Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII

[Ubidays 2007] Back in the Cockpit

Blazing Angels 2 ditches quasi-history for the good stuff: cool planes and insane missions.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: May 23, 2007
We weren't exactly big fans of the first Blazing Angels, but after seeing what Ubisoft's Romania unit has been cooking up, we're pretty much willing to forgive them for the slightly blah storyline and limiting adherence to realism that hurt the first game. In every way, from control to visuals to mission design to overall presentation, taking the angle of the "undocumented" (read: impossible) aircraft during The Big One in Blazing Angels 2: Secret Missions of WWII has us all atwitter.

Spanning some 18 missions, the core of the game isn't all that different from the first entry, which is fine. Our beef wasn't necessarily that the flight model was bad, the game was just kinda... uninteresting. Now that we have jet-powered craft, crazy stealth bomber-lookin' things, giant ass zeppelins circling the Pyramids near Cairo and the tale of the top-secret Operation Wildcard, sworn to defend the Allies from the Axis powers and their own super-secret fantasy wings, the game is anything but lacking in interesting tidbits.

Take, for instance, that first Cairo level we checked out. Seeing an absolute sea of buildings stretching out almost to the horizon isn't exactly new (the first game did it almost from the start in the London missions), but when that is combined with the absolutely epic-sized dirigible boss fight that required multiple passes and attacking multiple weak points, well it was all just a kind of tech overload. We honestly didn't expect that kind of leap in visuals this soon after the first game, but apparently them Ubisoft cats are fond of sharing tech. We just hope the PS3 version (what we played was actually on the 360, like most of the previews you'll read about the event) ends up looking as good; it wasn't so sharp in the first game.

Further accenting the sequels move away from the first game, the subsequent missions we were shown involved dropping off a spy onto a moving train in what felt like a nice nod to Sky Odyssey and a night time mission where we had to avoid searchlights combing the sky in search of our plane. In both cases, the graphics were phenomenal, but moreover, they were just plain fun, which is really the whole idea.

Also fun: screaming down to just kiss the ground with the belly of your beast. Everyone does it, and now, (again, pulling from Sky Odyssey, you're actually rewarded for dipping low to the ground, or flying under bridges, or even flying between two close objects. Pulling off these stunts, in addition to the usual objectives of clearing the skies a little or going on strafing runs, nets you points which you can then use between missions to upgrade your weapons, improve the attributes of your planes or bump up the skills and special abilities of your wingmen.

Speaking of the wingmen, they too have gotten a little bump up. Just as in the last game, they have special abilities that you can tap at opportune times, but now the interface for sending them out or calling for a regroup can be done in single or multiple-unit orders just by pressing up or down (respectively) for the number of wingmen you're sending the orders to. It's a simple system, but since your wingmen's performance nets you more points at the end of the level, it makes sense to, y'know, use them this time around.

Though there was talk of new multiplayer modes, the build that was on hand didn't have it implemented yet (or they weren't talking about it), so we'll have to wait until a later date to check that part out. Luckily, if/when that happens, there's a good chance it'll finally be on the actual PS3, so when we learn more, we'll be sure to update you. Check back soon!