Dogfight 2

Dogfight 2

Prove Your Worth in Dogfight: The Great War 2

Hungry for intense aerial combat? With new mechanics in play for the second title in the Dogfight series, only a true ace pilot can survive unscathed.

Though the game's difficulty is kicked up a notch, the basics remain the same: shoot down enemy aircraft and avoid crashing to the ground. You are an ace pilot aligned with the Germans. Missions are more sophisticated this time around. Instead of your usual run and gun, you will be asked to escort allies, face off against enemy generals and defend your base. Enemy AI is just as relentless but it is easier to spot confused units thanks to brand new indicators.

While there are a few additions in this sequel, the controls for Dogfight 2 will seem familiar for series veterans. Change flight direction using either the Up and Down or Left and Right arrow keys. Ammo is infinite and your aircraft's firepower is activated by pressing the Space Bar. Drop bombs using the Ctrl or Shift keys and pressing P pauses the game.

On a side note, Dogfight 2 gets stars for retaining the ability to reverse directional button assignments. You may change the control settings as well as the level of graphic detail through the Options menu.

Thanks to the game's streamlined control scheme, learning to maneuver your aircraft isn't terribly hard. On the other hand, using Ace Tactics efficiently takes a real master. There are four all in all and these may be things you have also performed by instinct in the first game.

Evasive Loop is the easiest to learn and it activates as soon as you make a full 360 degree turn on either direction. To make use of Cloud Cover, you must camouflage your aircraft by hiding behind a large cloud for a second or two. The essential sneak attack, Low Level triggers once you fly close to the ground. The riskiest of all four maneuvers requires you to plummet as close to the ground as possible before pulling the aircraft up to safety. Named "Ground Dive" for obvious reasons, the maneuver has the biggest payoff as it can prompt enemies to crash on their own when pulled off properly. Though limited to four techniques, we found the system cleverly executed.

One thing we did not like in this sequel is its unreasonably high difficulty bar. No, it's not because of the actual missions. It's more because of the implementation of limited retries. Sure, you have a checkpoint for every five levels finished, but this is hardly a consolation for those times when you find a level close to the checkpoint particularly difficult. It's all well and good if you're naturally skilled to pull off stunts in the game, but otherwise it tends to get a bit repetitive trying to accomplish mission sets.

With its polished look and iconic style, we love Dogfight's visuals from the get-go. That being said, the sequel does not disappoint with its improved, sophisticated graphics and simple style. Even with the new indicators, there is no clutter to mind on-screen.

On the plus side, Dogfight 2 definitely improves on the first in terms of graphics and game play. Ace Tactics are highlighted, making mission completions feel less like accidents. Unfortunately, major features such as the Two Player mode and infinite lives were scrapped instead of improved. This makes the game less about just having fun and more about testing your skills and patience. We recommend this title for series veterans but for those who are just looking for a good time, the original may be more your cup of tea and we can only hope that Dogfight 3 strikes a better balance between casual fun and the great challenge would be pilots want from a flying game.