F-22 Total Air War
A dynamic campaign and great flight modelling give Total Air War that winning edge.
When DID’s F-22:Air Dominance Fighter was initially released, there was much talk of the add-on CD that would add dynamic campaigns and strategic elements, taking flight simulations to the next level. Indeed, the reason behind F-22 ADF’s lacking campaign was because DID had isolated the air combat and strategic sides into two separate projects, and so ADF got only rudimentary mission design. With the release of Total Air War, DID has made an admirable effort of merging the two games into a cohesive whole.
Wrapped neatly around the original F-22:ADF flight-simulation is a tactical battlefield where from the War Room you watch unfolding events happening in the particular campaign you are playing. In real time, you watch the various sorties and missions of each campaign on the main campaign theater map. When you have a hankering for some simulation action, you can scramble an F-22 for a combat air patrol or plunge right into the heat of battle by finding a particular ongoing mission and jumping into the cockpit. Missions are fully editable, allowing the aspiring pilot to customize loadout, waypoints and support aircraft before taking to the skies. The campaign is won or lost by actions taken in individual missions or in command of the entire war machine. Specific areas of the enemy nation such as command and control or production can be targeted to help bring them to their knees. The effects of missions are neatly displayed in set of graphs accessible from the War Room, showing damage to targets and sorties flown.
For even more strategic elements you move to AWACS mode and take command of the battle from one of these flying nerve centers. A wide array of control and views are available giving ideal situation awareness in each of the campaigns. Simple point and click routines can change routes and orders for a flight of allied planes. An air strike or mid-air refueling can quickly be ordered to help further the cause of your allied forces. With speech enabled, voice responses echo your commands as pilots take to action on their orders. This can be quite an interesting experience.
Great care seems to have been taking in leveling the playing field with this simulation. Missions are assigned based on how well your pilots have performed in previous combat missions, and players just getting started out are kept further behind the battlefront, allowing a gentler learning curve. Along those same lines, many of the variables in mission planning are completely optional, allowing for an easier flight for those who do not have the knowledge or time to customize a mission. As pilot skill increases, the selection of missions becomes considerably more difficult, with an increased enemy air presence and concentration of anti-air sites.
Few simulations can really compete with this game in terms of its breadth and scope, and adding the strategic element to an already excellent air combat model makes for a simulation that is both intricately complex and also fun to fly. It combines good 3D accelerated graphics (with support for Direct3D and Glide), dynamic campaigns and customizable options with a more detailed strategic element, resulting in an extremely well-rounded product. Players of F-22: ADF and those hoping for a slightly more immersive (and detailed) electronic battlefield experience will find quite a lot to keep them busy them here.
System Requirements: Pentium 133 MHz, 16 MB RAM, 70 MB HDD, SVGA, Windows 95
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