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Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WW II Preview

Joe_Dodson By:
GENRE Action 
T Contains Language, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

A wing and a player.

Contrary to popular thought, love doesn't conquer all. Take war, for instance. That could kick love's ass any day of the week; a glance at the daily news attest to this. But where love has war trumped is in its looks, because more often than not, war is very, very ugly.

Lucky for us, war's been in for an extreme makeover courtesy of Ubisoft's digital doctors. They nipped gross civilian casualties here, tucked unsightly prosthetics there, and generally amputated anything that didn't have to do with airplanes. They brought her back to her younger, more idealistic days by decking her out with a vintage 1940s wardrobe. Finally, they named their creation Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII, and after seeing it in action we think we may be in love.

Or maybe we're just suckers for a pretty face, because Blazing Angels looks incredible. The level we saw was a fictionalized battle over Pearl Harbor, and we couldn't take our eyes off it. The framerate was fast, the draw distance far, and the environment painstakingly detailed and beautifully imagined. From high up in the sky we could see formations of allied planes scouring for remnants of the Japanese attack force, while monstrous plumes of black smoke rose into the stratosphere from the hulls of bombed warships.

Then we zoomed down into the action and could actually see soldiers frantically scurrying about the decks of the various ships. But they didn't simply pop into existence; they realistically came into focus. While we couldn't pump any of them full of lead, we're still impressed by Blazing Angels' incredible visual clarity and detail regardless of our proximity to the action.

The game will feature a Campaign mode in which you will don the flight-suit of a novice World War II pilot, but the plot will mainly just be an excuse for you to participate in every major World War II air battle as an ally. Through this mode you'll presumably fly and unlock most of the game's forty planes, including Japanese Zeroes, German Messerschmitts, B-17 Flying Fortresses and P-51 Mustangs.

And while these craft will look historically accurate, from their tail rudders to their nose-pieces, they'll be much, much easier to fly than their real-life counterparts. Blazing Angels has wonderfully streamlined, responsive controls that will allow experienced pilots to pull off daring and complex maneuvers and novices to simply enjoy the experience of flying through beautiful locales while shooting things.

As you streak through the sly slinging hot lead and dropping bombs, you'll be accompanied by wingmen who will respond to your orders. While we haven't seen these guys in action, we're interested to see how this squad-based mechanic works within the framework of an airplane combat game.

Especially when it comes to the online co-operative play. Evidently, you and your friends will be able to jump into Blazing Angels' missions together and fight the forces of National Socialism. You'll also be able to fight each other in all sorts of online versus modes, although we don't know any specifics yet.

What we do know is that Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII looks amazing. Whether or not this game will capture the chaotic nature of war as we think we know it remains to be seen, but if the first glimpse is any indication, Blazing Angels is a war worth saving for this Fall.

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