Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII review: Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII
Set in the middle of World War II, you are Captain Christopher Robinson, a World War II veteran pilot. Part of an elite American Air Force squadron by the name of Operation Wildcard. You will embark on both full-scale and covert missions from Italy to the heart of Russia, while taking the stick of classic and prototype airplanes (both fighters and bombers). Having an easy-to-use arcade style gameplay system makes Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII an exciting aerial war fighting game.
When you first start out your campaign you are left wondering for a minute if you actually bought a WWII game. Placed on the runway of an American aerodrome for an aerobatic stunt show -- you take off to perform a series of stunts so you are able to get a feel for the plane and its controls, while you receive a brief history of your character. Once you complete 10 stunts the skies suddenly turns grey and fills with smoke. You have flashed back to the middle of a dogfight against an enemy German fighter squadron firing at you head-on. You and your wingmen must take out all of the attacking German patrol.
Don't think you will be just be a pilot throughout the campaign, though. You will be put in control of mounted gun-turrets on a giant B-52 bomber, as well as controlling aerial bomb drops in order to destroy enemy bridges and tanks. A very nice job has been done with mission variety. Each mission has a new twist to it. In one, you have to escort Marguerite -- a British spy trying to escape Paris in a car -- leaving it to us to destroy the forward German roadblocks.
Completing missions, performing stunts, and shooting down enemy will kindly reward you with Prestige Points. These points can then be spent on multiple aircraft upgrades. Pack on some stronger armour, better aircraft aerodynamics, and a ton of weapon upgrades to transform your aircraft into an even tougher war machine. On top of that you will unlock new airplanes, weapons, and visual airplane skins from each mission completed. Amusingly enough, you could even make your fighter look like the German's, but sadly, this will not make them think you're a friendly.
The aircraft control is more of an arcade feel than an ultra-realistic flight simulator. You can steadily hold your speed and almost stop in mid-air to take out your enemies at times. Use your right joystick to control the speed and rolling of the airplane, while the left joystick controls the pitch and yaw motions. You lock onto your selected target with the LT button, forcing the game camera to swing out and show your target. Firing either your mounted machine-guns or rockets are done with the RT and RB respectively. When you're in control of a dive-bomber airplane you have to approach the target at a fairly steep angle, allowing your on-ground crosshair to line up over the target so you can release the bombs for a successful hit. Normally you will have three wingmen at your disposal and they can assist you in attacking or you might have them in your defence.
In-game graphics are unfortunately something of last year's style. It all looks rather grainy and the aircraft models lack details and show off no reflections when roaring through the skies. In-air aircraft explosions however look rather cool; they will let off a fireball leaving the remains to descend to the ground below followed by trails of black smoke. Saying that, it doesn't look like much of a next-gen title whatsoever. The sound isn't all that bad. Fairly constant radio chatter from your wingmen characters will keep you entertained, a long with informing you of what is happening around the skies.
All in all, Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII is a game with a lot going for it. The changes in missions throughout the campaign ensure you won't get bored of it too quickly, and a good degree of difficulty won't leave the average gamer finishing it too fast. The campaign has a good solid story so you don't feel that you are randomly going in and taking out the required targets for giggles. The only thing which lacks is the visuals you are presented with. For a new next-generation console game, it certainly doesn't look like one. It however does have a good amount of extra gameplay value with offline and online multiplayer support through the co-operative, skirmish, and duel modes. Or maybe you will want to start-over the campaign to earn more Prestige points and unlock more airplanes. But remember: if you want a realistic combat flight simulator, Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII will not deliver that.