A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this World War II aerial combat simulation lets players shoot down enemy aircraft and drop bombs on bases and tanks. It's not graphic, but violence is the core game-play component. Parents may prefer the kind of war-based conflict in this game over games played from a more immersive and graphic first-person perspective, such as Call of Duty 3.
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What's it about?
Climb into the cockpit of more than 50 authentic World War II aircraft, including the famous P-51 Mustang and British Spitfire, in Ubisoft's BLAZING ANGELS: SQUADRONS OF WWII. You'll assume the role of an ace pilot who must take on the Germans and Japanese in missions in Berlin, London, the North African desert, and Hawaii. This PS3 version also includes two exclusive missions -- North Sea and New Georgia Island in the Pacific -- along with 11 new aircraft, such as the Boulton Paul Defiant and De Havilland Mosquito. Mission objectives vary, but most involve listening to a briefing, assigning orders to your squad mates, locking onto targets in the unfriendly skies, and of course, blasting the enemy into oblivion. Other missions involve taking photographs of activity on the ground or bombing runs. Supports up to 16 players in multiplayer modes.This PS3 version also contains a bonus squadron-based multiplayer game, dubbed Base Assault, not found in other versions of Blazing Angels.
Is it any good?
The gorgeous graphics suffer from poor frame rates, which cause the action to slow down whenever there are a lot of planes or tanks onscreen at the same time. This not only takes away from the suspension of disbelief, but those who shelled out up to $600 for a PS3 and its allegedly powerful Cell processor will probably be disappointed in the occasionally choppy performance.
Another problem is the somewhat repetitive and easy single-player missions. Despite the fact that you can play through more than 20 chapters in the main campaign -- and unlock three additional solo game modes -- the lack of variety in the objectives and simplified artificial intelligence mean you're likely to get bored after a couple of sittings. That said, war buffs or flight enthusiasts may want to get their wings by renting this PS3 game for the weekend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the events presented in this game took place in real life during World War II, where millions of soldiers and innocent civilians lost their lives. Does playing this game make history seem more real and immediate? Is there a negative side to this type of entertainment -- can a game like this trivialize the memory of this war? Why or why not? What can we get out of the study of history? How can studying WWII help us in conflicts today?
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