Red Wings: Aces of the Sky | PS4 Review
Red Wings: Aces of the Sky, developed by All In! Games and published by Meridiem Games, is an arcade, action packed, high velocity dogfight game and is the sequel to Crimson Wings. Red Wings was initially released in 2020 on the previous generation consoles and was released this year on PS4/5 and Xbox Series X/S and of course, also available on Nintendo Switch and PC, so no matter what platform you're on, you can hop right into the aerial action.
Whilst not entirely historically accurate, Red Wings is based during World War I, and there are lots of clear nods to this time in history with the key to the story being Manfred Von Richthofen. Also known as the Red Baron, who I discovered whilst writing this review, Von Richthofen was a fighter pilot for the German Air Force during World War I and was considered to be the ace-of-aces of the war and was credited with 80 air combat victories. The fact this game was based, albeit slightly loosely, on real history really transformed things for me as I feel like without that historical basis the story would have been very weak.
In Red Wings you're given the choice between two factions - The Entente Powers or the Triple Alliance and after a quick tutorial you're given the option of who you want to be. I personally chose to play as the Red Baron because who wouldn’t want to pretend just for a moment that they're a historically revered fighter pilot? Just me? Ok.
The tutorial was very brief but covered everything that I needed to know to succeed. Sometimes the tutorials on these kinds of games can leave something to be desired and usually there’s a bit of a step up required between the tutorial and the first mission, but Red Wings didn’t have that, much to my relief. Red Wings is a very simple to play game and doesn’t take long before you're progressing through the ranks and taking down the enemy with ease. Red Wings really doesn’t take itself overly seriously as a flight simulator, rather it has a very arcade type feel to it as the missions very much follow the same formulation, so for those really into these kinds of dogfight simulators it may feel quite hollow, but for me who is absolutely not an expert in the genre it was a nice and gentle approach. The controls were relatively easy to pick up although I did struggle with the inverted thumbsticks but I figured for immersion purposes I’d keep it as default. Using one stick to control your path and aim your guns and the other stick to control your speed felt nice and fluid with little frustration involved.
One of my favourite things about Red Wings was the art style. The graphics had a very classic feel to them and the visuals were really nice. As I said previously Red Wings doesn’t take itself overly seriously so that classic, comicbook-esque style really worked well and paired with the cut scenes and voice acting it all complimented the story's narrative so well and whichever faction you choose there is narrative differences. However the missions all take place on the same maps no matter which you choose.
There is a story mode which is what I played the most; there is also a survival mode which I haven’t explored yet but I’m going to assume it would be groups of enemy aircraft that you must defeat with the difficulty increasing with each one. Finally there is also a co-op mode which I think would be a lot of fun taking to the skies with your best gamer buddies to re-enact these impressive sky battles.
The game felt a little bit repetitive after a while in terms of the content within the missions but at the same time that's what makes it fun because it becomes very familiar to the player and with a potential 3 star rating for each mission I felt the need to go back and revisit my previous missions to pick up those final stars just for the satisfaction of it. There are basically four “types” of missions varying from time based missions to refuelling missions where you have to fly through hoops to maintain your fuel levels. There are also more than 10 warplanes to choose from throughout the game each with varying stats so there’s plenty to achieve for the collectors among us.
If you're a fan of the flight sim genre this could be a nice relaxing take on some of your favourites if you want to play something along the lines of Ace Combat, but minus a lot of the realistic mechanics and thinking required. But for me being a newcomer to the genre, it was a very gentle, chilled out and enjoyable dive into these kinds of games. Whether it makes me want to play more intricate versions, I don’t know, but I enjoyed Red Wings for what it was and appreciated its accessibility to even the newest of players.
Lj’s Rating: 3 war planes out of 5.