|a game by||Interactive Magic|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 1 review|
|User Rating:||5.0/10 - 2 votes|
|Rate this game:|
When I first read the promo line for iF-22, I groaned: "The realistic simulation of the iF-22 Raptor" ... I figured that meant I'd be crashing it a lot, like if I really tried to fly one. But bless the designers at Interactive Magic, because not only is this a highly realistic flight sim, it has a bevy of easily accessible (and changeable) realism settings that make it stand out from the competition.
Five minutes out of the box I was mid-air over Bosnia getting a lock on a MIG. The ground was rolling beautifully by below and I was actually able to down an enemy plane without reading 100 pages of CTRL+ALT+M+A Note From Your Mother instructional gibberish. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the simplicity of learning the basics here; if you have ever purchased a contemporary combat flight sim, you know how tough these packages generally are to figure out. Don't get me wrong; iF-22 has tons of complexity, but it is manageable and can be incremented to higher and higher levels of difficulty and complexity as you feel ready.
You can choose from two full campaigns over either Bosnia or Ukraine, or can fly any mission singly. There are multiplayer modes, instant action skirmishes, night missions, tons of mission branches whereby your assignments are altered by your relative success or failure in previous missions, etc.
While these options are all solid aspects of the game, they are not novel to the combat flight sim genre. Whatis novel about this particular title is the whole look, feel and responsiveness of the aircraft and the environment through which you fly it. It's wonderful just to look at this game; there is a feeling of grace to the way your plane moves, the way it eases down out of the white blindness of the clouds to emerge over a snowy landscape of mountain ridges and nearly frozen rivers. It is an odd sensation in a game in which the goal is to seek and destroy enemy aircraft, but it is a huge bonus given that, as with all combat flight sims, a majority of your time in the sim is spent flying to and from targets, rather than dogfighting, making bombing runs, etc.
The bottom line to the gameplay: it's beautiful, fun, and polished. If you have the hardware to run it as it was intended to be run, and if you have any inclination to buy a flight sim, this is perhaps the best choice currently available.
I don't know what a real F-22 is like, but even with the difficulty turned up to the maximum, this one was flyable. Sure, it takes alot to stay aloft in combat with all the realism turned on, but with a low to medium realism setting, the plane is a blast to fly and is even relatively easy to take off and land. The folks at Interactive Magic did the best job I have ever seen in a modern flight sim with simplifying the controls and the control interface. There are not the usual 100+ multiple button combinations to learn, and you can even use a mouse to point and click, toggling realistic switches, dials, and other instruments in the cockpit. It's a very refreshing feeling to be competent at flying your plane just half an hour or so after you launch the game for the first time. There are more complex control combinations when you're ready, but 90% of the critical controls are explained in about 2 pages in the manual, and the design of the entire user interface is very intuitive. An excellent selling point if you're new to this genre.
Using the same sort of satellite imagery stitched over computer-generated topography as the likes of Jetfighter III and Flight Unlimited, iF-22 absolutely will blow you away with the sensation that you are flying over a very real landscape. In fact, the look of the environment is so real that other aircraft, the sun in the sky, etc. seem superimposed, as if on top of a photograph. This is the only negative thing I can say about the graphics, though; for me, the experience of flying, the sensation of moving at several hundred miles an hour over the eastern European countryside was breathtaking in a way that I have not previously seen in a combat title.
Such grandeur, of course, comes at a price in terms of performance. On my P-133 with a Matrox Millennium and a Righteous 3D accelerator, it flew beautifully; on an only slightly less beefy P-100 with a basic ATI card, it was noticeably choppy, so there is a definite break point where your enjoyment of this title will suffer considerably without the hardware it's hungry for.
Required: 100% Windows 95 compatible computer with Pentium 90 or better processor, 4X CD-ROM drive, 16 MB RAM, 1 MB SVGA local bus video card, input device (joystick strongly recommended)
Recommended: At least 32 MB RAM, P-133 or better, 3D accelerator card, 2MB SVGA 64-bit graphics card, digital joystick
iF-22 is a world-class combat flight sim. It combines the best of a hard sim with tons of realism options. And with an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use interface and enough gorgeous graphics, mission variation, and variety of difficulties to earn the appreciation of anyone interested in this genre, it truly stands above the competition. If there is a strike against this sim, it is that a fair number of system configurations will not have the processor or graphics horsepower needed to really appreciate the awesome experience of flying the F-22 Raptor as Interactive Magic has faithfully delivered it to the PC.