Guild's Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces Review

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Guild McCommunist, Jan 17, 2010.

  1. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Yeah, I said I'd review Sands of Destruction next but it's a long-ass game and it takes a while to grasp all the aspects of it. So, Sky Crawlers it is!

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    So, the Wii has had it rough with flight action titles. Mind you, flight action isn't a big genre in general, but still. Most of them have been little but shovelware games trying to excite little boys into a "OMG VRRROOOOOM AIRPLANES" frenzy. However, Namco and their ace team, Project Aces (mostly known for Ace Combat games), set out to change that with the Sky Crawlers movie game. Well, I can say they definitely pulled it off better than the shovelshit companies, but it can be quite a disappointment as well.

    Now, Sky Crawlers was a movie adapted from a book about hired pilots who take place in "wars". Not wars over anything in particular, but hired companies who basically play war with each other. Kind of how dumb Euros play "football" with each other (I kidd, I kidd). Anyway, this isn't an adaptation of a movie, but a spin-off. It's got an original cast, original story, and takes place in different theatres of war than the original movie. It basically follows you, Lynx (well, you'll later be called "Cheetah") who joins up with the Cougar Squad of airplanes to take place in war. The plot is shown through story developments in combat (such as banter between characters, people getting blown up, etc etc), as well as in-air cutscenes that use the game's graphical engine. As for other cutscenes, they're completely original anime cutscenes. I'm no anime critic here, but I do watch a decent amount of anime (not that Naruto crap but stuff like Code Geass, Blood+, you know the deal). I think the style that they're done in is pretty different compared to most anime. The backdrops for these scenes aren't really done in anime fashion. I mean, they're not realistic but they're not anime. The characters, on the other hand, are in full anime. I personally liked the style these were presented in. Some other people may find it unfitting, but who cares about them? As for the story, it had it's fair share of plot twists and turns and was actually pretty enjoyable. The characters weren't as forgettable as I'd think.

    Seeing as it is a Wii game, Project Aces decided to add some unique Wii aspects to it, mainly controls. And quite frankly, it's one of the most oddball control schemes I've seen. Basically, you do a switcharoo with your controllers; the Wiimote goes in your left and the nunchuck in your right. Try thinking of the Nunchuck as the control stick, since it's used to steer (by tilting it up, down, left, right, etc), fire, switch weapons, and switch maneuvers. The Wiimote acts as your throttle, since you tilt it up to speed up and down to slow down. It's a very odd control scheme, and with that it takes a while to learn. It's not broken by any means, but it can be frustrating to use. In fact, I just decided to skip becoming a sensei with this scheme and switched over to the Gamecube controller, which is also supposed, and uses a traditional gamer scheme (steer with control stick, shoot with A, etc etc). If you want a more arcade experience, the Wii-exclusive controls will work. If you're just looking for shooting down shit, then go for the Gamecube controller. As for the actual gameplay, it's definitely solid flight action. You can do a bunch of moves to evade opponents or to show off. You can also do something called TMCs, which are Tactical Maneuver Commands (I think). Basically, if you stay within a certain range of an opponent, your TMC meter will build. It can reach level 1, 2, or 3. Whenever it reaches any level, you can hit the maneuver button to do some fancy flying and get into a prime shot to gun down the bad guy. The higher your level, the better position you get. The planes themselves are rather plenty, but the fact that they're almost WWII era planes compared to the modern/slightly future planes in most flight action games may turn some off, since that means no fancy tracking systems or super weapons or missiles. The WWII planes are also rather clunky at first, but later you can get some prototype planes that are much more elegant. The missions themselves have some decent variety to them, but usually end up being to shoot down bad guys. Not that that's always a bad thing, but some more diversity would be appreciated.

    Sound and graphics wise, it's a mixed bag. The sound itself features some pretty good voice work (although I'm sure otakus will beg to differ since they don't have Japanese voices), and it's definitely not cheesy quality like Dynasty Warriors (side note, if you have ever played Dynasty/Samurai Warriors, you'll know they do absolutely horrible voice work). The soundtrack is mostly J-Rock guitar, which does fit the action I guess. I mean, what else are you gonna have, elevator music? The graphics, on the other hand, are actually pretty poor. The planes themselves look good, but the environments are horrible. You may not notice this when a few hundred feet off the ground, but swoop in a little closer and it's full of horrendously textured, blurry, and jagged lines. I mean like PSX quality here, people. The anime cutscenes, on the other hand, are nicely animated and enjoyable to watch.

    Overall, Sky Crawlers is by far the best flight action game on the Wii, but that's not saying much when you look at the competition. The controls for the Wiimote and Nunchuck are fun, but don't hold much on the Gamecube controller. The sound is pretty good, but the graphics are poor quality. As for the game in total, it's definitely worth a download at least.

    Presentation: An original storyline set in the Sky Crawlers universe, with nice plot development, interactions between characters, and a nice spacing of cutscenes to present it all. The menus themselves are simple and easy to navigate. 8.5/10

    Graphics: Ugh, why'd you skimp out on this, Namco? Horrendously blurry, PSX quality environmental textures will make you cringe. The planes look nice, but notihng spectacular. The Wii has limitations, but they definitely aren't this, not by a long shot. The anime cutscenes are pretty nice though and very well done. 5.5/10

    Audio: ...Do I mix up where audio and graphics are on my list? Nevermind. Anyway, voice acting is pretty good, even for something I'd normally expect the cheese factor to go sky-high on. The J-Rock guitar fits the action pretty well, although it's pretty much just white noise filler. The plane sounds are pretty good as well, with gunfire, propellers, etc etc, sound authentic. 8/10

    Gameplay: The Nunchuck and Wiimote set-up do have an arcade feel to them, but it's still a steep learning curve, especially considering how easy it is to pilot with the Gamecube controller. Still, that being said, the Wiimote and Nunchuck aren't a "broken" set up by any means. The maneuvers and dogfighting itself is quite satisfying, although more mission variety would be welcome. 8/10

    Lasting Appeal: Only 18 missions will last you about 5 hours of gameplay, less if you're a real pro and on an easier difficulty. There 3 difficulty levels, though, and plenty of challenge to it. Still, a loss of a solid multiplayer mode (no player vs. player dogfights here, it's all playing missions with a co-op system) really hurts. Not to mention most unlockables are easy to get and there's not much of a pull to keep you coming back. Definitely hurting here. 6/10

    Overall: 7.8/10
     
  2. Daileon

    Member Daileon GBAtemp Regular

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    Nice review, I'm looking forward to this game. It don't support Classic Controller?
     
  3. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    I don't know. I don't have one. You can always try.
     
  4. saxamo

    Member saxamo Spaaaaace!

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    I'm left handed and I always hold the remote in my left hand, and the nunchuk in my right...so I guess this game was made for me!
     
  5. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Well, odds are they'll have you switch it around for you. I mean, anyone can probably play it like normal, I guess.
     
  6. ojsinnerz.

    Member ojsinnerz. Damned

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    Only about 5 hours long? That's a disappointment. I guess I'll just wait and buy Fragile instead.
     
  7. Guild McCommunist
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    Member Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

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    Well, there's always the co-op and difficulties, but yeah, it's about 5 hours.

    Fragile is like a RPG, right? I know it's coming out next month at least.
     
  8. ojsinnerz.

    Member ojsinnerz. Damned

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    Well, if it had an online coop, it'd be a different story, but I don't really have anyone to play the game with, nor am I interested in playing in harder difficulties. It's a shame, but I won't buy it.


    Yeah, Fragile's an RPG. Not too much is known, but the story is pretty interesting.
     

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