Guest Author - James Shea
A historical World War 2 flight sim, "Wings of Prey" tries to appeal to both casual and hardcore players by including both "arcade" and "simulator" elements.
Wings of Prey is a fairly standard World War 2 flight sim. There's fifty-odd planes and six major theaters of the war, including the Battle of Britain and the Invasion of Sicily. However, one major thing that separates WoP from other flight sims is its scaling difficulty. Much like Silent Hunter V, WoP's difficulty is based on turning on certain realistic elements. This means that it's possible to play a simplified "arcade" version of the game, with infinite ammo and fuel, or if you want a challenge you can take it up to "realistic" or "simulator", where physics become much more harsh and supplies are a big deal.
In general, WoP's content feels kind of limited. The scaling difficulty is neat, and allows casual players to get some use out of the game, but in general it feels too limited for a WW2 game. There's limited technology to begin with; planes handle subtly differently, but not notably so. All fighter craft are basically the same, at least to the eyes of a casual player. There's only a few "maps", and the missions are generally pretty simplistic (destroy bombers, destroy fighters, escort bombers, attack ground emplacements, etcetera). If you enjoy the basic gameplay, this might not be a problem, but if you're only half-heartedly enjoying it, then it's not really going to get better.
The game's multiplayer is limited to competitive modes like "dogfight" and "airfield capture". It's kind of fun in a general sense, but once again it comes down to whether or not you enjoy WW2 flight stuff. If you do, you'll probably enjoy the multiplayer - if not, its content will probably be too limited for you.
The graphics in the game are pretty nice. It's actually one of the few flight sims I've played that actually feels like there's cities stretched out beneath you, and the detail on the planes and cockpits are pretty impressive, as well. However, this didn't really hold up, since everything in the game that's not "your plane" or "a city" is really too far away to see well anyways. It's a nice thought, but it ends up being vaguely unnecessary.
The controls were fairly difficult with a mouse and keyboard. Your hands are required to be pretty much everywhere on the keyboard as well as the mouse, so you have to constantly move your hands around instead of doing what most games do and simply finding a good place to rest your hands. Of course, as a flight game, it's obviously meant to be played with a joystick, but as keyboard/mouse control schemes go it wasn't the best.
In total, Wings of Prey isn't a bad game. It definitely made an effort to accommodate less "hardcore" players, and it looks pretty nice. However, it just feels like the content is too limited. There's only a few mission types, and while there's six different "theaters" the differences between them aren't particularly appreciable except in the fact that there's different maps. Games like the Battlefield series managed to combine similar flight mechanics with a larger game, so it just feels strange that this game is so limited in content-terms. Overall, it's not a bad game, but it won't attract any converts who didn't already like flight sims.
Purchased with our own funds through Steam.