|System: PS3, X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Romania||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 4, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by D'Marcus Beatty
May 24, 2007 - What is more fun than being a pilot? Being a secret pilot on secret mission for the government, fighting in battles that can turn the tide of the war, all without recognition or fame. Well, that might not be so fun, but hopefully a game based on that idea will be. We'll definitely see soon when Ubisoft releases Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII.
One of the things that the developers were looking for in this sequel was to create fun situations to play through. In the interest of making the gameplay fun, the developers choose to ignore historical accuracy and create a scenario of secret, off the record missions that occurred during World War II. They even went as far as keeping most of the weaponry and planes accurate, but including some prototypical planes that were never created but were considered during this time period. Because of this approach, the developers were free to make an experience that was fun and imaginative, and not just another standard, historically accurate WWII game.
The missions and scenarios are varied enough to keep the gameplay fresh. One mission that I observed had the pilot attempting to shoot down as many parachuting reinforcements as possible. Another charged the player with flying close enough to a train to allow a female spy to infiltrate it, and required a few seconds of steadily following the train. Another had the player avoiding searchlights while attack enemy planes. If these few missions are any indication of the variety, then Secret Missions of WWII shouldn't be a dull experience.
In each mission, the player earns points for accomplishments like completing goals and destroying enemy planes. At the mission's end, these points can be used to buy upgrades for your plane. These upgrades include things like longer barrels that increase your range effectiveness, a gunsight that tells you where to aim your lead shot to effectively hit foes, and new fuel that increase your maneuverability.
It would be difficult to try and tackle these goals alone, but gamers won't have to worry about that. Secret Missions of WWII provides you with wingmen to aid you in completing each task. The number of wingmen that you have from mission to mission varies, as do the wingmen. Different wingmen have different personalities, as is evidenced by their in game dialogue, but each wingman also has a distinct talent too. One wingman showcased the ability to taunt the enemy, focusing their attention and fire on him, while another had some type of electrical weapon (definitely not standard WWII weaponry) that decimated foes. You can give orders to your wingmen, telling them to attack, defend, or use their special weapons by pressing a direction on the control pad, and from what I observed, your wingmen definitely come in handy and can mean the difference between life and death.
The controls are pretty sharp, but definitely take some getting used to. One nice addition is the ability to center your camera on a particular foe and aim your plane at them, sort of a variation on the lock-on. This will probably come in handy, as it is easy to lose your bearing in the various air battles.
The visuals in the game looked pretty good, especially the ground and towns that we buzzed. The draw distance is impressive, especially when you're relatively low to the ground and the land stretches out around you. The game promises to have varied locations, including Paris, Moscow, Cairo, and even the Himalayas, so hopefully all of these stages will look as good as the ones I witnessed.
Secret Missions of WWII also promises multiplayer online gaming. The possible game modes includes free for all, Capture the Flag, and Epic Battles. Epic Battle is a particularly interesting addition that has players fighting large scale battles to conquer bases, destroy objectives, and basically push the opponents back. Ubisoft has also promised server migration that will keep the games flowing smoothly.
Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII looks like it could be a good gaming experience, especially for fans of the flying genre. The game brings a fresh look to the WWII game, and hopefully its varied scenarios, pretty visuals, and unique multiplayer will create a great game. The secret will be out this August.
CCC Co-Site Director