E3 2011: Air Conflicts: Secret Wars Preview - First Look

We get a lesson in dogfighting while seeing Air Conflicts: Secret Wars at this year's E3.

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Air Conflicts: Secret Wars may be set in the World War II era, but it's not your typical military flight game. While other games pride themselves on realism, Secret Wars takes a more relaxed approach. Its arcade-style gameplay harks back to Crimson Skies rather than any version of Flight Simulator. While touring the show floor at this year's E3, we stopped by publisher Kalypso's booth to see how this light-heated flight game is coming along.

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While Secret Wars is an arcade flight game, players more adapt at simulated flight controls will also find the option available to them. Whichever method your choose, you'll be playing as Dee Dee--the descendant of a World War I flying ace with her own role to play in the Second World War. Your struggle will take you through 49 missions from Europe to North Africa as you participate in dogfights, escort missions, stealth operations, and more. Some missions will even transport you back in time to World War I, complete with all the cumbersome, era-appropriate aircraft.

In between missions, there are a few ways to tweak your combat performance. Your plane's speed or maneuverability can be adjusted to suit the type of mission you'll be tackling next. Dee Dee will also unlock new abilities at set points during the campaign. One of these abilities is adrenaline, which is the game's equivalent of bullet time. Using adrenaline, you can line up that perfect shot against the enemy and score a critical hit on your opponent (which indicates you killed the pilot). Afterward, your opponent's plane will drop out of the air like a stone.

In the mission we saw, Dee Dee was tasked with sneaking past a German aerial patrol and eliminating some of the enemy's spies. It was explained that the key to doing this was to fly low and slow to avoid detection. However, the person piloting this demo decided to fly fast and kick butt for some added excitement. He also showed us how to pull a quick and dirty 180-degree turn by cutting the engines and opening the plane's flaps to full. While this may not be the safest tactic to use in an actual dogfight, it did help our pilot make quick work of the enemy troops.

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If bombing the AI just isn't satisfying enough for you, Secret Wars will support up to eight-versus-eight multiplayer battles. You and your buddies can shoot each other out of the sky across several different modes, including Dogfight, Team Dogfight, and King of the Hill. With simple controls and cartoonish style, Air Conflicts: Secret Wars seems like an easygoing way to blow up some Nazis. The game will be released this August for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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