You might not have heard much about Air Conflicts: Secret Wars. It has certainly flown in under the radar but from the early code we’ve been playing, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on if you’re a fan of air combat and fancy something a little bit different.
The game is set in the early 1940s and starts out by introducing a young ace pilot, DeeDee, whose father fought and died in the genesis of air combat – World War I. The Nazis are closing in on North Africa and the smuggling operation run by DeeDee and an old friend of her father’s (who raised her) is coming under increasing pressure.
It seems like DeeDee is reluctantly drawn into the Allied war effort. As every good roguish smuggler should be, she’s initially keen to just try to keep herself off the map and continue making money while others worry about the war. Every war operation needs acquisitions though and who better for that than an ace pilot with the ability to get her hands on just about any black market goods you could want?
The gameplay feels similar to other air combat games and the planes, at least early on, are simple enough things to control. It’s visually appealing during gameplay too, with everything comfortably zipping along at a steady frame rate (on 360 preview code). The inclusion of two control options should keep things accessible for those who aren’t familiar with flight controls whilst allowing those with more experience in the air to be a little more taxed.
The vintage aircraft on display all appear to be rendered accurately. It’s certainly a joy to have the chance to throw these classics around the sky and if you grew up watching classic war films you’ll probably be reliving the dialogue of those as you pitch in and squeeze off a few rockets at the Luftwaffe.
Cut scenes are still a little rough around the edges, delivered as cartoon style conversations (with audio) between characters and in-game audio communications as you pilot your craft. The voice work will need some attention before the game launches and the use of a Comic Sans style typeface in mission notes is far below the standards of presentation elsewhere. There’s time to polish these issues up a little but they are still somewhat juxtaposed to the more finely polished game play visuals.
Where this game attempts to deviate from the usual air combat game is in the make up of its missions. More than simply an air to air or air-to-ground combat game, Secret Wars attempts to introduce stealth and exploration aspects. Sometimes it’s more advisable (and just as enjoyable) to sneak around trouble rather than attempt to hit it head on. It’s an interesting twist and one which has definite potential if it can be exploited in the right way.
It’s early days just now, the game isn’t scheduled for release until June, but early signs are promising. Air combat fans should certainly keep their eyes to the sky for Air Conflicts: Secret Wars’ arrival.
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars is due for release on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 in June.