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TGS 2005: World Airforce Hands-On

We take to the skies with a demo version of this Xbox 360 combat flight sim.


TGS 2005: If flying a fighter plane is difficult, then attempting to fly a fighter plane when you've had only a minute to stare blankly at a set of instructions in Japanese would surely be tantamount to suicide. Fortunately for us it was only our pride that was put on the line when we picked up an Xbox 360 controller to get hands-on with a demo version of World Airforce, and we're pleased to report that it survived intact--for the most part.

The demo version of World Airforce that we got to play offered two missions--one using arcade controls and the other using simulation controls. We opted for the arcade mission the first time up and found ourselves staring at the back of a Japanese F-15J tasked with intercepting and destroying a number of bogeys. The mission was surprisingly easy, not only because we appeared to be armed with a never-ending supply of fire-and-forget missiles that required little effort to lock on to targets, but also because the handling of our plane made getting the enemies into our sights a walk in the park for the most part. So, ready to set TGS alight with a performance worthy of Top Gun, we headed for the simulation mission.

Yeah, Top Gun...After two minutes of sitting stationary on the deck of an aircraft carrier we finally figured out how to get our American F/A-18E into the air, and then it only took us another 15 seconds or so to figure out how to put our landing gear away so that the annoying "gear" light in the cockpit would go out. About 10 seconds later our cockpit's heads-up display turned from green to red, and the word "warning" was repeated several times. Using the right analog stick to turn our pilot's head we were able to see the bogey that had us in his sights, and we also got a good look at how detailed our cockpit was--right before it got blown up with the rest of our plane.

Perhaps we'd have fared better in the dangerous skies of World Airforce if we had understood enough Japanese to figure out the control instructions, but it did seem like the difference in difficulty between the two levels was overly dramatic. If the demo levels are representative of the final game, perhaps it might benefit from a third difficulty level that falls somewhere between the existing two.

We'll bring you more information on World Airforce as soon as it becomes available.

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