Blazing Angels

Blazing Angels: Squadrons of World War 2 is the first WW2-inspired ‘action flight sim’ for the 360, and as such, it has a lot to live up to, with games like Crimson Skies on the original Xbox being big sellers, thanks to Xbox Live and an engaging story line.

The Campaign mode starts off with the standard ‘shoot all the stationary objects’ training mission. Once you’ve destroyed all of the stationary items you have to take out a couple of enemy planes that interfere with your training exercise. From here it’s all about dog-fights with Japanese and German fighters.

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There are 42 different fighters in all, each of which have advantages and disadvantages over the others. Only 2 are available from the start, the rest being unlocked via the Campaign mode. Maneuvering your plane is easy; the left analog stick turns pitches up and down, while the right stick controls throttle and breaking. Pushing the left trigger moves the camera to point in the direction of your target; once you are accustomed to using it you can easily locate and fly over to your enemy.

However, it can pose a problem as you can’t always see how close to the ground your plane is if the camera is facing another direction, so it’s important to be careful when using the locator. A lock on feature would have helped make it more beginner friendly, as the enemies are difficult to hit to begin with. However, with a bit of practice you can keep them in your sights, as it is pretty forgiving with the targeting.

When you accelerate the visuals use a motion blur effect, and although it helps to distract from the otherwise grainy graphics, it can get in the way when you’re in a fight. Another problem is the fact that all the planes look similar - most of the time the cross hairs are the only way to tell the difference between your squadron and the enemy planes. However, once you know who you’re shooting at, taking out enemies is satisfying.

Blazing Angels is a great game once you get the hang of it, and if you can’t wait for Crimson Skies 3 this should help fill the gap. Fans of the flight action genre should look at picking this up, but for anyone else it’s a passable title.

"Blazing Angels swoops down on 360."
- Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII
Follow Own it? Rating: PG   Difficulty: Hard   Learning Curve: 30 Min


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