Combat Wings: The Great Battles of World War II Hands-On

We take to the skies and engage in dogfights and bombing runs on a few different Allied fronts in this action-oriented flight simulator.


Combat Wings: The Great Battles of World War II takes you to the dangerous skies of WWII, putting you in control of Allied fighters and bombers tasked with missions to stop the Axis powers. We got our hands on the game at E3 2010 and, after a few botched takeoff attempts, managed to do our part to support the war effort.

Who's Making It: City Interactive is both developing and publishing Combat Wings. Though it has a lot of experience creating PC games (including two previous Combat Wings titles), this will be only its second Wii game.

What It Looks Like: The airplane models all look true to the original aircraft, including the P-38 Lightning and the Spitfire. The four different fronts each offer a unique look, from the lush patchwork countryside of England to the dusty coastal towns and sprawling desert of Africa. Russia and the Pacific are also represented, and though the visuals aren't what you'd call sharp, they do a good job of creating a sense of place and a feeling of speed.

What You Do: There are 29 missions across the four fronts. One mission we played began as a routine patrol to scare off some enemy scouts but blossomed into a full-on dogfight as the enemy scouts were revealed to be more numerous than expected. Another put us in the cockpit of a bomber and sent us into the Russian forest to stop a company of tanks and then eliminate their air support.

How It Plays: The nunchuk serves as the flight stick, and you tilt and twist appropriately to steer. The analog stick is the throttle, and it can be a bit tricky initially to get the hang of managing the throttle and steering with the same hand. Fortunately, Combat Wings is fairly forgiving when it comes to the physics of flight, focusing on fun over strict realism.

What We Say: Combat Wings: The Great Battles of World War II is looking like a solid new entry in the fairly unoccupied niche of flight simulators for the Wii. While the action was good, but not great, we are intrigued about the included multiplayer modes. Though we didn't get to try it out, there appeared to be a two-person split-screen mode, as well as the possibility of online multiplayer that, alas, City Interactive was not commenting on at the time. We'll bring you an update as soon as we know more in advance of the game's planned August release.

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