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Posted on May 5, 2010 in Electronic Games

Wings of Prey – PC Game Review

By Singleton Mosby

Wings of Prey. PC Game. Developed by Gaijin Entertainment. $49.99

Passed Inspection: Beautiful and polished graphics, thrilling aerial-combat, loads of missions.

Failed Basic: The gap between Arcade and Realistic flying-modes is too large: Arcade is fun but not all that satisfying and Realistic is so difficult by comparison that some players may give up before mastering it. Hardcore flight-sim enthusiasts won’t like the fact that all missions begin with the plane already in flight.

After seeing my plane disappear below the waves a dozen times I knew what not to do.

"The Mustang fleeing before two Fockes came into my sights. From barely fifty yards I pumped my death-dealing lead into the narrow fuselage. A flame spurted and the Mustang exploded like a ball of fire. I huddled in my cockpit as the debris from the wrecked Mustang hissed past me."

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That description of combat comes from Alert in the West; a Luftwaffe Pilot on the Western Front by Will Heimann, a Focke-Wulf pilot during the ’44 and ’45 campaigns. You can expect a similar situation in Wings of Prey, flying through the dense smoke left behind by a wrecked plane circling towards the deck, your cockpit’s Perspex smeared with drops of oil that gradually run off. If you are too close when your target explodes, large chunks of debris may damage or even wreck your aircraft. We don’t see many WWII-era flight-sims these days, but that didn’t keep the Russian company Gaijin Entertainment from creating a thrilling, adrenaline-packed and above all beautiful simulated flying experience in Wings of Prey.

During the course of a 50-mission campaign players can fight for British freedom in the Battle of Britain, Russian survival above Stalingrad and Koshun, and achieve the destruction of Nazi Germany with the Americans over Sicily, the Ardennes and Berlin.

For my money, Wings of Prey is the most beautiful and polished flight-sim currently on the market. It offers 44 splendidly crafted and highly detailed aircraft, both fighters and bombers, split equally between the Axis and the Allies, with the emphasis on the Russians. Highly detailed and, for the most part, convincing terrain reflects every corner of embattled Europe. The Dover area, for example, is very convincingly mapped: marvelous landscape, small English villages and the famous white cliffs all add to the immersion. So are most of the other maps although I am a bit critical about some of them.

Stalingrad and the Bulge are not as well done; both of these maps are quite bland. The big cities in the Stalingrad and Leningrad maps are downright ugly and unrealistic; it’s best not get below 1.000 feet when fighting in these areas. The biggest lack in all of the maps, however, is a front line: there is no visual combat or action depicted on the ground.

The sound is very nicely done and switches with the different modes of view. When you are looking from behind the plane-the best angle for keeping a good overview of the situation-you hear the humming of the engine in front of you. From within the cockpit it sounds like you are strapped to a roaring, stamping engine. Push the throttle to the max and then just a bit more and you will hear a delightful scream as your crate jumps forwards. The chattering of machineguns and cannon is altogether different in from both views as well, and I thoroughly enjoyed machineguns blazing to both sides and in front while battling Jerry above the Dover Straits. You can become completely immersed, feeling the reverberation and tilting your head when you take a sharp evasive turn.

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