Deadly Skies III PlayStation 2 Official Website
Developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo
Released - 14th May 2004
Price : £39.99
Whilst the Deadly Skies series (Airforce Delta in the US) has enjoyed success on other consoles, most notably the Dreamcast, it hasn't appeared on the PlayStation 2 console. Deadly Skies III is the game to change all that though as it brings its hectic, arcade air combat action to Sony's console. With over 130 aircraft to choose from, 20 characters to play as and 60 squad-based futuristic missions to take part in it certainly gives good value for money but features aren't everything. Can the Deadly Skies series make a triumphant debut on the PlayStation 2?
Deadly Skies III tells the tale of the Earth Defense Alliance Force (E.D.A.F.) and their bid to defeat the evil Orbital Citizen's Community (O.C.C.). The O.C.C. have managed to use their superior technology to capture various footholds across the planet. The O.C.C.'s conquering was swift and they pushed the rather week E.D.A.F. back without too much struggle. However this swiftness has also caused the O.C.C. a problem as they now find themselves overstretched and recently, their advance has come to a standstill. This gives the E.D.A.F. the chance they need. As quickly as possible they enlisted the help of all who were willing to fight against the O.C.C.. Even the help of a problem unit, Delta Squadron, was needed to combat the threat of the O.C.C.. Throughout the game you'll control many characters in a bid to defeat the O.C.C. starting with Ken Thomas of Delta Squadron.
As we mentioned at the beginning, the game contains 60 missions and these involve a variety of objectives. Some missions are pure dog fights whilst others require you to take out key installations of weapon facilities and you'll even have to protect the E.D.A.F.'s territory too. The missions are mostly enjoyable and the games' control system is a comfortable one. Thankfully whether you're a novice or an expert virtual pilot there is a controls system to suit you. In fact there are 3 control schemes available, novice, expert and ace and thankfully you can invert the pitch control if you need to. As the game progresses you can choose which pilot to use and which aircraft to fly and this effects, to some degree, how the mission plays. This also adds a nice amount of replay value too. Successful completion of a mission earns you credits that you can use to modify or repair your aircraft, as well as purchase special weapons and this adds a nice level of customisation to the game. It's a shame that the game only offers single player action though and it would have been great had the game offered the ability to fly through the missions in co-operative mode or at least offered a 2-4 player versus mode (even an online mode would have been nice).
Graphically Deadly Skies III is OK but perhaps it's not the standard you would expect from a title released during an advanced stage of the PlayStation 2's life. The draw distance isn't too bad at all, although after reaching a certain height cloud cover greys out the lower terrain but it doesn't look too bad at all. The frame rate for the most part is satisfactory although it can dip a little during hectic action but it never spoils anything, which is what really matters. The sensation of speed given by the game is perhaps not as impressive as you would hope for and the aircraft do feel a tad slow. The game has some great anime character art that's been designed by Jun Tsukasa and static anime characters and text conversations carry the games' story along in place of the usual cutscenes. The aircraft all look good too but as the game has licensed aircraft from the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin, British Aerospace and Northrop Grumman it's no more than you'd expect.
Konami must be commended for their use of subtitles in Deadly Skies III. Subtitles can be enabled in the game settings menu (they are on by default though) and all speech within the game is subtitled. Not only do you see the subtitles for all speech in the game but you'll also see a picture of the character who is talking. Now you might think that it's going to be difficult to read the subtitles and keep your eyes on the action but it's actually not that bad at all. The text is quite large and only a cursory look at the text is needed to be able to follow the conversation. Outside of the mission all conversations are shown in text too and you can read this at your leisure as a button press is required in order to move the conversation along. All information in the game is delivered via text or icons so again there are no problems.
Deadly Skies III is one of those games that, whilst it's enjoyable, could have been better. Fans of arcade air combat games will enjoy the game but I suspect they will find the aircraft a little slower that what they were expecting. Graphically it's certainly not the best either. However if you can look past these two aspects then there is a good game here. It's unfortunate that the game has no multiplayer action but it's by no means a problem especially as there is a solid single player game here that's going to last around 20 hours for a single play through and it has a good amount of replay value. The Deadly Skies series arrival on the PlayStation 2 may not have arrived on the PlayStation 2 in a blaze of glory, but it's certainly a good game to start with.
Game Rating: 7.0/10
Deadly Skies III is best described as solid but not spectacular. As a single player only game it has a good amount of replay value but it's a shame that no multiplayer options have been included.
Absolutely no problems for deaf gamers.