Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Innocent Aces quickie

Okay, its been months since I've posted anything here, even though I fully intended to do so sooner anyways.  So what is there to say?  I don't know.  I played and saw alot of things, but really ran out of any desire to write about any of those things since I didn't get around to talking about them sooner.  Go me!  And go procrastination!  But since I'm here, I should probably talk about something...

The Sky Crawlers:  Innocent Aces

This game came out for the Nintendo Wii in the US earlier this year.  It was a small time release, and the cover art was pretty bad (the promotional cover art was better), and I don't believe it sold that well.  Innocent Aces is a tie-in game to Mamoru Oshii's animated film from 2008, The Sky Crawlers.  The game does not follow the plot of  the film, and even appears unconnected if not for the presence of Kildren and WWII style planes.  It is, however, a prequel, with the actual connection to the film not being made until the game's ending, and even then it is only noticeable if the player has also seen the movie.

Anyways, the game was produced by Project Aces, the team behind the Ace Combat series, and could best be described as "Ace Combat Light".  It looks like an up-rezzed PS2 game, despite the Wii being more powerful than it.  Overall, its rather easy, with only the two or three ace battles providing any kind of real challenge.

That brings us to the controls.  While the game has Classic Controller support (which, in my opinion, is preferable to the default), the default control scheme is Wii-mote and Nunchuk motion control, using the Nunchuk as an aircraft yolk with Wii-mote controlling throttle.  It works on an immersion level, but since the Nunchuk only has an accelerometer and no sensor, it ends up not being responsive enough.  As well, the yaw controls (for fine left/right turning movements) is mapped to the Wii-mote's d-pad instead of the Nunchuk's analog stick.  The analog stick instead maps several combat maneuvers that are difficult to pull off with such imprecise controls, namely barrel rolls and various types Immulman turns.  These maneuvers are possible with the Classic Controller, but the use of these maneuvers is faster than doing them yourself.

More of the gameplay, however, hinges on the use of more specialized "Tactical Maneuvers".  In most cases, they are effectively kill-commands, with the exceptions being the ace battles.  These maneuvers are crucial to success since you are relying on unguided weapons to take out (usually) fast moving targets.  Whenever you are within attack range of anenemy that you're locked onto, a gauge onscreen fills up to up to 3 levels.  As soon as one level is filled, and you remain within range, you can use it to pull off a Tactical Maneuver, which is represented by the game temporarily taking control from you and pulling off a series of impossible maneuvers in orderto put you directly behind the enemy so that you can shoot them.  Harder enemies, including the aces, require higher level maneuvers to get behind, though you'll never be close enough long enough to get past a level one fill.  This whole sysetem is generally what makes the game easy, since so many concessions had to be made for the default control scheme, while if makes the ace battles (especially the final battle) much harder, since the maneuvers will get you near the ace, but not behind them.

Music is pretty good, with a sort of Celtic beat to it.  It does not include any music from the film, but all of it seems like it could easily have come from it.  The music for several of the major battles (including the final battle) is definitely one of the best of the game.  Kinda wish there was a soundtrack available somewhere.

Well, I was originally hoping to do some short paragraphs on multiple games.  Guess that didn't work out though.  But maybe doing some short ones now and them will help me get stuff on here more often.

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