|a game by||Interactive Associates|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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From the clunky WarBirds clone graphics of its first release, to the smooth, good-looking animations of the latest release, Aces High has come a long way. Not content with confining itself to World War II dog fighting, Aces High has finally introduced tanks and antiaircraft vehicles to the game. So, is it all good news?
The short answer is no, but not through any fault of the developers. While Aces' graphics are at the cutting edge of current graphic technology, its launch was shadowed online by the release of the WarBirds III Beta. While it may seem small fry in the grand scheme of things, the flight sim online community is so incestuous (everybody knows someone who knows... etc) that what was actually a major update resulted in a 'keeping up appearances' show (remember the Duke Nukem launch that was overshadowed by Quake?) Aces High 1.06 has numerous additions, of which the most noteworthy are the Fw 190D-9, Fw 190F-8, P-51B, Tempest V, La-7, Yak-9T, Ar 234B and Ta152 H planes.
Now, although this may look like gibberish, the Tempest is of major importance, as not only was it one of the best aircraft of WWII, it was also British -something many American developers choose to ignore (and usually don't add to their game). Well, Americans do like to rewrite history, as U571 proved. (If you haven't seen the film, don't. It's a pile of old donkey's poo.)
In addition to the extra aircraft, also sees the introduction of new cloud layers, but this hasn't turned out quite as one would have hoped. In IL2 Stvormick, entering layers gave a gradual reduction of visibility until you eventually hit thick cloud and couldn't see squat. Not so Aces High. While approaching the cloud reduces what you can see, once you hit the cloud it's like an on/off switch has been thrown. Suddenly the view is obscured white, and the second you leave the mist, the switch is thrown and you're back to 20/20 vision. While this may have been easier to program, comparisons with the most recent games leave Aces High in the shade. Hopefully, this will be fixed in the next revision.
The High Life
Despite the cosmetic changes, Aces High is the same as it ever was. Now this is no bad thing, as the game has a very strong community, some great visuals and a good choice of aircraft. It was, and still is, the only flight sim to actually allow players to fly the Lancaster Bomber (the pride of the RAF).
But sadly, the best bi-plane in the world won't stand up to the earliest jet, and technology has overtaken Aces High, with IL -2 setting the standard by which all other flight sims are measured. Aces is the Sopworth Camel of the flight sim market - it's the epitome of today's technology, but just as the Germans crushed all with their technology in WWII, so will the next gen of flight sims wipe out most of the current ones.
Aces High is fantastic, but everyone's seen what's just around the corner. A great game with no future. At least not in its current form.