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Jane’s USAF

Score: 90%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: EA Games
Developer: Jane's Combat Simulations
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 16
Genre: Flight/ Simulation/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

Jane’s USAF is absolutely breathtaking in all aspects of both sound and graphics! It is amazing how Jane’s consistently is ahead of the pack in visual realism. The wonderfully accurate terrain is so striking in detail that I am constantly wandering off on crucial missions to see what interesting scenery lies over the horizon. How does Jane’s expect anyone to concentrate on the mission? No contest, these graphics are at the pinnacle of all flight sims now.

Sounds are quite realistic and numerous with what looks like several hundred sound effects, although I didn’t count them.


I’ve got to mention how Jane’s gets you into the USAF mood. When the game boots up, you are treated to an excellent montage of film footage depicting the exploits of the aircraft in the sim and then at the splash screen, you hear slightly corny Air Force recruiting type music which really sets the mood well. The splash screen is where you will choose a type of gameplay. Quick Mission allows for fast customized action, while Training is for, um, er... training. Single Mission is for flying any of the stand alone single missions, and Campaign is several missions all occurring in the same theater of operations. Multiplay is used in network action. Pilot Records allows you to see your history, while Mission Recorder lets you visually review your mission performance. Reference gives you information on planes and weapons, while you can use Web for access to online action.

I have never flown a real combat aircraft, but USAF comes as close as possible to what it must be like without simulating the annoying things such as the extremely complex systems in modern combat aircraft. You can control the actions of your wingmen with keyboard commands, while switching to other planes to continue the mission is available if necessary. An amazing array of views is available to get that perfect view of any situation, including a virtual scrollable cockpit and a “Padlock” view.

I might get flamed for writing this, but extreme accuracy in aircraft systems interferes with my enjoyment of the flight sim experience, so system accuracy buffs may be disappointed. A bit of a gripe here, as I do enjoy a flight model which is accurate in simulating stalls/spins, which USAF is lacking. Well, two gripes -- the second being that speed isn’t correctly simulated at low levels. Ok, ok, just one more: The so-called “voice recognition” program included doesn’t work well enough to be used in combat -- SHUCKS!


If you are a flight sim fan, there should be no problem, although Jane’s USAF does simulate the systems of modern aircraft reasonably well. Inexperienced gamers may find it too bulky with tasks as it is, after all, simulating modern mechanized warfare.

Game Mechanics:

As usual, Jane’s has kindly included an excellent setup interface with USAF which allows the user to set in minute detail a great deal of options including level of A.I. (both for friendly and enemy forces), graphical detail level, sound functions, and flight model. The API is courtesy of D3D by default, though Glide capability would have been appreciated by many, I’m sure (heck! I’m a Glide man by nature, but D3D sure looks sweet using DirectX 7). Everything was intuitive and a no-brainer.

Online flying is available through Jane’s Combat.net. My system is just on the correct side of enjoyable, so I can imagine a processor of less than 500 MHz and/or a less than 56k modem to present problems. Last gripe here, I promise: We’ll all have to wait several months for Jane’s World War to be available to test with this title in beta form.

Mission-wise, of utmost importance, are two things:

  1. Look at all intelligence info in the pre-flight/planning stage as this will inform you of possible threats and available reinforcements.
  2. Utilize your wingmen efficiently – you’ll find it impossible to win most missions by yourself.
Master these two points and therein lies the key to making Jane’s USAF fun. SIEEEEEEERA HOTEL!!! Buy the game to find out what that means. (hehe) d0gs over and out.

-d0gsb0dy, GameVortex Communications
AKA Kelly Key

Minimum System Requirements:

266 MHz Pentium, 64 MB RAM, 4 MB D3D Accelerator Card, DirectX 6.1, 6X CD-ROM

Test System:

P3 @ 560 MHz, 128 MB RAM, VooDoo 3 3000 video card, 56k v90 Modem

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