Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
Finding flight simulators that present a complete package is a rarity as some handle great with a solid interface but the missions are lame or the graphics may be excellent but the game is over almost before it started. Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge however manages to overcome these issues with a complete package, giving a remarkable performance in almost every aspect of the game.
Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is set in an alternate time line in the 1930's where the US has broken apart into separate countries and the majority of the ground travel between them has been decimated. As a result, traveling through the air has become the preferred mode of transportation but has also spurred piracy. You'll follow Nathan Zachary through a well-developed story line that immerses you into a rich universe. You'll have numerous planes to pilot, interaction with your surroundings such as manning ground turrets during a mission or switching planes, and enough missions to make the single player option worth the price alone. In addition, upgrades to the planes are available when enough cash and tokens are collected, encouraging the player to finish the various side missions offered.
Crimson Skies also enables the Xbox Live feature and is so good it may generate a new round of subscriptions. With the tight controls and balanced gameplay, the dogfights are really something to experience. All sorts of techniques and strategies can be used, creating one of the best multiplayer experiences to date. The only notable issue arises when numerous players are in the same game, performance suffers, but if you have 16 players in one game that's pretty much expected.
In addition to the gameplay and other features, the graphics also make a strong showing with high levels of detail and beautifully rendered environments. In addition to just having great looking planes, all of the different vehicles give similar visual performances and show real time damage.
As one of the better games released on the Xbox this year, Crimson Skies makes an unexpected impact with an all around solid performance. Few flight simulators have put together a successful feature set such as this one spanning gameplay to graphics to multiplayer options. Crimson Skies is definitely not one to pass up as even those who haven't enjoyed this genre in the past may want to give it a try.
Download Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge
Planes Up, Tallyhos Down
You can fly the plane out of the hangar? That's a good start, but it doesn't cut it when you have a pack of bogies on your six. Until you can pull off a loop-de-loop in your sleep, you had better study up.
On an attack run, approach from the rear and fire off all your weaponry. Attack runs are the preferred method of combat if you have only a few enemies to worry about or think you can get a sneak attack off.
Don't attack a zeppelin from the side; that's where all the guns are, silly. Look for the best angle on the target--which is usually from behind or from a better defensive position, like between buildings that shield you from surrounding enemies or return fire. If possible, ride the brake on the approach to give you more time to inflict damage. Against bigger threats, hold down your primary weapon and launch your secondary weapons. That's the old one-two punch.
As you pass the target, switch to full turbo and high-tail it away from return-fire range ASAP. When the enemy blip reaches the edge of your radar, turn and attack again.
Those rotten Dos Muertos and Die Spinne villains also use attack runs. But they get so caught up in the moment that they're easy pickings for a wily flyer.
Lead your fire in front of an enemy on an attack run. During missions in which you must guard a zeppelin or key military objective, enemies will often line up for attack runs at your charge. Unless the object you are guarding is on its last legs, let the bad guys line up all they want. While they pour down on the target, trigger a steady stream of gunfire directly in front of an incoming plane. If you lead your enemy just right, they'll blow up halfway to the target.
The Tight Turn
Flying out in the open air is a breeze, but if you're dogfighting in an enclosed area, the tight turn is your new best friend. It keeps you moving (making you harder to hit) and stops you from crashing into obstacles. Once you get good at tight turns, you can fire at the same target over and over again. It may be kind of boring, but it works.
Just when you thought all air-combat games were stuck on autopilot, along zips this stellar and stylish shooter to kick the genre's tires and light its fires. And spotting why Skies soars is easy. It packs boffo visuals, from the heat of your plane's engines to the lush jungle canyons of the South American level. And the freeform mission structure (you pick the jobs you want while exploring the massive environments) delivers an outstanding variety of stuff to do. You'll engage in simple escort missions and supply runs one minute, then find yourself locked in epic blimp-on-blimp action the next. But it's your plane's incredibly fluid feel that turbo boosts the fun here into the stratosphere. Whether you're juking enemies, pulling a high-g special move, or barreling between Chicago's skyscraper canyons, control is magic--like you're practically flying this thing with your mind. You'll appreciate being so in touch with your aircraft in the outstanding online modes, which again are more fleshed-out and require more strategic play than anything else in the genre.
Crimson Skies aces every other air-combat game out there. Sterling controls let you plummet past skyscrapers, shake bogies in congested streets, and power climb to reengage zeppelins high above the city. Imagine Panzer Dragoon's corkscrewing chases and death-defying drops, unscripted and open to interpretation. The bosses, each with its own ingeniously exploitable pattern and weak spot, are just as brilliant. Only the multiplayer modes--namely splitscreen--are Milquetoast, but it hardly matters.
Painting the skies red with other people's blood might be the most fun you can have with your pants still on. In Crimson Skies' solo play, taking the role of sky pirate Nathan Zachary involves running the gamut of sky-faring combat missions in fantastically pretty locales. Better yet is the multiplayer mode, where the game gives the middle finger to such pleasantries as "story" and serves up white-knuckle dogfighting. As planes cut and turn every way and shrapnel fills the skies, the resultant action is video joy.