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Rise of Flight PC Review - -

Gameplay 6.0
Graphics 7.5
Sound 7.0
Value 5.5
Developer: Neoqb 777
Review Date:
July 2009
Edwin Millheim
Classification: PG


Rise of Flight

There is nothing like the roar of a radial engine as you fire up one the WW1 aircraft in Rise Of Flight. I must admit I am an air combat flight sim fan. I play everything from WW2 air combat games on through the aircraft in Vietnam, and the modern aircraft like Falcon. One would think that the WW1 aircraft being simpler birds, that they would be easier to fly and fight in. Not so, you have to get in close and practically knife fight to get your kills. Let me relay one of the many missions I played in the course of getting everything I needed for this review.

It was one of the fast scenarios in the game, when you are tasked to take out an enemy balloon. Fighting the cross winds as I rapidly closed the distance on the balloon, I marched my machine gun fire from one end of the balloon to the other and was rewarded with it exploding into flame, down it went trailing thick black smoke. No time for that feeling of hot darn I hit it....Bullets whizzed past me and one or two rounds hit my engine. It started to give off this horrid whine. No smoke. I kicked it over in a wing over and sacrificed altitude for speed. The beautiful country side spun madly below me as I tried to shake the enemy fighter.  In desperation, I tried something off the wall... Diving lower and following A river, I headed towards a bridge. Rounds hit the water ahead of me. I was sure I was going to crash, but wanted to try this anyway! Under the bridge I went!  The enemy fighter broke off for what ever reason. Five minutes of circling, dives wing overs and a clover leaf manoeuvre later, at last I got behind him... A short time later I came below and behind him, and sent three bursts into him, the third as he started to jink out of the way. Too late! His plane was belching flame and down they went. Like I said, you work hard for your kills here in Rise Of Flight, and those kills are far and between, but what a ride. I will say, casual gamers may want to stay clear, only the devoted need apply.

There are enough in game play assistant toggles that the game can in fact be beginner friendly, but the amount of time one spends having to get an enemy kill may frustrate some players. There are aiming assistants, as well as being able to see the flight controls, amongst several other options. The annoying thing about the options are that you cannot make changes in game, to make changes you have to exit the game and make any graphical detail tweaks, the load the game again.

One major issue I have with Rise of Flight is that it requires you to login to an online account that the player creates on the games official site. Not just for the first time, and not just to activate the game, but for each time you run the game. Of course one can argue that this is like STEAM network and they do the same thing. Not true, with STEAM I can play in an off line mode and still have access to my games. With Rise Of Flight, if the official Neoqb online site is down, or you do not have access to the Internet, you cannot play Rise Of Flight. Which begs to wonder, if for what ever reason the company stops making games down the line and the online site is no more...players may well be out of luck, they will then have a game they can never play again.

The graphics for Rise Of Flight are spectacular, maxed out they can be compared to IL-2's graphics in some respects. Very well done indeed.  With such graphics , and so much going on, it all comes with a heavy burden on even the most robust system. To get a good balance, even our quad core Alienware system had to be tweaked in some of the graphics levels to get smooth gaming accomplished. Especially when flying closer to the ground.  Larger battles with more planes and or flying close to the ground with maxed out graphics makes the game unplayable. Can we expect some tweaks from the creators of this game and a bit more optimization? I would hope so because adjusting the graphics settings almost makes no difference.

The in game sounds are great as well, the blast of the engine, engine or prop pitch can be heard to change as you demand more from your plane. Gun fire is very satisfying, as is the unwelcome sounds of enemy rounds chewing up your plane.

I would not go as far to say Rise Of Flight is revolutionary by any sense of the word. In fact the Spartan almost non existent information before A mission, and after a mission is a bit annoying. On the flip side once in game and playing, it's a blast. Unfortunately with the graphics comes some pretty hefty load times. The user front end before a mission while simple can sometimes be non responsive. A bit more information in briefings would be nice, and go a long way to making A player feel like a part of the events. Missions could be a bit more diverse for the single player experience. After A time missions seem to repeat and become a bit of a bore. Some past games on WW1 did a great job of making it feel like the war and other missions where going on around you. ( Red Baron 3D did a great job at that.) Another minor issue with Rise Of Flight, is what mission information there is, it can be hard to understand. The language has been butchered. Terms like "This mission was fired on...such and such a date.." make no sense what so ever.

Rise Of Flight also comes with A mission builder, this is also not for the faint of heart. While It seems to be rather robust, it seems to be aimed at the hard core fan that may be used to putting in a lot of work to create their own missions. Not to mention that documentation is nil. This more than anything else is where the online forums come into play. Fellow users who have some experience with the mission builder can be very helpful.

Speaking of feeling like your part of the events, after a mission, you get a really simplistic screen showing if you had a mission success, or failure and A general run down on how many, if any planes you shot down. There is never information about your fellow flyer's in the squadron. I would have liked to know what is going on with them.

Even with the glitches the game is well worth the time for the hard core fans. The developers, Neoqb seem rather dedicated, and goes so far as to admitting some mistakes on their on line forums. It's what makes myself, and I am sure other fans feel that the company will work on any issues and find some patch solutions. The single player experience lacks the polish to make this a truly spectacular game.

The game comes with only two aircraft types that the player can fly, with other types that can be purchased and unlocked in the game. Players can purchase more playable aircraft, on the official Rise Of Flight web site. There are of course other aircraft that are run by the AI in the game. The AI pilots handle them selves pretty darn well too.  Nothing like creeping up behind an enemy recon flight to find it's a aircraft with a rear gunner. OWCH. Continued support and improvements for Rise Of Flight can be expected. At the time of this review a patch was released and two more flyable aircraft have been made available. The German Albatross D5 and the French Nieuport 28.

Rise Of Flight does have a multiplayer option, I can't comment on it though.

I Waited two days while I tried to get into a multiplayer game, each attempt yielded only couple of server listings but no players. Even as I get close to finishing this article, I tried again a few times to find a multiplayer game. This time no listings came up. I would like to attribute this to the newness of the game as players get the feel of Rise Of Flight's single player gaming before they delve in against other players. So at this time I can only speculate that the multiplayer part of the game is as fun...if not more so than the single player experience.

There is a lot of promise here for Rise Of Flight, though it is being held back by a few things such as load times, lack of front end mission menu information of any depth. Limited player flyable planes out of the box, now upped to 4 with the first patch so that makes it tons better,  Plus it's hobbled by no playing in off line mode (ala  STEAM) and forcing the player to have to sign in to play. If you have no online access for what ever reason, you are out of luck and out of a game and your investment in that game. I can only suggest that the more hard core gamer will be happy with this game, and then even their patience will be tested. Sticking with t though may well yield a rewarding experience.

Have fun, play games.
Edwin Millheim



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