This action-oriented flight combat sim puts players in the cockpit of the futuristic fighter ship Sagittarius, to defend Earth from a deadly threat. Controls are fast and forgiving, as one might expect from a high-tech craft, and players are encouraged to use the terrain to their advantage -- flying low through canyons to avoid detection, for example, or weaving through a jagged mountain range to shake an enemy pursuer. The game's main campaign is titled "The Yager Missions," and is designed to offer an onslaught of high speed, low altitude dogfighting challenges. Aerial Strike: Low Altitude -- High Stakes features a total of 22 levels, in which players will face a range of enemy vessels, from quick, elusive fighters to heavily armed, heavily fortified battle cruisers. Some missions may call on virtual pilots to temporarily exit the Sagitarius and take control of a strategically placed gun turret.
The storyline follows the same type of story of most science fiction games. The world has advanced greatly in technology, and the security of the Earth remains at risk. As the player you assume the role of Magnus Tide, the pilot of one of the deadliest machines in the galaxy, the Sagittarius. So here we are, with our first downfall. The plot really is not that deep, and seems to just follow the cliché of every other science fiction game known to mankind.
The biggest flaw in the game, other than the shoddy game play itself, has to be the controls. It is almost impossible to enjoy this game due to the awkwardness of the controls. When you move the "jet" from hover mode to jet mode, you cannot raise or lower the altitude of the jet. What is that? That means to avoid hitting a hill I have to hit the space bar to go back into the hover mode to lift the jet up into the sky, and then hit my spacebar again to enter jet mode. The problem with jet mode is it just seems ridiculously strange. Flying the ship feels like flying a 10,000 pound piece of metal. It just feels like there is absolutely no control to me.
You start out with the basic level training, which goes through everything you need to know. Unfortunately it is difficult to get through. You are required to dogfight your own wingman and for some reason it took me until my umpteenth try to get past that little bit. The rest of it is pretty simple, but just seems like a waste of time. There should be an option for a tutorial in the game if I wish to do that, otherwise I should not have to waste a large portion of time flying around in circles. Yeah, I know it is nice to learn the game before you jump right into it, but I do not think the game has enough depth to it for me to waste over half an hour in a training mission. I would rather just learn it as I go.
Now, as to not look like I'm destroying this game, I would like to focus on the best part of the game. The graphics. For a game that is obviously done on a low-end budget, the graphics are extremely well done. The twenty-two levels are fantastically detailed, and very well done. The sun reflection off of the water around the islands is amazing, and some of the best I have seen since playing Far Cry on the computer. Unfortunately the game play and controls of this game are not stellar at all, and so even the superb eye candy cannot save this game.
The game play is just like any other type of flying game. Basically there is just twenty-two levels that you fly around with to complete the mission. The missions are extremely linear, and there are nothing really changes the next time you play it. The missions are not exactly poorly done, they do have some quality behind them. The only problem is the game is fairly short after you play it, and the quality just seems to be lacking.
The game CAN be fun if you are not really going into it expecting a lot. The graphics are pretty amazing to me, the controls are awkward, and the sound leaves a lot to be desired. It is not that the sound is that bad, but I feel like I am playing Toe Jam and Earl III on the Xbox in terms of the sound of the character in the first part of training. It makes me feel like I am playing a game for five year old or something.
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