Tons of unlockable planes and a tremendous amount of things to do. The multi-player is very quick to get you into a game and there are lots of fun modes you can try out.Cons
Birds of Prey encourages you to grind a bit to unlock cooler stuff. Some people may not like doing repetitive missions just to unlock a new plane to repeat the process with.Verdict
You can't go wrong with Birds of Steel as a solid flight sim game. There's not much like it available for the PS3 and it can be a lot of fun once you get going.
Birds of Steel (PS3) - FULL REVIEW
Birds of Steel for the PS3 was only released a couple weeks ago on March 13th and I grabbed it right away because I've played all my other airplane games to death honestly and welcomed this newer entry into my collection even though I don't care for the time period very much which is WWII era. You can take part in some of the most famous battles of the time and there are many different game modes that should appeal to all experience levels.
I don't want to spoil but there's a nice, engrossing story behind this game that encourages you to keep playing simply to know what's in store for you, the pilot, around the next bend. It's all narrated by the very popular Stephen Fry and his voice really sets some nice framework along with the grainy filmstrips of the historical battles before you dive into them. Remember though, this is a simulation and not an action game. You'll have very good historical footage and some nice information related to the time period and what's going on in the world at the time. There won't be any surprise aliens or other outrageous things.
The two main campaigns you'll be able to play will be either the American or Japanese take on events from their own point of view. This dual aspect will definitely appeal to history buffs or just those who think the Zero was a pretty cool plane and most WWII flying games don't let you use them unless it's a multi-player battle.
This is a simulation so on the harder difficulties, you'll be in for more of a challenge. The game will immediately feel familiar if you're a veteran of earlier games by the same company like IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey and let's face it, most airplane games have a similar tone to them. This game has a few different game modes such as the two main campaign modes, 4 and 16 player modes both co-op and team vs team and the longer "capture the area" mode that you may actually relate more to a Saint's Row neighborhood takeover but in the air. Casual players without much experience or who are looking for more of an arcade type experience might like the lower difficulty which is a bit more forgiving and is more about dogfighting as the main focus.
As you play through missions, you'll gradually unlock more and more planes. I've been playing off and on for about 2 weeks as of right now and I have about 43 planes unlocked, many from playing the versus modes. This unlocking is very similar to Gran Turismo as I mentioned before but doesn't take as long. You will unlock planes at a fairly decent rate keeping things exciting. A good tip is to read over the next locked missions description before you select your plane. It's easy to go in blind and you'll pay for that.
The replay feature is a nice touch that let's you view what you just did from all sorts of angles. I rather enjoy doing something ridiculous then replaying it in various ways.
This game looks pretty good. Some of the land detail isn't spectacular and you'll see things repeat on the ground quite often but it still provides some good eye candy, especially on a large HDTV. All the planes I've seen look nice, weapon effects are good and the bombing is spot on. Some of the planes don't seem to have a good cockpit view which is kind of strange. Maybe it's just the bombers? Either way, they look good, even from the over the shoulder type camera.
If you've played any flight game for the PS3, you've already got the basics down. This game has the standard setup and how responsive your plane is depends on lots of factors. Plane size is the big one. Naturally, a smaller plane like the Japanese Zero will be easier to control and more precise in handling than a B-52 bomber. If you have some extra cash you could opt for a flight stick such as the Ace Combat 6 stick or the Saitek Pro but they can be pricey.
The sounds that accompany everything you do are meant to be authentic and as far as I know, they are. In flight, you will hear engine sounds, flak cannons, machine gun fire and some slight radio chatter here and there. The cutscenes and mission intros are very well done with music and voiceover work that rivals something you'd see on The History Channel or Discovery.
This game kind of flew in under the radar and not many others I know have even heard about it. Major gaming sites seem divided on the game, many seem to have expected your standard mission based action game. Instead, since Birds of Steel is more of a sim, the reviews seem very mixed.
Over 100 unique historical planes to unlock from various countries
Take part in some of the most famous battles of WWII
Japanese and American campaigns
May feel like a grind if you're not ready for the sim aspects
Some graphics quality drops if you fly low
Some missions feel repetitive
The Bottom Line
Like I said at the beginning of this article, this is a simulation, not an action game. Think of Gran Turismo in the air with guns and that's pretty close to what this game feels like. If you loved that game, Birds of Steel is a great time sink and overall fun experience. It's easy to pick up and play and the historical information is accurate so you might actually learn a little bit. Being able to play from the US or Japan side is a cool touch too. There is a lack of flying games on the PS3 so if you like flight sims that have a lot of extras, pick up Birds of Steel.
Visit the official site for Birds Of Steel (PS3)
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Birds of Steel PS3 Gamespot Forum
Playstation Magazine UK Review of Birds of Steel
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