After getting some hands-on time with the completed upcoming air combat game, James gives his initial impressions.
The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces is an aerial combat based on an anime feature film of the same name. Developed by Project Aces, the developers of the Ace Combat series, Innocent Aces is built on the foundation of their key franchise.
The title employs a unique control scheme. In an attempt to replicate the two-stick controls of fighter aircraft, Innocent Aces makes use of the motion controls of both the Nunchuk and the Wii Remote. Tilting the Nunchuck works just like the control stick in an aircraft, controlling the direction of the nose of the plane. The Wii Remote lets you control the speed of your aircraft by tilting it up and back. At first it feels uncomfortable, forcing you to hold the controls out in order to maintain the neutral position; however, it does become more natural with time.
The fighting is much closer than the fights in Ace Combat titles. Head-to-head confrontations evolve into high speed pursuits. Pursuits become twisting dogfights.
The game looks nice, using a wide array of colors to accentuate the cartoon images. The game also features hand-drawn anime cinematics. The aircraft simply look fast and their designs are interesting and unique.
The sound is also very good. The engine whirs match those of a rotary engine, the clatter of machine guns ring out accurately, and the sound of shot down aircraft are appropriately unsettling. There is a lot of well-acted speech, punctuating every event. The game also sports very good music that does not appear to be from the movie. It's an audio treat!
Innocent Aces is looking good so far. We'll have to wait until we get closer to release before we can offer our verdict on just how good it is.
Sky Crawlers: The Innocent Aces releases in North America January 10, 2010.