|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: Nov. 6, 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
What if the government sanctioned assorted black ops missions throughout the history of our nation? What if the government always had access to technology far beyond what the average citizen can comprehend? What if, during each war, the government sends out secret teams of individuals to accomplish missions that will not be recorded by the history books? While there are a vast number of individuals that believe the previous questions are all answerable with "They do/did", Ubisoft took this idea a step further than general mistrust of the bureaucracy in their much improved sequel, Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII of WWII.
Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII of WWII's story is exactly what its title implies. You are a pilot during World War II participating in a varied group of Secret Missions of WWII that could have potentially happened behind the scenes of WWII. Secret Missions of WWII eschews the historical accuracy of the original in order to make scenarios that are more diverse and fun, and this formula succeeds in making the game far better than its predecessor in many ways.
One major factor that makes the gameplay fun in Secret Missions of WWII is the diversity of the missions in the game. It is never just the seek and destroy enemy planes that some aerial fighters resort to. There are always varied objectives for each stage, including goals such as hovering over a train for a set amount of time to deliver a secret agent, to posing as an enemy plane and taking out foes stealthily, to engaging in epic boss battles. In this respect, Secret Missions of WWII doesn't feel repetitive and goes a long way towards keeping the game experience fresh from beginning until end.
Adding to the freshness of the mission structures are intuitive controls that are fairly easy to get used to. Each analog stick does pretty much what you'd expect them too, and the trigger buttons are used for firing and locking on to enemy foes and objectives. The ability to lock on to foes and objectives helps out immensely, giving the player a sense of direction, although the button shouldn't be held down long since it can get disorientating. Used intelligently, the lock on feature helps the player find and destroy enemies without having to search the horizon or the game map for your foe or your objective.
You also have the ability to utilize a team of other pilots to help you on your missions. A simple press of the directional pad can order your squadmates to cover you, freely attack the enemy, or utilize one of their special abilities such as distracting enemies so that you can take potshots at their rear. Your wingmen also offer dialogue during the gameplay, although the storytelling and characterization seem like unnecessary exposition. One of the game's flaws come in with the ease in which you sic your invulnerable wingmen on enemies, which essentially provides you with a deus ex machina in some instances, as you can just continually send your wingmen to destroy the assorted enemies without any penalty or limit.
One element that adds a sense of accomplishment and progression to the game is the accrual of Prestige Points. You are awarded Prestige Points for completing objectives, finding stunt markers, destroying enemies, and nearly anything of use in the game. Most missions also give you the opportunity to earn more Prestige Points by completing secondary objectives and tackling extra enemies as well as completing the mission in a certain time frame. Prestige Points can be traded for upgrades to your plane's weapons, armor, and abilities, as well as giving boosts to your team dynamic or the amount of Prestige Points you earn per mission. You also unlock new planes and skins for your planes, and some of the planes and weaponry that you unlock are prototypes that were never actually used, but were considered and designed. This adds an interesting feel to the gameplay, as the planes and weapons offer a "what if" feel.