Positive: Easy enough to pick up and play, arcade-like gameplay is executed well, can get hectic online, good atmosphere.
Negative: Framerate issues, minor visual problems, lock-on system may cause disorientation.
Blazing Angels II is ultimately a sequel that attempts to distinguish itself from its WWII plane-fighting predecessor, while still providing an arcade-like experience to a genre that is often considered uninteresting. Developed by Ubisoft Romania, Blazing Angels II does not feature much historical accuracy, but instead focuses on prototype aircraft from WWII as well as some weaponry that wasn’t exactly developed in World War Two.
For the most part, Blazing Angels II plays like its predecessor and allows players to choose an arcade-style control scheme or a slightly more realistic configuration. Flying the many aircraft is a breeze and allows the players focus on the action as any arcade-styled game should. Players can also use the lock-on feature, which automatically moves the camera view to the nearest enemy or whatever the player sets as their primary target. The lock-on feature works well most of the time, but some skill is required when it comes to manoeuvring the aircraft due to the fact that some players may get disoriented.
That smoke needs to be checked out…
One of the more significant modifications to the game is a close-range, defence weaponry system. These defences range from engine clogging smoke to Tesla coils that can defend against multiple nearby enemy aircraft. All of the defensive weaponry is included in the main single player campaign, but is clearly intended for multiplayer. In Blazing Angels I, online dogfights sometimes wound up becoming an annoying game of cat and mouse.
Another worthy addition to Blazing Angels II is “Prestige Points.” Players can earn these points by shooting down enemies and stringing together kills will result in multipliers. Prestige Points will allow players to upgrade their weaponry and even their wingmen between missions. The wingmen are occasionally useful, and can be issued commands using the d-pad. It is also worth noting that instead of having one aircraft per mission; players can now choose which aircraft they would like to play the mission with.
The online multiplayer has a good amount of modes, ranging from free-for-all to capture the flag. There is generally not too much lag on a server, although it really does depend on the connections the players have. However, it will be interesting to see how everything holds up later on in the game’s life. Playing online can be fun, as well as hectic, but as with any other online game, lag can ruin the fun.
Visually, Blazing Angels II is hit and miss. While some environments look good, others have a rather bland feel to them and could have been more polished. However, this isn’t as big of a deal as it might be in other games, due to the fact that players are flying around in mid air, and rarely paying much attention to the ground. All the aircraft in the game are modeled well, but some jerky movements occasionally occur when switching the flying direction. The framerate crumbles to its knees when there is too much action going on at once, but luckily this doesn’t occur often. On occasion, screen tearing will occur and while not being that big of a deal, it still is annoying.
“Blazing Angels II can get very hectic, especially when played online.”
The game’s sound features some WWII orchestral pieces, which are not very well done and wind up sounding generic. The voice-overs are pretty good for the most part but as with most games not every line is top-notch. Typically there is constant chatter during missions that helps create atmosphere along with background music, and of course sound effects. Plane motors sounds pretty good, but weapons wind up suffering the same fate that the orchestral pieces do.
Blazing Angels II: Secret Missions of WWII is a solid game but not without its faults. The game’s OK presentation and mediocre sound do not hamper the hectic pace and fun of it. However, Ubisoft Romania has managed to improve Blazing Angels II from its predecessor. Fans of flying sims don’t have much to find here, but players that are looking for an arcade-styled, pick up and play action game will appreciate what Blazing Angels II has to offer.