E3 2011 – Combat Wings: The Great Battles of WWII Preview
The developers of the new Combat Wings really don’t want you to like modern flight games. Those games are all about wimpy long range combat with lock-on missles from hundreds of yards away where pilots often don’t even really see their opponents. Not like in WWII. That’s when real men took to the skies to look their enemies in the face before riddling their tales with bullets from 50 yards. It all sounds great and macho, but in reality Combat Wings: The Great Battles of WWII doesn’t have all that much that looks great.
During a private viewing of the game I got to see two small but distinct levels. The first involved dogfighting against multiple waves of enemy aircrafts in the skies over Russia. Enemies were marked with bright red indicators that turned to arrows when off screen. Holding the left trigger puts the player in Ace Mode. A nice name for a function that aims the player at the nearest enemy. The demonstrator compared it to aiming in a shooter, though I think the comparison is a little off base. The developers want to make the game accessible and always letting you know where the enemy is and how to get them seems to be their solution.
Also borrowing from shooters is a kill-cam slow motion segment that occurs during your “most interesting” kill of a fight. How this is determined was not made clear as the kill-cam was hardwired to the controller for demonstration purposes.
Multiplayer was touted as a large focus for the game (though it was not shown). Match types are said to include Team Deathmatch, Escort Competitions (one team guarding, one attacking), and even Races. The team is interested in developing co-op as well but is concerned with telling an engaging hero’s tale to multiple players. Maybe they need to check out Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. And by maybe I mean definitely.
The planes all looked quite attractive though the land below was bland and unimpressive. I know this was acceptable of flying games in the 90′s but we’ve all grown past that. I was told that there would be around 60 aircraft in the final game, though only a few were shown during my demo. It was said that to keep things interesting Combat Wings will feature real-world aircraft from other nations at the time that weren’t as active (if at all) in the war.
Combat Wings: The Great Battles of WWII is definitely targeted to a more casual audience but with 60 aircraft, 4 unique campaigns in Britain, Russia, Africa, and the Pacific, and a variety of single and multiplayer mission types, it might just be worth checking out when it releases for Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and Wii this September. But only if this is already your kind of thing.