Genre: Arcade Flight Sim
Developer: Sammy Studios
Release Date: September 09, 2003
Pre-order 'LETHAL SKIES II': PlayStation 2
The story behind Lethal Skies II takes place in the not-too-distant future where the worldwide destruction of the environment has caused a cataclysmic event where most of the earth’s land mass has sunken into the ocean. The governments of the world that once were are gone, and in its place are ultra militaristic forces that have started a new world war. You are a pilot fighting for the side of the Frontier Nations (FN). Armed with the latest in jet fighter technology, you must see to it that your side comes out on top.
The game play of LS II screams arcade action, but in many cases, it’s pretty damn realistic. Lethal Skies starts you off with two aircraft at your disposal, and from there you must complete missions while unlocking new, and in most cases, better aircrafts, combat zones, and more qualified wingmen. Each aircraft has its strengths and weakness, which is where Lethal Skies II splits from your typical arcade shooter game. Each plane has different abilities, if you want fast and mobile don’t expect to be heavily armed, but if you want to unleash massive damage, don’t even think about a dog fight. Every mission has a different set of goals, and depending on what they are, it is imperative that you pick the best plane for the job. Every plane has a different payload, and I often found myself running out of missiles at crucial moments because I was too trigger happy at the start of the mission. Lethal Skies II forces you to have some skill and to choose your targets wisely. This gets a major thumb’s up from me, because you actually have the realism usually reserved for hyped-up aircraft simulators.
The missions as well as the AI are pretty sweet in all aspects. Your missions can range from a host of enemies, from realistic bombing runs to outrageous supercrafts armed to teeth with more guns than you would be able to fit on any ordinary aircraft. The mission will take you take to numerous locations across the globe, but don’t expect it to be blue skies and fair weather either. Try dog fighting during a rain storm and get back to me. The AI is no pushover either, even on the “Normal” difficulty setting, I was shot down more times than I would like. You are in constant danger against this AI, as it uses everything from SAMs to simple boats in its never-ending quest to shoot you out of the sky. The AI pilots can shake any top gun flyboy without thinking twice.
The graphics in LS II are for the most part, top notch. The plane models and textures make you feel like you’re flying the real deal. All your favorite jets are there: the F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the F-14 Tomcat, not to mention the jets from our allies around the world. Each plane is accurately portrayed, both inside and out. The surrounding environment looks pretty sweet, but at times, when flying at low altitudes, the textures are slightly blurry, and when you take down and enemy, the explosions and aftereffects are somewhat lacking. Those nitpicks aside, LS II sports killer graphics.
The game’s mood can be felt in the audio portion of LS II. From the constant hum of your turbine engine to the radio chatter from your wingmen giving you the heads up, to the alarms and warnings your jet gives you when you have been locked on, all give you the realistic feel that some one is truly out to get you. Top that off with a kicking soundtrack, and you have a gem of sounds with which to christen your ears. Controls are rock solid, no need for cumbersome flight yoke with throttle as well as rudder pedals. Everything is packed onto the controller and at fingers’ reach, and you can cut left, nose dive, and barrel roll with the control system. It’s a pick-up-and-go control system, and I love it.
To wrap up, I say Lethal Skies II will be one killer game, and every hopeful pilot, both young and old, should check out this game. The game’s multiplayer possibilities are also an added bonus, as you can fight with a mate or blow him out of the sky. Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go hop in my A-10 and burn some tanks to the ground.
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