|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 20, 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 Matthew Walker
The beauty of a flight simulator is that you should feel like it is you that is flying. Whether it is by a full cockpit simulation, like the old mall arcades, or at home on your favorite video game console, it should feel like you are in the clouds. Of course, flying on a console from the comfort of your couch is not exactly the way to go either. However, flight simulators capture their own brand of imaginative player, and it is something we should all give a try, at least once.
That logic is one of the reasons the flight simulators continue to come out. Over the recent years, the fascination of simulators and the war nostalgia games have blended to bring us some noteworthy titles; Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII just so happens to be one of those titles. Some of you may remember that the title already debuted on the Xbox 360 last year. This, of course, being the same title in a nutshell, makes one ponder the necessity of reissuing a game that was, at best, a decent game. At first glance, the reason is simple; provide a good flight simulator for a system that would enhance and bring the player closer to the movement of a cockpit simulator.
The idea behind Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII is to capture both the feel of flying some of the most memorable air squadron planes and the atmosphere of the world's "greatest" war. In one sense, it provides in spades. The atmosphere of the game is rendered in a way that is not extremely harsh on the eyes. That being said, the visuals of Blazing Angels are nothing to write home about. In fact, the amount of detail in the backgrounds is reminiscent to the mid stages of the PS2. There are highlights to the backgrounds though that diminish the thoughts of it being a graphically challenged game on a next-gen console. The skylines are brightly dim, perfectly capturing the skies of several of the epic air battles of WWII. The planes, which are the highlight of the game to begin with, are highly realistic in detail. Of these magnificently detailed planes, players will command legends like the P-51 Mustang and the British Spitfire. There will even be planes like the Messerschmitt and the Japanese Zero in multiplayer. Speaking of multiplayer, there are a couple of additional multiplayer modes that feel very much like the multiplayer from before, so regrettably nothing is really new to the multiplayer area.
Of course, the sounds of Blazing Angels are still like that of its previously released counterpart, nice and solid. Along with the slightly, slightly being the operative word, above average voice over work, the insane rapid machinegun fire is spot on. Even the planes sound as realistic as I can imagine them, even if they do sound a bit model plane-ish. The music of the game provides the tranquil beauty of air assaults so well that you may stop noticing them during gameplay altogether. The random blurbs of dialogue that fill the air are mixed well with the battle and plane sounds. However, I would have liked the dialogue from the planes to have had that "walkie-talkie" sound to it, if no other reason than for believability.
With this version being for the Wii, you could imagine that the Wii-mote will play a huge part in the gameplay. You would imagine correctly. At the beginning of the game, it will tell you that the Nunchuk is required for the game. This is not entirely true. You will have the option to use just the standard Wii-mote for flight simulation. The downfall to doing this is that you are somewhat limited to the function of just the Wii-mote. The Nunchuck will aid you in performing the many aerial assaults you have to do. The idea behind this is extremely inviting. Utilizing the innovation behind the Wii-mote should have been the glorious aspect to a game already released. The lack of sounds from the Wii-mote and the missing rumble feature, regrettably, are only the beginning of controller faults.
Unfortunately, there is a drawback on the sensitive Wii-mote controls. Several times your plane will become non-responsive to your motions. This is mainly due to the fact that, for whatever reason, the sensor bar doesn't register your rotation after a certain point. This of course, causes for stalls in the action of the game, since you will have to reposition, hopefully in time, your Wii-mote and Nunchuk for maneuverability. Hindering the controls even further is the target locator. The target locator for your main weapon, the machinegun, is small and dull, therefore making it hard to see where you are shooting. Even the size of your site plays a huge factor into your aiming capabilities. Since the tilting of your Nunchuk or Wii-mote help you aim, you might want to work on the steadiness of your hand before turning the game on.
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII is the coulda-woulda-shoulda game on the Wii so far. With everything that it should have been, it is such a downer that it fails to deliver too often. With the lack of a flight simulator on the Wii, this would have been a nice edition to its growing library. It could have even been the next must own title for any fan of simulators, period. Regrettably, it falls short on too many levels to be considered any of those things. Then again, if you absolutely have to have a flight simulator on your Wii, then this is about it for now. Let us hope that any possible development for a flight simulator will observe the flaws of Blazing Angels, as well as the highlights, and release a beautiful simulator, to be treasured by all of the would be flyers in all of us.
CCC Freelance Writer