Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Putting the fun back into WW2 flight sims

I had been looking for a long time for an easy to control not so simulation focused WW2 fighting game that would let me relive the fun that Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain gave me back in the day. Remember that oldie but goody by Lucasarts Games? Well I think I have found that title in the Slitherine game Air Strike Eagles of World War 2. Now don't get me wrong here. This is a straight up arcade flight simulation game. Let me explain my wants and needs. First off I couldn't hack IL-2 Sturmovik. I can't hack Wings of Prey. My flightstick is nice but those games were boring as hell to me. They look nice but they were not fun. At least not for me. I wanted the sky filled with planes, I wanted dogfighting, multiple planes and the ability to bomb things. Most of all I wanted it easy to control. I don't need 40 views out of the cockpit, I don't give a rats ass about my instruments. I don't want to fly around in formation for 20 minutes looking for one thing to bomb. I just want to load up the game, jump in a plane and duke it out.

Skeptical at first I tried the demo to Air Strike. Recently I had been burned on some really bad flight sim games I will never touch again. 10 minutes with the demo and I was already ordering the game off the site. Not only is it fun and easy to control even with a mouse and keyboard it had variable missions and a good amount of planes to choose from. Future expansion packs will add on campaigns and missions. The best part was you could upload your pilot's stats to the Slitherine servers and compare yourself with other pilots.

I haven't tested the multiplayer yet I have just been doing single player missions to get used to it on ROOKIE mode. I have liked the diversity of missions on the RAF side so far which have included things like Dunkirk and patrolling the English Channel. One nice feature is that if you blow a mission the story continues. You gain ranks as you go through the war and the stories jive closely to real timeline events. You can fly bombers too. The interface is simple. W looks behind you, A and D look left or right and S is the bomber sights which look straight down. No complex controls no 40 page reference key card just plain fun.

I have taken some video of the game and I will embed it below so you can see how it looks for a night mission where you get to shoot out spotlights and protect some bombers. Keep in mind this is on the easiest level of the game so things like colliding and all that stuff are turned way down. Enjoy. Check out the game if you want to relive the fun glory days of action flight sims and not feel like you need to go to class to accomplish anything.