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Posted by drew10 on Mar 13, 2012
Jane’s Advanced Strike Fighters – PS3

Jane’s Advanced Strike Fighters – PS3

Jane’s is a name synonymous with all types of military vehicles and weapons, so when this new flight simulator dropped through the door we had to take notice.

Jane’s Advanced Strike Fighters (JASF) is a flight game that looks to blend all the modern military flight hardware you could want into an accessible and engaging flight sim.

Obviously, as the game is console based (there is also a PC version) it has been stripped down for the limitations of the console controls. Eight buttons does not an entire keyboard make. However as a console gamer this means a more instant gaming experience. It is nice not to have to press thirty keys just to ignite the engines. Of course there will be those that accuse this game of ‘dumbing down’ because of this. Luckily, I can’t hear those people over the top of my roaring afterburners.

The game is set in a fictional conflict conflict between catchy-named ‘The Southern Azbaristan Democratic Front of South Azbaristan’ and the evil tyranny of ‘North Azbaristan’. You play a pilot from the West who is part of force assisting the SADF in its war against the North, to help reunify the country and protect the oil for the West’s interests. Okay so no awards for storyline originality, in fact some of the storyline is simply awful but it really only serves as a backdrop for the action rather than an integral part of it.

“So what of the action?” I hear you cry. Well JASF is a happy blend of flight sim and arcade flyer, although it leans heavily to the arcade-style. In fact developers Evolved Games have managed to produce an engaging title that may appeal to a wide range of players from the more serious sim fans to those who just want to blow shit up from above.

Featuring a roster of 30 jets including some of the latest hardware from the Europe, US, Russia and China there is more than enough to get your teeth into. Also the game world is massive (over 60,000km) and features some stunning scenery from cities to wide open countryside.

The controls are simple with the left stick controlling climb, dive and banking. The right stick moves the camera. L1 & L2 control the  rudder with the bottom buttons controlling thrust (double tapping R2 will ignite the afterburners. Triangle selects your target, Square fires countermeasures, Circle cycles through your weaponry and X deals death.

Graphically, JASF flatters to deceive. The vistas are stunning yet the cityscapes lack the same polish and feel bland by comparison. The aircraft models are all superb, as you would expect from any game with the Jane’s name attached to it.

Had this game been developed in Japan it would have featured an awful 80’s rock soundtrack. Thankfully, the developers have seen sense and stayed well away from any such clichés. Instead the select screens are backed by an orchestral score and the action underpinned with pseudo drum & bass tracks. Sound effects are meaty but the voice acting is awful, as is the terribly hammed up script.

As I mentioned earlier the game is more arcade shooter than simulation. Because of this once you have used all of the missiles or bombs that your aircraft has in its load-out they will magically rearm after a few seconds. Very handy considering there is no way you could finish a mission with just the standard weapon load.

Still, the game is highly enjoyable with plenty of hardware to keep even the most ardent of aircraft enthusiasts happy. But wait, JASF has a couple of extra tricks stuffed up its turbo-fans. The game features 16-player online dog-fight action and also 4-player campaign co-op as well.

Whilst the 16-player dog-fighting is much fun it is the co-op that really tips the scales in JASF’s favour. Flying out on a mission with three friends is excellent and adds a whole extra dimension to proceedings. Of course each mission ends with someone saying “You can be my wingman any time!” In fact the multi-player co-op couldn’t be closer to Top Gun if each sortie ended with a homo-erotic beach volleyball game covered in baby oil. An option to add in an 80’s rock soundtrack (yes I know what I said) would have been perfect for this mode.

Overall JASF is a mixed bag. It may be too simplistic for those still aching for a true flight sim on consoles but it manages to blend a good solid realistic base with some fast-paced arcade flight action. It won’t be for everyone but it makes for a good alternative to Ace Combat.

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