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Project Wingman Review - An Animated Flight Simulator

Project Wingman Review - An Animated Flight Simulator

The desire to play a game that does justice to fighter jets is always matched by the reluctance to import a full HOTAS setup from Belarus. Are there any intermediate games that we can enjoy? Not really. But when it comes to Gen 4 arcade combat action, there's Project Wingman. The game takes place on our own Green Earth. But make no mistake - we're emulating Ace Combat here, and that means building incredible levels of animated nonsense, including Earth having undergone a massive tectonic upheaval 400 years ago. The reconstructed world is powered by geothermal energy - abundant in the Federation that has settled around the Ring of Fire. Cascadia, a nation best described as "the west coast has literally broken apart and is now a country," wants to secede. You are Monarch, the best mercenary in the Sicario outfit, and you are going through this mess for fame and money. For some reason, everyone still uses fighter jets designed over 450 years ago.

The comparison to Ace Combat did not happen without doing nothing. Project Wingman looks, swims, and charlatan like a fan attempt to erase the shame of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon (which was the series' first appearance on PC) by going deeper into the madness. Buckle up, we have inexplicable mercenary outfit names, extremely questionable military practices, famous protagonist who never utters a word, war crimes, war criminals trying to get modern high level military planes morale falling in the figures of the Battle of Britain, air vessels - works! This game less simulates flight than it simulates a Japanese game.

Project Wingman available also in SteamVR

White people in the cockpit

Project Wingman is also a jet fighting arcade game - the emphasis is on "arcade". In fact, the physics of the plane doesn't even match the sophistication and consequent difficulty of handling arcade mode in War Thunder. Your plane tries to maintain a constant (inadequate) speed, increasing or decreasing once your finger is on the accelerator. As far as I know, the plane does not accelerate in a nose-down (RIP arrow and zoom) or slow down in climb. Just snap on that accelerator button and hit the town! Of course, you could argue that braking is important in corner combat, but if War Thunder has taught me anything, it's that turning combat is for sausages. Boom and run-rule the day; firing missiles at the approach of the enemy head-on is a sure-fire tactic of victory! At the same time, the aircraft is truly a protagonist of the airborne FPS. An HP on the left? Then you are always ready to party. Certainly this little is quite excusable. In Project Wingman (or any Ace-like game like Hawx - remember Hawx?), Seeing systems degrade during long missions would be very boring. And you are not here to be bored, you are here to become a triple ace in one mission.

Project Wingman cockpit view

Project Wingman can finally find you a date

Okay, so we've established that you don't have to be a true pilot to be successful in Project Wingman. Now, do you need to be a gunner as well? Yes, a bit. In keeping with Ace’s best traditions, your plane - all based on modern jet fighters with aliases - carries over a hundred standard "one-shot-no-kill" STDM missiles. Only a reasonable amount of them appear on the hard spot. The rest are in interdimensional stores, which you reload during the flight. It's just my flippant joke. Project Wingman firmly ignores any possible technological explanation for these wonders, even though the game world contains a silly new mineral they could have used to justify missile shenanigans. Your friends are screaming “Fox two!” almost every time you fire normally indicates the STDM is a heat-seeking missile, but it can also mean you have a good radar lock to encourage you to fire. In the case of Project Wingman, the STDM acts as the cheapest, most abundant, and shortest active radar vector missile in the world. It is able to lock onto any target, be it an airplane, a radar tower, a cargo container, anything. As long as you don't want to aim for anything over 10,000 feet (or about three kilometers insane units), you're good to go. So it takes a weird missile hit to take down most ground targets and helicopters (only one model of which exists in Project Wingman - the local fake Apache), two for jets and hardened stuff like tanks, and more for big planes like AWACS and B -52s, or bosses. But you're not stuck with an almost endless pool of the Miracle Wonder missile. No, Project Wingman has you covered.

Project Wingman in gameplay

Sorry, all of the Aim-9s locked onto the Sun and flew into space

Because each aircraft has more than one hardpoint in addition to STDMs, other locations can be filled with weapons of your choice, as long as your choice is allowed for the hardpoint. This is the realm of semi-active radar-guided missiles (as long as you keep your nose on the target you can fire a jet from 30K feet), multiple missiles (and if you could lock on as many targets as you have). missiles on hardpoint AND those missiles basically kill everything that flew?), multiple missiles on the ground, stupid bombs, a wider variety of stupid bombs, and way too many pods of guns (you only want the heavy one and only on the local Frogfoot). Unlike STDMs, these babies can all burn out pretty quickly, but they save you the most precious resource - time. Taking down a jet around you can be a real problem in Project Wingman. You'd better use the multi-missile to just chase an enemy out of the sky so you can focus on targets on the ground. This is because far fewer planes receive multi-ground missiles than unmarked air combat aircraft! Multi-missiles can also lock onto every airship component at the same time, and they're also good when dropped on bosses that approach you head-on. You can also aim to please Dos Gringos fans in the audience and enter with weapons. It’s not very easy, especially since your speed becomes an issue if you go against stationary targets. It’s a fun way to end a throw that has already eaten an STDM, however. Most importantly, it doesn't have to be. I still don't blame Assault Horizon for its stupid insistence on killing bosses via gun chase scenes in a game that features the most modern American toys and all the Russian wet dreams that were almost built.

Project Wingman, one of the aircraft available in the game

Project We-will-not-be-able-to-retire-B-52s-for-500 years

Okay, on planes. Project Wingman offers a surprisingly small hangar for a game purported to be JDAM targeted at an airplane fetishist's pleasure centers. In fact, it's even smaller than you might expect, as the MiG-21 and F-4 Phantom II have 'training' models that differ in having fewer tricky points, and these are the two. planes you can choose from at the start. Besides the best hits from the Vietnam War, you will eventually get your F-14 (Iran approves), -15, -16 and -18, a few Soviet / Russian planes, a handful of Euro picks, two anime planes that you don't unlock until the campaign ends (including what I'm assuming is a CFA-44 Nosferatu expy) and Avro Arrow? This game has none of the stealth jets, none of the French goodies, none of the cool Swedish jets (come to me, Viggen fans, can I take you both), but we get the Canadian Avro Arrow meme? Remember when I mentioned that all of them are renamed? Usually, it's something simple, like turning a MiG-21 into an MG-21. But not for the humble AV-8B Harrier II. It is called "Accipiter". Why? Because Harrier, the aircraft is named after Harrier the bird, a bird of prey in the Accipitridae family, which also includes the genus Accipiter. This is a very lively name change, because apart from the half-memorable high school classes and terrible dates you've probably only heard them from around and hawks etc. Considering that Project Wingman only mimics their loadouts with its own homebrew weapons, that's half the charm of running a certain system. But what you can do is play the game from the cockpit view. Sure, the third-person camera is nice and you can also get the 'nothing but the green HUD' option as well, but the cockpit is the most immersive and lets you appreciate how good an F- 16 is unobstructed.

Planes have a bunch of stats attached to them, but I've found cargo to be king in Project Wingman. You not only want to get the best toys, but also the most toys. And while I won't verify if it's possible to beat the final mission with a Fishbed, it would still be a slow process. I only ran out of STDM once in the game, but I'm sure that would be more of a problem in a plane that was nothing else. By the way, I've checked out what increasing the difficulty from "Normal" to "Mercenary" does to the game, and that only seems to result in an increase in enemy forces. For example, the departing pirates suddenly have cruiser support, several fighter flights, and a few civilian ships converted to the SAM equivalent of a technician with a rocket pod in the stern (similar precision as well).

Project Wingman animated combat scene snapshot

Opening of a new LockMart design office in Akihabara

But, as I mentioned, the animation is free and wild in Project Wingman, and it's a better Japanese arcade flight simulator than a flight simulator itself. It all seems to come from Ace Combat, right down to the oddly talkative mission controls, enemy banter, and your antagonist saying extremely silly things about patriotism. It all crumbles at the end of the game, which contains Project Wingman's most insane boss fight. The antagonist was not developed enough to deserve the emotional weight the game is trying to squeeze out. The boss's fighting abilities, while both seen in the game, are out of the left field and extremely silly (and also boring). If Project Wingman had ended without this fight and the last mission had just placed a conventional endnote in the game, I would have been much happier. Of course, you can engage in Conquest, the other game mode outside of the campaign. You will slowly conquer a risk map while completing various missions, accumulating money and prestige to improve your aircraft and the support you bring with you. Project Wingman warns you that this mode contains SPOILERS, but the only one I've noticed so far is that the stupid boss fighters are already in your hangar. Good luck making enough cash to unlock them!

Project Wingman another combat scene

Fly in the skies well rendered

Project Wingman looks good! It's not spectacular, no, but it has a lot to offer, especially the effects when fighting in the rain or flying through the clouds (matched with the appropriate vibration in the cockpit). By default, you control the plane with the keyboard and use the mouse to look around, change targets and pistols, giving you a better view of the cockpit. And while it's not good for War Thunder, it's still well done. And this is a classic of the genre, dating back to Falcon in 1987 and possibly beyond. The interface is also nice and the various menus in the game have a good theme to them. If there's one thing I don't like, it's the font selection in the Files section (that's where DEEP LORE resides). The font makes it easy to confuse commas with periods, which is not easy to read. Audio has a few surprises. And I'm not talking about the music or the sound effects because those are generally good. What I mean is dubbing. Of course, enemy and friendly chatter will soon become repetitive, especially when pulling stuff like "make sure your plane is in top condition" and "adjust IFF to new settings" constantly and it never does. meaning. However, some of the planes you fly in Project Wingman are two-seaters. For those situations, Monarch is joined by Prez, her WSO, and she gets her own mission-specific lines that other characters react to. Cared for! 

Project Wingman for Windows on PC available on Steam for download

Project Wingman Review, the conclusion

Ultimately, Project Wingman is a fun arcade plane adventure. It's definitely not for people who love DCS and  “my plane just turned into the world's most angry glider because my fuel tank was hit 5 minutes ago” gameplay it offers. However, it's perfect to scratch that Ace Combat / Hawx itch that most companies don't even dare to address. It's a shame for that end, however. Want to learn more about the game? Please visit the Project Wingman official website for more details and don't forget to leave your comment below this post. It will be appreciated.


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