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Wings of Prey PC Review - -



Gameplay 7.5
Graphics 8.0
Sound 8.0
Value 6.5
Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Review Date:
January 2010
Edwin Millheim


Wings of Prey

Flying through the fast darkening sky and willing myself to see farther out into the purple and black encroaching night. Searching for that tiny glint of metal catching the setting sun. A speck in vast space of cloud cover and condensation forming droplets and streaking water across my canopy. Flight lead calls over the radio moments later, possible enemy aircraft. There a thousand feet or so forward and below us, coming in and out of view through the cloud cover, five twin engine craft. Far below the beautiful countryside is not foremost on my mind, but far below the patches of green forest and rolling hills will be the only witness to the rain of death my flight is about to unleash. Lining up the twin engine craft in the rear of the flight I ease the throttle to the stops and the cockpit rattles with the increase of power. The P51 bolts through the sky, a thing alive, it's prey in sight, and it's moving in for the kill. The enemy craft don't go into any kind of defense maneuvers.... they don't see us. Sure enough, they are German aircraft. Moving my sights to just ahead of the aircraft nose, I hold off until the twin engine craft is growing in my site. Holding down the fire button, the tracer fire marches from mid cockpit to tail of the craft. I continue to fire as bits fly off of the target. Too close, my windscreen is pelted with debris and bits of burned oil from the target....One of it's engines must have picked up some shrapnel, it's starts to belch thick black smoke and soon after as I rocket past I can already see the orange, red flames licking across it's wing root. They are done for.

That was one of the many missions I had over the course of playing Wings Of Prey by Gaijin Entertainment. It took a bit to get the control layouts set up to my liking, but not long after that the fun soon ensued.

The game may well have several balls juggling in the air when it's trying to hit a wider target audience, and it gets so many things right, but frustratingly a few things wrong that degrade the over all player experience. The patches do address some of the issues. Like a prized stallion “Wings Of Prey” prances bucks and is a thing of beauty, and a joy to play. Before the patch, some of the quick missions for instance hold so much promise for a spectacular player experience, but then fizzles out in literally a few seconds of game time. Take for instance a night mission, with search lights stabbing the darkness of the sky, the players job in the mission is to distract the enemy....there you are in the pitch black of the night and gloom, search lights fingering blindly in the night sky searching for you, your just waiting for the blasts of tracer from the ground and then all of a sudden... the mission success flashes on screen and the game goes back to another load screen for after action reports. This happens in more than a couple missions and is so very frustrating. Especially for some of those missions that hold some curve of a new player experience, only to be snatched away like, 'Oh, our graphics are so cool... so is this concept for a mission... but nya ...nya, that's all for you! Go play some other missions or the campaign instead.” Thankfully the patches seemed to address this and other issues, so instant win missions seem not to take place any more. Replaying the missions after patch yielded some rather gut wrenching experiences (that's in a good way) that where a spectacular mix of air and ground mission events.

While before the patch this issue was a glaring troll of a game kill, Wings Of Prey soars high like an ace now.

It does a good job of blowing the players socks off. How do you even measure a game? There are so many different schools of thought on that, opinions are a plenty out there. What it boils down to really.... is it fun? Yes it's fun, Wings Of Prey is an awesome looking game.

Yes, “Wings Of Prey” is an incredible looking game, it packs all the visual punch and balances it with the ability for the player to scale down some of the graphics if there is an issue running it on their system. We tried toying with the graphics at one end of the spectrum to the other and found while some of the visuals toned down are not as full of pop, they are acceptable and still gives an over all good gaming experience. At the maximum visual settings the planes and landscape and atmospheric effects are spectacular to behold. That, combined with the sound and music and voice acting actually bring this game to life. Pilots chatter over the radio excitedly during combat, bringing a pit to the gut when one of your comrades are in trouble and yelling for help.

There is some minor attempts at giving pilots a back ground history and there fore a life in the players eyes. Maybe an attempt at making a connection. The back ground is so trivial and seems like an after thought really it fails there. Though the voice acting does a great job at making you feel the human being behind the machine. Suspension of disbelief is the result. Well done, well done indeed. Though sometimes there are American accents where there should not be.

The aircraft are of course the center piece to it all. The graphics both internal and external are spectacular. Cockpits for each aircraft are modeled in very good detail, each dial and switch is there. The exterior of each aircraft is also well created and a joy for any aircraft enthusiast to look at. While the descriptions of the game from the publisher crow about how historically accurate the aircraft are, even they had to make some concessions when it came down to how the aircraft where actually marked. It's understood though due to the Swastika emblem being a sensitive issue in some countries and even outright against the law to display in others, for what ever purpose. Well over 40 planes with the basic staple of well known aircraft such as the Spitfire, the Messerschmitt , and the Mustang to name just a few are here with more down loadable content planned. Whats cool about this is even some of the German jet aircraft make an appearance. Since more down loadable content is expected, I should hope to see some less known but just as historically significant missions and battles brought into play. Sure we want to see the done over and over again pacific theater, but what about the Soviet women that the German pilots called Night Witches? While the term Night Witches was perhaps not what the Soviet female pilots liked to be called, it would be wonderful to see some missions based on these brave women. There is also the Tuskegee airmen of the United States, and I am sure there are others out there that have not been covered that would be a huge opportunity for Gaijin Entertainment to cover things in new content that has not been covered to death from other sources.

Aircraft damage modeling is just as beautiful to behold, all though getting damage to your aircraft is a fast way to become a lawn dart. Holes from flak blasts and shrapnel are well modeled, showing a jagged gash in the aircraft's skin, bullet holes also look darn good. Flame and smoke and spraying oil also round out the damage modeling, all visual treats. I do question the bullet and cannon damage though it feels a little too easy to down a bomber, no matter what you shoot it with and no matter how close you are to it, or the difficulty level.

Ground objects, such as tanks anti aircraft and flak guns all are modeled pretty well. There are ships and cities and towns, and farm lands with rolling hills and forests. All modeled to bring Wings Of Prey a truly atmospheric experience. This makes WW2 air and ground combat games cool again.

Speaking of the games wide appeal, the difficulty levels make it accessible to just about any type of gamer. The Arcade modes has a lot of prompts and also includes friendly and enemy labeling in game, as well as a sort of radar to assist the player in knowing where the enemy is at in relation to their aircraft's position. Then there is the realistic mode, this more is a bit more demanding on the players skills for flying the aircraft, but surprisingly not by much. Then there is the simulator mode, strangely enough just using the default setting for simulator mode still keeps some of the tasks of flying the craft such as propeller pitch control to automatic. Players can of course play with the setting and have more control over the planes systems. In Simulator mode there are no prompts on where the enemy aircraft or targets are located, so a dog fight in this mode is both challenging and rewarding when you shoot an enemy down, and a bit of an embarrassment when you open up with your guns on a friendly. Aircraft recognition is paramount in the higher difficulty modes.

The different battles in the game are Battle Of Britain, Battle Of Stalingrad, Invasion Of Sicily, Korsun Pocket, Battle Of The Bulge and Battle Of Berlin. All of which can be played in campaign mode and then of course several single player missions in each battle area. There is a training section as well, which offers up some interesting tidbits, it's in the training section that a player can set up combat between the offered aircraft and there are a lot of them to choose from. Either pit the prop aircraft against each other or try your hand at some of the Jet aircraft offered as the ME 262.

The game does have multi player aspects as well, though regrettably I could not get signed on to be able to test out the multiplayer.

Multiplayer modes have four game modes to choose; VoIP, lobby game system, leaderboards, friends lists, join-in-progress and host migration features.

The game was tested on a Quad core system for optimum performance, the specs to run the game as follows;

Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3200 MHz (or analogous)
RAM: 1024 MB
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce 7600 256 MB or ATI Radeon X1650 256 MB
Hard disk space: 10 GB free disk space for game files
Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP SP3, DirectX 9.0c
Sound card: DirectX compatible (AC'97 or analogous)
Internet connection: 56 kbits/sec
Keyboard, mouse

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2400 MHz (or analogous)
RAM: 2048 MB
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250 512 MB or ATI Radeon 4850 512 MB
Hard disk space: 10 GB free disk space for game files
Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP SP3 with DirectX 9.0c
Microsoft Windows Vista SP1 / Microsoft Windows 7
Sound card: DirectX compatible (AC'97 or analogous) with 5.1 channel support
Internet connection: 512 kbits/sec
Keyboard, mouse, joystick

While I am a fan of flight air combat games, it's such a difficult nitch to get right. In the end of it all, it all boils down to how fun is the game. Wings Of Prey is a well thought out visual and audio treat to the senses. We look forward to a great game becoming a spectacular game. Right now with it being assessable to so many different types of gamers from casual gamer who just wants to jump in and shoot down a few enemy aircraft, to the more hard core simmer, who wants to pull off that yo-yo maneuver and not go into a stall spin....Wings Of Prey delivers a satisfying experience.

You can get the demo now here

Have fun, play games
Edwin Millheim
U.S Editor Impulse Gamer


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