Combat Wings: The Great Battles of World War II Preview -- Flying the Unfriendly Skies...of History!By Leah Jackson - Posted Aug 15, 2011
Combat Wings: The Great Battles of World War II is a flight simulation title from City Interactive USA. With this high flying game, you'll be able to sit in the cockpit of over 50 different planes while getting a broad overview of some of the major events from World War 2. While not exactly the most action packed or best looking game, Combat Wings does offer a lot of rich, interesting history, and with the unique and even unusual planes that you'll get to pilot, soaring through the missions we were shown in a recent demo session was a delight.
There are four campaigns within Combat Wings: The Great Battles of World War II that span 30 missions. The British, African, Russian, and Pacific campaigns offer players the opportunity to fly with a different pilot and learn more about the war from the perspective of these different countrymen. Key events from WWII will play out during the game, like the famous battle of Iwo Jima in different types of missions including bombing runs, escort missions, dogfights, timed objectives, and more. Some missions call for the player to destroy the opposing forces, while others ask you to complete an objective like sinking a submarine before it submerges too deep out of a harbor.
In order to complete the missions, each plane is equipped with different weapons including bombs, rockets, torpedoes, and of course unlimited bullets. What's really awesome about the flight in Combat Wings is the newly implemented “Ace Mode.” Ace Mode is there for players who need some help getting used to flying the planes. It guides you towards your target, allowing you to focus on aiming rather than finding the objective. This mode was very helpful for a beginner like myself, but even the developer who was showing off the demo used Ace Mode a lot to make for a much more fluid flight experience.
Instead of offering a more realistic flight simulator, Combat Wings instead wants to focus on bringing the fast-paced action to the forefront when it comes to the combat. Shooting enemy planes becomes much easier when you're closer to other planes, allowing for more in-your-face moments and epic explosions when you finally hit the other planes. These “reward shots” offer cinematic Michael Bay-esque cinematic sequences where you get to watch your opponent's plane explode out of the air. Combat Wings' damage system is quite dynamic as well, so if you hit another plane's wing for example, only the wing is going to fly off. The damage system is specific to where you hit other crafts, and it's the same for your own plane.
This gives you even more options if you want to take planes out in certain ways. Strategy is a huge factor in Combat Wings. Each mission offers a variety of ways to complete each objective, and it's up to your personal playstyle as to how you want to finish things off. You can also choose to go for bonus objectives to increase your mission score points, which will eventually unlock even more aircraft.
The missions in the game all seemed quite short, and with a veteran flight sim player guiding me through the levels, he was able to finish each of them in about ten minutes if he didn't do any of the bonus objectives. The point of this, according to the developers, was to allow people the chance to pick up Combat Wings, play a few missions, and then be able to still have time to keep going, whereas in other flight simulators one level might take an extremely long time to complete; this game is a bit more casual friendly.
We didn’t get the chance to test out the multiplayer modes or too many missions from the game, but from what we saw, Combat Wings is coming along nicely. Anything can change from now until the title releases for the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 later this year, so if you’re a fan of flight sims and World War 2 in general, be sure to keep your eyes peeled.