Review: Birds of Steel (PS3)
Written By Matt Sainsbury on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | 10:56 AM
But first, the visual side of the story. Birds of Steel captures the feel of being in a World War 2 plane like no other game I’ve ever played. Sitting 1000 miles up in the sky, the landscape stretches out as far as the eye can see. The epic vistas do a remarkable job of capturing what the battlefields would have looked like back during the war, and as the battlefields are modelled after real World War 2 skirmishes, there’s an authenticity here that will be immediately appealing to any history buff.
Take the plane down to treetop level though, and the small details become evident. The landscape is modelled beautifully and there’s a real sensation of speed as the plane zips over those trees, or glides across the brilliantly animated ocean. Explosions and gunfire add excitement to the formula, and pulling off a divebombing maneuver whilst avoiding bullets from both friend and foe makes for breathtaking action that rivals the best of Hollywood.
such as Ace Combat), but it’s a believable, interesting experience for it.
The game itself is heavily focused on the dogfighting, though players will need to master the art of taking off and landing as well. The controls are more arcade-style than the simulation flight simulators on PC, but the physics are reasonably accurate and players will need to control yaw, the throttle and the landing gear to pull off some of the more complex maneuvers required.
Like a Call of Duty game though the main appeal of Birds of Steel is the multiplayer and that’s just as well because the single player game is a touch on the short side. Multiplayer is a really impressive way to play though with support for up to 16 planes in the sky at one time. While the levelling-up and unlock structure might look a little like the traditional Call of Duty structure we’ve seen become standard, this is not just “CoD in the sky.” There’s no cover to hide behind, no kill streaks and in most cases a single objective to fight over. Rather than being a bad thing this puts the focus firmly on what Birds of Steel does best: the dogfighting.
All in all Birds of Steel is something of a thinking man’s Call of Duty. The planes are harder to master than a standard FPS game’s controls, but it’s also, ultimately, the more rewarding game. There is nothing quite like being the one that manages to land the fatal blow on the enemy bird to seal victory for the team.
Heavy on the action but by no means a straight-up arcade experience, Birds of Steel manages to be a hybrid flight sim that balances the experience perfectly. Thanks to the real history context, too, it’s a far more relateable experience that uses the authenticity to great effect to elevate the game even further.
Our Scoring Policy