Reviewed: August 25, 2008
Released: March 21, 2008
Screenshots (Click Image for Gallery)
If anyone has read my World War II Online review, they know that I am a fan of World War II games as well as flight sims, in particular. So, when I saw that WWII Aces was coming out, I was pretty excited. I really thought that with the Wii controls, a console would finally be able to have a pretty decent actual flight simulator.
I should have known better. Classifying this game a “flight simulator” is like calling going to the grocery store to pick up meat “hunting”.
This game is only a game. Only an arcade style shoot ‘em up in the air. Fortunately, they took the time to model actual airplanes that were used during the war, including the Spitfire, and the Me-109. The unfortunate thing (at least for me) comes when you realize that you are flying a super-plane that can single-handedly shoot down the entire enemy air force with unlimited ammunition and the ability to absorb damage all day long.
For me, if I’m going to play a flight simulation based on World War II, I want it to be an accurate representation. Or at least make it feel like it is accurate. This game is only accurate in that they use actual planes. Beyond that, the history lesson ends.
The developers give the player the option of playing with just the Wii-mote or with both the remote and the nunchuk together. The problem with this, for me, was that neither way really felt like the controls of an airplane. If you’re going to use the Wii-mote, you have to hold it sideways, like you do in most of the driving games, instead of straight up-and-down as you would naturally want to do (like a joystick). Then, if you connect the nunchuk, you control the plane with the nunchuk, which is (for me) held in the left hand…so I ended up switching what I normally do and held the nunchuk in my right hand to control the plane and used the Wii-mote in the left hand. Maybe the people that designed the control scheme were left-handed? I don’t know, but it was strange.
I did the first tutorial mission and thought that I’d have a pretty fun time with the game, even though it was really arcade-styled. It still had some promise of being enjoyable. But then, I got into the first actual mission and realized that the game was ridiculously difficult. Even though you can take a lot of damage and have infinite ammunition, you are put up against about a thousand enemy airplanes who all swarm you at the same time, so you spend way more time trying to avoid getting shot than you do actually taking aim and shooting at your enemy. If you take the time to go on the offensive, you end up taking a lot of damage from the other hundred airplanes behind you and you die. If you don’t try and shoot any of your enemies down, however, you are stuck avoiding them and aren’t able to complete your missions.
It was almost like they designed the game without thinking. One guy said, “Oh, the plane can take a lot of damage and has infinite ammo, so let’s put a lot of enemy airplanes in the missions.” But they didn’t take into account that this would not be fun for the person playing the game. I would much rather only have a few enemy planes, but have the ratio of how much damage I do to them and how much they do to me be much closer to equal.
So, in the end, even keeping in mind that this is not an actual flight simulation, but an arcade game based in the sky, I was still disappointed with the gameplay, feeling overwhelmed fighting one against a hundred.
For a Wii game, the graphics are alright. The airplane models are fairly accurate and the paint-jobs on them are pretty cool looking. The fighting looks good with the explosions and tracers from machine-gun fire. The graphics begin to lack with the environments. The ground and sky are usually pretty monotonous and any objects on the ground are usually fairly un-detailed. I guess they were counting on you not spending too much time looking at them, but they still become noticeable.
The sound effects are just about what you’d expect from a flight arcade. Nothing more, nothing less. Typical explosion sounds, repetitive airplane engine sounds, etc. The music is decent, giving the player a feel for the classic, World War II era. Also, having a sense of the dramatic.
Honestly, I played this game for at most an hour and am finding it really, really hard to convince myself to go back and play it again. I love World War II games and I really love airplane games, so if that gives you any idea of what to expect…I need say no more.
If you’re like I was and really want to give it a try, don’t buy it. Rent it. If you think I’m crazy and love it, feel free to buy it and have fun. I would be very surprised if you do.
This is a third-party game with not very high aspirations. Don’t let the “Wing Series” emblem on the cover fool you into thinking that it is official or historically accurate or anything of the sort.
Ultimately, I would say you’re wasting your time by playing this game.