Jason takes to the skies in a blaze of glory
Thu, 8 June 2006
One type of games I normally steer clear of are flight Sims, as I have a nasty habit of losing track of the large flat solid object more commonly known as the ground and having a close meeting with it, usually at high speed resulting in a fiery mess. However Blazing Angels has a very arcade feel and, while being challenging, doesn't require a commercial pilot's license to play.
You start the game as a rookie pilot and after the obligatory training mission where you do all the things you would expect i.e.: taking off (the starting of the engine is a nice little detail, you rotate your right analogue stick to spin the propeller),making turns, shooting balloons and practicing bombing runs by dropping leaflets on a church. Eventually you will progress to an air ace in command of your own squadron, although from personal experience your wingmen always seem to disappear as soon as the bullets start to fly.
You may have noticed I haven't commented on landing your plane, as I have yet to encounter a mission that requires you to land. Possibly the game subscribes to the school of thought that if you do actually manage to get one of these crates off the ground, very shortly you will be sitting astride a flaming chariot of death, thus foregoing the need for learning how to land.
|The calm before the storm |
The controls are sweet, the developers have managed to take something on the difficult side (i.e.: flying a plane) and make it so even a ham-fisted controller masher like myself can make it appear as though he actually knows what he's doing. The left analogue stick controls your steering (up, down, left and right turns) while the right stick controls your speed and rolling left and right, the right trigger is your machine guns and before you jump to the conclusion that the left trigger is for bombs its not, bombs and torpedoes are dropped with a click of the right stick. The left trigger controls possibly the greatest innovation in the history of flight sims, a follow cam, by holding said trigger the camera will lock onto your chosen target and stick to it like; well...really sticky stuff. Never again will you make a pass in a dogfight and then spend the next 10 minutes lining up for another run. In fact, with a combination of the follow cam and braking and accelerating you can pull off maneuvers that would make the red baron spin in his grave.
Graphics, well the game has them, as all games do; one mission involves the battle of Brittan and from my complete lack of anything resembling knowledge of the geography of England it's a very decent representation with a big tower, a bridge and some other large buildings all rendered in the highest possible detail most of witch you wont notice unless you have a close encounter of the ground kind. But seriously though, this game looks awesome with a very cinematic feel at times really drawing you in.
Sound-wise everything is ok, planes make plane noises, and all the weaponry sounds suitably destructive. However, the music is a bit of a letdown - with the developers trying a bit too hard to expand the cinematic feel with orchestral filler music. My suggestion is to turn the in game music down, throw some tunes on your 360 and listen to whatever the hell you like.
At some point you're probably going to get bored with the main campaign, so its just as well the developers have thought to include a fairly sizeable assortment of other play modes. There's a basic arcade mode with the "keep killin' till yer dead" approach, or you can have a one on one duel with a fighter ace. Bored with that? Then grab a mate for some multiplayer fun. There are more modes than you can poke a propeller at and if you haven got any mates(or at least any that like flight sims), then challenge the world to a dogfight on Xbox live.
|Pearl Harbor sucks, and I miss you |
Overall Blazing Angels is a fun game (isn't this why we play games in the first place) that will probably offend flight sim purists for being too "arcadey". Well, to hell with them and, given the choice at the moment, you can either take it or leave it. For the rest of us, it's a solid gaming experience sure to provide hours of entertainment.
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