Wings of War Xbox
Developed by Silver Wish Games
Released - Out Now
Price : £19.99
Whilst the 'full price' games get all the attention it's difficult to ignore the importance of the 'budget' priced games that are released. Most of the time these are re-releases such as the Xbox Classics, PlayStation 2 Platinum and GameCube Player's Choice titles but just lately it's becoming more common to see games released at a more affordable price. Naturally when you only spend half of the price you normally would on a new game your expectations are not as high and while it's true that some of the games that are released at a cheaper price are not that good, some are actually good games and are well worth the asking price. Wings of War is very much one of these titles.
Wings of War gives you the chance to get your hands on dozens of World War I aircraft. The game modes available are Campaign mode and Instant Action mode. The Campaign mode is comprised of 13 levels which in turn are made up of 70 missions which include dogfights, bombing, reconnaissance and escorting tasks. There is also a Flight School level so you can learn the basics of the game controls (you can skip this though if you wish). In a twist to the usual format of such games you'll also encounter bonus missions within the regular missions which aren't compulsory but are there if you want them. When you're done with the Campaign mode (and unlocked all the aircraft that there is to unlock by playing through it) you'll want to try the Instant Action mode. Instant Action mode allows you to create a deathmatch game against the AI bots. There isn't any split-screen or Xbox Live combat options though.
With all games in this genre what matters most is the control system and how comfortable the game feels. As you've probably already guessed by now Wings of War is no simulation. What we have here is an arcade air-combat game that was designed to pick-up and play rather than a simulation that would take many hours to master. The game comes with 3 control schemes and has 3 difficulty settings to suit most gamers out there. You can choose an auto-throttle option which will automatically match your speed to that of your target which is an option beginners will appreciate. Whilst the ammo on your aircraft's gun is unrestricted the gun can overheat which prevents you firing until it's cooled down. You can set this option to off though if you wish which allows for continuous firing and of course it makes the game easier. You can even get rid of the numerous indicators in the HUD if you wish to make the game really challenging. The Y-Axis can be inverted if you wish (something a lot of virtual pilots prefer) meaning pushing up on the left analogue stick will send the aircraft down. Overall it's a tidy control scheme that should please most people.
Wings of War will naturally be compared to similar titles on the Xbox such as Crimson Skies and Secret Weapons Over Normandy. It probably isn't as good looking a game as either of these two although it's not that far off the latter to be perfectly honest. That said though it still looks good and doesn't have any frame rate issues which is always pleasing to see. Wings of War is similar to Secret Weapons Over Normandy in that the terrain textures have been kept fairly simple, probably to keep the frame rate constant and this is really noticeable on missions where you have to fly low to take out vehicles etc., You won't find any of the high detailed environments here like you would in Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge but to be honest it doesn't really matter that much (and at this price it's forgivable).
Thankfully Wings of War has subtitles and all things considered they are not too bad at all. You get a small amount of speech, banter that attempts to create ambience is what you could call it I suppose, either side of the briefing and that is not subtitled but it's the only omission really. The briefing itself is displayed on an open notebook and the text is easy to read. During missions, and the tutorial, the comments you'll receive are shown in text (once subtitles have been enabled of course). Here the text is displayed on an overlay which is slightly darker than the background so again it's easy to read. All the information in the Hangar (kind of an encyclopedia detailing all the aircraft you've unlocked) is also in text. The game manual, whilst short, is fairly comprehensive and explains what all the game icons mean as well as other important information about the game.
We started of this review by saying how important these lower price titles are to the success of a console. Low prices should not also mean low quality though but thankfully there are some good games out there which are more than worth the asking price. Wings of War might not be an excellent game or a game that many will remember for years to come but it is a solid game and great value at just under £20. In fact whilst some areas could be better the only thing it really lacks is support for Xbox Live which would have increased the longevity of the game because unless you play the game over a system link it's just a single player experience. All in all though Wings of War is a good purchase for those who enjoyed Crimson Skies or Secret Weapons Over Normandy.
Game Rating: 7.0/10
Wings of War is a solid arcade air-combat experience. The only cause for concern is the lack of multiplayer options which would have increased the longevity of the game but when it's price is less than £20 it's not as big a problem as it might have been.
Whilst the game isn't completely subtitled it's not far off and won't cause deaf gamers any problems.