bitComposer’s Air Conflicts: Secret Wars almost crept from nowhere in recent maps to become an interesting proposition: here on PlayStation 3 gamers have several control options available, including various schemes involving the employment of the PlayStation Move motion-controller. It’s a game designed to be treated as a realistic simulation, but not at the expense of your entertainment.
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars doesn’t break the basic rules of the Arcade-style flight videogame. It’s more about entertaining conflict than realistic controls; happier to draw on your reflexes as opposed to your attention to detail. In essence, Air Conflicts: Secret Wars is as it explains itself in the Instructed Manual: it’s a work of fiction, based on real life occurrences. It’s a game that is made to be played and enjoyed rather than practice at, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a challenge in places.
Featuring nearly fifty missions across several campaigns, Air Conflicts: Secret Wars provides a single player experience that recalls the story of one Dorothy Derbec – DeeDee to her friends – as she attempts to find her father. The player will eventually unfold the story of Guillaume Derbec as they play through the game providing the hook for completion of campaign missions. Each mission has a series of unique objectives which the player will be briefed on before beginning, and subsequently detailed via radio chatter in-game. Objectives can change however, so the player will need to keep their options open.
In addition to the single-player campaign comes the multi-player game. An online only affair, Air Conflicts: Secret Wars caters for up to eight players in one of four game modes. The standard Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag games are accompanied by Destroy & Protect, a team-based mode in which players must find the enemy targets and destroy them before the same is done to their own assets. Air Conflicts: Secret Wars is presented well online, though at present finding a game may not be as easy as you would hope.
One of the most poignant aspect of Air Conflicts: Secret Wars is of course that of the varied control schemes available. There are four predominant methods; and arcade and simulation mode on the standard controller and two using the PlayStation Move, one with the Navigation Controller and the other using just the left half of the standard controller. Further options are available – such as being able to player with just the PlayStation move controller – but for those intending on investing a significant amount of time in the game there’s no need in looking beyond the main four. Each of these control systems has unique benefits and it could be argued that none is stronger than the others, though upon progressing through the single-player game the challenge did appear to increase more dramatically when using the PlayStation Move motion control. Should you be very familiar with using the device for guidance in a 3D space however, there’s unlikely to be any serious hurdles until much later in the game.
Air Conflicts: Secret Wars is a good looking game, but is hardly of top tier quality. It’s a shame that such a gulf has begun occurring between the biggest budget titles and slightly smaller productions such as this, as Air Conflicts: Secret Wars is let down by the visual quality more than any other aspect. It’s perfectly capable of delivering the pace and drama of a mid-air combat zone as you would hope, but the lack of polish becomes apparent during more hectic moments. The inclusion of a stereoscopic 3D option is a very much welcome addition, but obviously only for the minority of gamers with the equipment necessary to enjoy it to its fullest.
As a game packed with content that’s deep enough to engross air combat fans, Air Conflicts: Secret Wars is short on competition at present. It’s a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and that is perhaps its biggest asset. Air Conflicts: Secret Wars may only sell to those gamers with an already established interest in the subject matter, but it will be welcoming to anyone that picks-up that flight stick. Air Conflicts: Secret Wars does redefine the genre, but then it was never meant to: it’s been designed as accessible entertainment, and in that regard it’s most definitely mission accomplished.