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June 25, 2007
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
23/3/2007UbisoftUbisoftUbisoft Romania1-22-16
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Graphics can be pretty nice at times...
When Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII came out on the 360 and PC, about a year before the PS3 launch in Australia, it received less than amazing review scores and didnít seem like much of a must-have title. Knowing this, we werenít in any rush to get into this one, but just for you folk, our readers, we persevered and did it. Was it all worthwhile? Read on...

While the game starts out in England, you play; you guessed it, an American. And a squad leader nonetheless! So while you have to master your own flight, you are also in charge of three other pilots through some major historical battles (Pearl Harbour to bring up one name!). Of course, itís not all big-name fights, and there are a lot of unique missions that just involve taking out enemy shipments, taking down a squad of fighters, etc. Ė thereís certainly plenty of variety here.

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..but the game engine chugs when close to explosions!
Of course, the biggest Ďifí with aircraft flight games is always the controls, which can vary from amazing to horrible, with most falling somewhere between. Luckily, this is one area that Blazing Angels does very nicely Ė and flying your plane is incredibly responsive and easy to pick up. Mastering it, however, is another matter Ė and you will have plenty of time to work on this in the lengthy single player campaign. While tilt controls are supported, they are far from enjoyable, and there are some issues with the plane not responding if you tilt too quickly.

As mentioned Ė you have a squad of three other pilots to control. However, unlike some other games, the squad isnít just a mish-mash of pilots. Each of the squad members has a purpose, whether it is to act as a decoy, to act as attack support, or to repair planes mid-flight. Donít worry though, all of them can fight and shoot down those damn Naziís when necessary, and mastering your squad control is the secret to succeeding at this game. Outside of that, itís fairly standard stuff Ė you fly a little, shoot a bit, get some more story from another pilot, rinse, repeat.

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The planes do look fantastic.
To be honest, there isnít a lot to complain about here with this release. Sure the Sixaxis is a bit sluggish, and the pilot chatter is far too long, but these are both fairly unimportant issues. There are really only a few issues that deserve proper mention.

Firstly, a lot of players are likely to play a few levels then put the game back on the shelf Ė as the first handful of missions really are quite dull and slow. But once the game picks up it gets a lot better and a lot more hectic. Secondly, there is a fairly severe frame rate issue when flying close or through large explosions. Itís not something thatís going to stop you playing the game, but it does break up the smooth air combat feel.

Finally, and most disappointingly, multiplayer is not really an area that is going to keep you coming back. Sure, there are plenty of planes, game-modes, and locales to combat in, but the game is just too slow, and really the entire of multiplayer is centred on your ability to get behind other players and take them out from there. Some gamers will probably love it, but the majority are more than likely going to wait for Warhawk or something similar to get their aerial combat fix. Uninspired is the word.

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Oui, oui, c'est gay Paris...
As far as how the game looks, Blazing Angels looks nice enough, but the shiny factor isnít at its highest. There have been one or two graphical tweaks since the 360/PC release, but it isnít quite enough to raise it to the top of the PS3 launch titles. One thing that the developers have done well is capture the feeling of hectic dog-fighting quire well as far as how it looks Ė that is, until you blow something up and the frame-rate drops to one or two per second.

Audio is largely similar, in that it does the job but not much more. In campaign mode you will get quite sick of the excessively long and far-too-similar radio messages from various pilots, but outside of this itís a fairly generic aural release. Not too bad, nothing spectacular.

Overall, Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII is not a bad game, and if youíre into aerial combat, or just planes in general, youíre probably going to have a good time with this one. But chances are, if you havenít got it by now, youíd be better off waiting until Warhawk hits our PS3s later this year. That is, unless you particularly want a single-player campaign.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
GRAPHICStoo amazing, with a fairly bad frame-rate issue near large explosions.
SOUNDFairly run-of-the mill stuff here, but nothing outstandingly bad.
GAMEPLAYQuite enjoyable once you get through the first portion of the game. Sixaxis controls are disappointing though.
VALUEA lengthy single-player campaign, but uninspiring multiplayer.
OVERALLIt could have been a lot better than it is, but thereís a bit of fun to be had here.

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