Blazing Angels Squadrons of WWII

Review

posted 7/6/2006 by John Yan
other articles by John Yan
One Page Platforms: 360
Speaking of secondary weapons, you’ll have an unlimited supply of bombs or missiles so you don’t have to worry about running out. Like calling on your squad mates, it just takes some time to regenerate after you fire your entire payload. This does help those that aren’t accurate in bombing runs as you’ll get plenty of chances to hit the target. Depending on the secondary weapon you have, your reticule will change to help you aim. For torpedoes, you’ll have a horizontal and vertical bar that turns green when it’s an optimal time to launch. For bombing runs, you’ll be aided by a circle on the ground. These visual cues helps in taking out your objectives a lot easier and makes for a less frustrating experience.
 
I do like the variety of missions that Blazing Angels offers here. You’re not stuck in dog fighting scenarios all the time as you’ll perform bombing runs as well as protecting other squadrons and sinking battleships. Star Wars fans will feel at home in one of the later missions featuring a run through a trench in a glacier complete with turrets on the ground, pillars to dodge, and enemy planes dropping down to take out. You’ll have to take out a few factories at the end of the level by dropping some bombs down the smokestacks reminiscent of Luke’s bombing of the thermal exhaust port. While you spend most of the time in the air, there’s one mission where you are forced to make a landing and switch planes. Another mission will have you pilot the B-17 Flying Fortress with the ability to switch between various gunner positions to take out incoming fighters.
 
There are a few levels that will have you tearing your hair out. The trench run is one of them as you’ll have to fly a pretty long time to get to your objective. Luckily, there are a few checkpoints that you will be able to start from in case you do die before you get there. It’s just getting there even from the checkpoints that’s a pain. One other really frustrating mission has you flying low in the canals to take out a few radar stations. Fly too high and you’re toast in a matter of moments. After taking out the stations, you’re left to fend for yourself from a good number of really good German pilots before your squadron arrives. You’ll have to do all this without a benefit of a repair. That means if you take a few shots by flying too high in the canals you’re pretty much toast when the German fighters arrive. I had to start the mission over a few times because my health was so low and dodging the German fighters were no easy task either.
 
Graphically, the game switches from being visually appealing to bland. Most of the impressive parts stem from the architecture of the environment. The Paris level is an example of an impressive display of buildings and scenery. Flying around the Eiffel Tower, you get to see some good detail in the model. The planes though aren’t too detailed but are adequately modeled. The impressive part is when a few dozen planes are weaving in and out in the air around you depicting an epic dog fight. Smoke effects are pretty effective and flying through thick black smoke can render you a little disoriented. On the Xbox, the game has a more impressive look but on the Xbox 360 it just looks like an average title.
 
Voice acting isn’t too bad but the Germans and Japanese do feature some pretty bad overacting. It does get annoying sometimes with Frank, Tom, and Joe repeating a lot of their phrases but they do offer some verbal cues that can help with your decision making.
 
Xbox Live features include a few multiplayer modes such as Capture the Base, dog fighting, and even co-op mode. If you have a friend with the game, you’re able to go through the campaign with a human squad mate. I’m glad that Ubisoft included this as it’s a lot more fun playing with someone you know than computer squad mates. Kamikaze mode offers a unique experience as one team plays as the Japanese hell-bent on crashing their planes into the objective while the other team tries to take down the Japanese before the target can be destroyed. The Xbox Live portion of the game does offer some good replay value for this title.
 
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII is a decent title but it’s not a title to show off the 360 or one that really takes advantage of the system. It’s easy to get into and the multiplayer portion shines in this title. The single player campaign isn’t too bad but can be long and repetitive at certain points. When it’s all said and done, the game is a good rental and fun to play with others.



C-
It's nothing that screams next gen and the game can be rather easy in spots and frustrating at others. Blazing Angels Squadrons of World War II is impressive looking on the Xbox but not on the Xbox 360.


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