Hop in the cockpit
and get ready for a bumpy ride with the Xbox's
first flight sim, Airforce Delta Storm.
Words such as fun, exhilarating,
stunning and intense help portray a true
flight simulation game. As Konami's sequel
to the Dreamcast cult hit AirForce Delta,
AirForce Delta Storm is the first of its
genre to be released for the new Xbox system
from Microsoft. Unfortunately, Konami was
shot down before reaching its designated
target. Nonetheless, the title still manages
to give players something to shoot for.
One of the more important factors
for the Xbox is the visual appearance of
its games. AirForce Delta Storm provides
a mixed bag graphics wise. On a positive
note, each aircraft was displayed perfectly
to match its real life counterpart (and there
are over 60 of them by the way). The game's
environments are certainly eye catching while
flying at a large distance from the ground,
but once you level off at 500 feet, the amazing
atmosphere becomes nothing more then some
textures put together to form a two dimensional
sheet of colors (not good). Replays look
jaggy and some heavy anti-aliasing would
have been superb in giving the objects a
more realistic look.
Konami's flight sim only includes
two game modes. The first mode is based around
making money, enabling players to build a
better hangar, where the planes are kept.
With a better hangar, players have more choice
in their aircrafts; more choices give a better
chance at success during the missions. Making
money is effortless, one of the easiest parts
of the game. By taking out marked targets,
some of which demand shooting pilots out
of the sky, huge amounts of credits pour
into the player's account. From there, players
are given the opportunity to buy new planes,
or sell old ones. As the game goes on, and
more tasks are completed, players can find
themselves with several different bases,
each unique in the way that it included its
own very distinctive aircrafts and corresponding
Sounds good? Well, it's not
all that amusing. In order to reach an assigned
mission (the game has about 50 of them),
players are required to battle through several
simple sub-tasks. These become very boring,
very fast. I repeatedly found myself reaching
my desired location with a small quantity
of missiles, due to the fact half of my supply
had been wasted on these sub-missions and
the only way to get them back was to return
to base. With the thought of having to go
through the dozens of useless time consuming
sub-tasks, I found myself not wanting to
play the game after several couple of hours.
The real fun of this mode came
from its "real" missions, including the whole
briefing (which could have been better with
smooth cut-scenes instead of written text).
Some are stealthy, others more full out power
and speed tasks, but each pretty cool nonetheless.
Repetition did get in the way of the excitement
after a while though, as the same tasks kept
showing up over and over again.
The second game mode is what
I would call "quick and entertaining". After
completing the missions in your "campaign" section,
they are automatically made available for
practice. Each mission is listed in this
mode, with a time limit, usually placed between
5 and 10 minutes. All aircrafts unlocked
in the other mode are also available for
a test ride. Completing these missions, once
again, usually unlocks even more planes.
This mode pretty much wraps up all the fun
missions (including the unfortunate repetition),
without the hassle of loosing planes and
going through time wasting sub-tasks.
A huge disappointment came from
the fact of not having a multiplayer mode.
Oh, the possibilities…
The computer A.I is certainly
one of the worst ever. Pilots navigate left
to right all the time, enabling players to
tell where their next location would be.
I found myself quite frustrated with the
fact that taking them out of the sky was
as easy as stwaling nappies from the geriatric
ward. The same problems go for the player's
allies. Some missions required protecting
Army ships, which ended up never helping
me in the end, the jerks. Not doing the missions
alone would be nice, but the friendly AI
is about as useful as the enemy's.
When it comes to AirForce Delta
Storm's sound department, there is really
nothing all too positive to say. The game's
music is repetitive, and not at all entertaining.
Some songs were too slow, while others didn't
match the mission task at all. A customizable
soundtrack option would have been a major
plus for this game. The plane's sounds did
give a more realistic "in the game" feel,
but after a while, they also became repetitive.
Each plane, and each target when blown up
made the same sound every time, certainly
not enjoyable after a certain period of time.
Airforce Delta Storm's controls
are smooth and simple. The assigned missile
and machine gun buttons were placed easily
in order to utilize efficiently. Both triggers
participated in the action, one to accelerate,
and the other to cut down speed. The D-Pad
didn't cause any problems either. As always,
the inverse mode is available under the options.
Within a couple minutes, I was able to learn
all buttons, without even having to open
the manual. What is completely unforgivable
though is that players were not given the
chance to do barrel rolls, or drop torpedoes.
These could have been prevented with the
use of the white and black buttons on the
Konami falls short of redefining
the flight simulation genre with its most
recent Xbox title. With the power and advantages
of the next generation consoles, there is
no reason why a game like this one should
be released when so much more could have
been done to make it better. Even though
most of AirForce Delta Storm could have been
pulled off on other previous consoles, the
game is still decent nonetheless.
Delta Storm: The Scores
While the game did have its fun occasions, I was more
disappointed then anything else while playing Konami's
AirForce Delta Storm. The Xbox's first flight simulation
title isn't all that great of a showing for a genre that
usually has gamers anxious. Unless totally obsessed with
the genre it is part of, I recommend renting AirForce
Delta Storm before purchasing.