Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
Sept. 22nd 2004
Introduction:In Wings of War you get to take part in one of the most intriguing parts about WWI, the battles in the sky. From developer Silverwish and Gathering we have the chance to experience a little part of history in an updated form.
The Game:There are few reasons why you will be interested in Wings of War (WOW). You either love the time era of the game, you love flying games, or you just enjoy war games. Wings of War fits in nicely between those three aspects and provides an enjoyable experience. If you are looking for a hardcore flight simulation or Crimson Skies, you need to look somewhere else. Wings of War would be best described as a flying shooter set in tragic days of WWI.
Wings of War looks more like it would be a realistic flying experience, but it ends up sitting on the edge of being more arcade-ish than anything. It's not a bad thing that Wings plays more arcade-ish than a simulated experience. The game cover art and content might give people the wrong impression because they see old war planes and assume simulation. The planes are restricted in how they can move, and there are no crazy uber planes, but there still seems to be enough to give the player that old arcade standard feeling of control. The WOW planes features missiles, bombs and machine guns, as well as the ability to pick up power ups to boost various aspects of your fighter plane. I would have rather played Wings as a straight forward historical arcade flyer without the power-ups, radar and missiles. I think without all the technological impossibilities in Wings of War; it would have fit into a nice little place of its own.
Onto the game modes, Wings of War has two main modes of play; Instant Action and Campaign mode. In the Instant Action mode they give you basic deathmatch elements and let you go at it. You can change a few of the settings right down to weather conditions and amount of planes. Instant Action can be fun and it gives you a quick route if you just want to enjoy some classic dogfight action. Instant Action is the same principal as a multiplayer mode; it's too bad they couldn't have added Xbox Live into the equation.
The Campaign mode in Wings of War is reasonably challenging. I didn't really know what to expect with the story, but I was pleasantly surprised how well it plays over the twelve levels to experience. If anyone is counting, I didn't finish twelve levels of Wings, so if I miss something in this review I apologize. In this case I probably missed out on the best mission. number twelve.
The first few missions I did have the time to play through where extremely cool, although long. You defiantly get your moneys worth out of the mission content. despite all the other arcade elements. Your plane doesn't fly at Mach Speed! so you'll have to wait for the plane to reach an objective at times. Then if you add the speed of the plane which isn't always quick and add the huge maps each level, You will be spending a percentage of your time squandering in the sky.
In each mission you will also have opportunities to complete various side missions which will give you more time with the game; they are optional so you don't have to participate in them. The story element in Wings isn't strong and it seems like you're always jumping from objective to objective. The objectives are varied, so it keeps you interested without the addition overly dramatized storyline. I felt Wings of War didn't need an involved storyline, and it worked the way it was presented.
Graphics & Sound:Wings of War surprised me a bit with the graphics. Developer Silverwish really spent sometime adding beautiful details to the games enviroments; good weather effects; birds and other extra effects are an achievement and look great. The aircrafts are illustrated excellently and look just like the plastic models you used to recreate as a kid, or still enjoy to this day. Silverwish also made sure the planes look the part when they get hit and they slowly fall apart as the take damage. Not stopping there Wings archives another graphical accomplishment in the draw distance. You'll probably notice it when playing WOW which is a good thing, I hardly noticed any moments where the background faded from black to life.
In the audio department Wings pulls off another fine showing with some excellent voice acting work, as well as super airplane noises and effects. There isn't much else to note with Wings audio aspects, Wings of War is relatively quiet game and balances the audio positively.
Innovation:As you probably know by now, Wings of War isn't going to win any innovation awards in the gaming community, even though it has some nice little touches worth mentioning. I was really impressed with the variety of missions and the free roam style of the game, considering I mainly expected dogfight after dogfight. You will encounter dogfights and one vs. one air duels, but the cat's pajamas are the escort and bombing runs along with some timed elements. For some strange reason my favorite missions where included reconnaissance, where you fly in and take photographs of an area before you attack it, classic war strategy tactics at play.
Mojo:Arcade flight games don't come around too often, minus Microsoft's brilliant Crimson Skies. I was really pumped to gear into Wings of War and I wasn't disappointed. Sure there are things I would have changed, but on its own the mojo breaks through the clouds. WOW attains nice little tilt on the mojo for its graphical touches and old war inspired fighter planes.
Lowdown:Wings of War is a great game from a little developer which most people will pass up, but they shouldn't. I believe they where close to making a great game, but decided somewhere that they needed arcadish elements which spoiled the overall feeling. I would suggest renting Wings first unless you a war plane buff.
Gameplay: 7, Graphics/Sound: 7, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 6. Final: 6.5
- Guide the fate of a young pilot through fictionalized battles of WWI
- High speed, high impact, high-flying, arcade style, action-oriented gameplay
- 13 Huge maps set in a wide range of environments, featuring varying weather effects, seasonal changes and combat scenarios
- Free-form gameplay - play the role of a rogue air ace helping the troops on the ground or furthering your own agenda and prestige
- Play through over 70 intense missions, and discover bonus side quests along the way, including delivery of black market goods, assassinating enemy officers, raiding factories for equipment and much more
- Fight in the sky, or from fixed machine gun points in airfields, vehicles, balloon baskets, trains, and airships
- Take on challenges from other pilots including duels, dares, and stunts, to build your reputation
- Tons of hidden secrets will unlock hidden missions, and weapons to further your goals
- Top performance earns medals, which unlock new planes and a huge range of paint styles to customize your favorite fighter
- Find various power-ups for your plane(s) such as extra guns, speed boosts, armor, and rockets