nothing noted ("unrestricted", such as the Southern Command HQ for Japan or Pacific Fleet for Allies).
No surprise you cannot load stuff.
Please note also that airlift is possible even for restricted units provided their destination target is a base under their restricted command. An example are Philipino troops which can be airlifted from, say, Manila to Mindanao even if they're permanently restricted.
C) Since you game since 1981 and you do not want experience shared by others, I won't add that maybe reading around in the forum and better understanding game mechanics is the key to comprehend what's happening in your game. 99% of the times, and that's my humble random estimation, reported "bugs" or "things not working" come from a poor understanding of game mechanics or wrong expectations.
The game has many flaws we all know. Nonetheless, it's a masterpiece and most of the stuff around on the map work properly.
Last, but not least: is the AI making something wrong, finally? Isn't the AI instead making something quite cool instead? It's nailing your stuff in PH and you are horrified by that: it's playing in a smart way, even if generally WITP AE isn't smart at all.
Good luck in the Pacific War if you decide to continue!