Blazing Angels was a launch title for PlayStation 3, and gave players the chance to fly with a squadron of aces in some of the most famous and exciting missions of World War II. Now the sequel throws you back into the thick of the action as you take control of the leader of Operation Wildcard, an undercover and elite squad of pilots secretly created by the American government. Your mission is to sabotage and destroy the Third Reich's evil plans to create a weapon of mass destruction through dramatic spy missions using the most advanced technology at the Allies' disposal.
On a wing and a prayer
Luckily for you, you won't have to take on the Führer's forces on your own. Your team is comprised of you and three wingmen, Teach, Cowboy and Milo, each of whom has a specific skill that can be used to help you out in the heat of battle. Teach can taunt enemies, which draws their attention away from you, meaning you can take them out from behind or attack a mission-specific target without being attacked yourself. Cowboy has a rampage mode you can activate that sees him run riot through enemy formations, destroying as many planes as possible in a short amount of time, while Milo is able to repair your plane in mid-air during missions.
The atmosphere created by Blazing Angels 2 is fantastic, making you feel as if you are taking part in an interactive World War II movie. Your team of wingmen is made up of classic war movie archetypes such as the cocky young ace, the laconic Brit and the cautious mechanic, and the missions are set in expansive, exotic locations packed with atmosphere and cinematic moments as your team of elite pilots take on the might of the Axis power's most devastating technology including monstrous Zeppelins, Tesla coils and jet-powered aircraft.
Point to point
Each mission has a primary objective, and a selection of secondary objectives, and achieving each one earns you Prestige Points that you can use towards upgrading your planes, or upgrading your wingmen's skills. You can also earn points for performing particularly audacious stunts, such as zooming under bridges or flying between the legs of the Eiffel Tower. There are around 30 upgrades in total, ranging from armour-piercing rounds to auto-loading missile bays, each of which should give you an advantage over the hordes of Axis powers hell-bent on your destruction.
One of the major draws for Blazing Angels 2 is the presentation. The game is stunning to look at, with amazing light and shadow effects and incredibly detailed planes, modelled exactly from their historical counterparts. Environmental effects too, such as lens flare, explosions and vapour trails all look lifelike and realistic and add to the game's big-budget movie feel. The cutscenes are presented in a progressive, comic book style with the narrative unfolding through word balloons as well as narration which adds nicely to the re-imagining of World War II that the storyline offers. This is in addition to a sweeping, cinematic score and some fantastic sound effects and voice acting that all add to the overall polish of an already impressive game.
The single player game contains 18 different missions, and there's scope for further play online in split screen, LAN or PlayStation Network multiplayer play. There are three main game modes for multiplayer play: Solo, Co-op and Squadron, each of which has further modes within it such as kamikaze, or capture the flag. You can also play co-operatively with friends to complete the single player missions of the game, which is a great addition for co-op fans.
Blazing Angels 2 is a fun, arcadey take on air combat full of cinematic polish and grandeur. Those that like their shooters epic as well as fun need look no further than Blazing Angels 2.