Jane's Attack Squadron
World War II is good subject matter for flight sims, and not just for saddos who never quite shook off their Airfix fixation. The prop planes that battled in their thousands over the skies of Europe were much simpler than today's efforts - meaning less controls to learn. Killing your opponent involved getting in a lot closer than today's 'beyond visual range' encounters - meaning better explosions. But what does Jane's Attack Squadron have going for it that we haven't already seen from the likes of IL-2 Sturmovik and Combat Flight Sim 22 JAS is set over Western Europe and the blurb on the box contains all the usual guff about the number of flyable aircraft (14) and the number of million square miles of accurately modelled terrain (one... million that is). There are no surprises among the flyable fighters, but a rather cool feature is that you can either fly the bombers, or man the gun and bombardier positions.
Thin On The Ground
The selection of missions is somewhat sparse. In fact, it's very bloody sparse indeed. You get four training missions and a grand total of five single missions. And that's not five per plane, or even five per airforce. That's five in total. The two campaigns are a source of further action, but it would be a lot simpler if you could just fly the missions separately, since they're just sequences of largely unlinked single missions anyway. However, there's a decent quick mission editor, and a much more complete mission editor, which is pretty complicated and unfortunately doesn't come with any instructions. But it will be only a matter of time before people who are much more arsed than the rest of us figure it out and put their creations up on the Web.
Give Us Explosions
Strange as it may seem, the graphics in JAS are its best and worst feature. The effects and plane damage are meaty enough, and the lighting from the sun is impressive. But the plane models are pretty poor by today's standards, and while the terrain looks OK up high, lower down it's devoid of any features apart from some very modernlooking buildings. Having said all this, the actual gameplay is very entertaining, especially when you're controlling a bomber. The gunner positions are great fun, and there's an excellent 'bombdoor view' that you can switch to when you... ahem... dump your load. Frame-rates are generally pretty good, too, although things can get a bit jerky when there's a lot going on. The Al is also another strong point, and the enemy planes work pretty hard at sticking to your tail.
It's a shame, but JAS seems like something of a missed opportunity. There's enough potential here to produce a very decent game, but the lack of missions and poor plane models smack of a title that's not quite complete. Having said that, it looks like there will be plenty of missions and other mods available to address some of these shortcomings, so here's hoping it evolves into something a lot more polished.
Download Jane's Attack Squadron
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP