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Wings of Power II: WWII Fighters Special Edition

Score: 98%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Tri Synergy
Developer: Shockwave Productions Inc.
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Flight/ Simulation


Graphics & Sound:

Shockwave has built a reputation for itself as a top-notch producer of add-ons for MS Flight Simulator. Wings of Power II: World War II Fighters Special Edition, a follow-up to WoP: WWII Heavy Bombers and Jets, gives flight simulator fans the chance to jump into the cockpit of five of WWIIís most famous fighter planes, such as the Mustang and Zero. And, once again Shockwave has provided one of the best WWII flight sims available.

Two in-game cockpits are offered: a 2D strip of dials and gauges and a rendered 3D one. Obviously the 3D cockpit looks better, but the dials aren't that shabby either. As with Shockwaveís last effort, planes are accurately modeled down to the last rivet. Everything is highly detailed and amazingly clear. This attention to detail carries over to the sound department. Engine noises are true-to-life and come through at full force.


Gameplay:

Wings of Power II includes five fighter planes from WWII, ranging from the Japanese Zero to the British Spitfire to the USís own Mustang. Both outside and in, each plane is modeled as close to real-life as possible. Since Wings of Power IIís core engine isnít a combat one, donít expect to engage in wild combat excursions. What you can expect is hard-nosed flight sim that aims for nothing less than "Absolute Realism".

While I canít vouch for how close to real the game is, I can say that Shockwave has done a really good job of making each plane feel distinct. The Spitfire feels completely different from the Messerschmitt. Each plane has its own characteristics, so even though you might be able to perform a one-man air show with the Zero, you may not even be able to get the Mustang off the ground. Okay, so thatís a bit of a stretch, but you see where Iím going.

In order for players to get a good idea of how to best approach each plane, a set of blueprints of each plane is included. Not only do these offer a brief history of the plane, but also gives tips on the planeís operating parameters, such as engine limits and how to land. Trying to push the limits of your plane can cause bad things to happen.


Difficulty:

As with successfully landing a plane, Wings of Power II is all about the approach. This isnít an arcade flight game; this is a hardcore sim meant only for the genreís most dedicated of fans. Thatís not to say that a casual flight fan canít get into game, but donít expect to grab the stick and become an Ace right away. The game can be set up to allow more casual players to enjoy the game without having to worry about every little detail.

Game Mechanics:

For more casual players, Wings of Power II will take a little getting used to. Plane set ups and handling are about as real as they come, which means you can't pull off some maneuvers in these planes. Most of the challenge is learning what each plane is capable of. Trying to pull off spins and other tricks will usually result in stalls in some planes while others might be able to handle some basic maneuvers. Even if youíre a veteran, you should spend some time with the technical sheets included with the game. At one point I even found myself tacking the layout on a wall for quick reference.

Fans of either WWII-based or flight games in general will find a lot to like about Wings of Power II: WWII Fighters Special Edition.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 98/ME/2000/Xp; Pentium III 800 MHz; 32 MB VRAM; 128 MB RAM; 500 MB HDD Space; Direct X 9.0; Microsoft Flight Simulator or Microsoft FSX
 

Test System:



Windows XP; Pentium 4 1.7 GHz; Radeon 9100 128 MB; 40 Gig HD; 640 MB RAM, MS Flight Simulator 2004

Sony PlayStation 2 Super Dragon Ball Z Nintendo GameCube Ant Bully

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated