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(Pocket-lint) - I suddenly thought how few flying games I’ve played on the PS2. Plenty on the PC, but almost none on a console. As I inserted Deadly Skies 3, I hoped this would all change. Konami of console and arcade fame returns with the latest effort at ruling the skies, would be the kind of review I wanted to write. So how does it fare?

Right from the start I knew it was going to be a bumpy ride with Deadly Skies 3. You get to choose from 20+ characters as a pilot of Team Delta, fighting as an elite pilot against the enemy, in whatever form. The first thing that didn’t surprise was the old Japanese standard, yes, the long historical plot line is meticulously explained details with some cartoon anime, before you get anywhere near playing anything. It is obviously a huge part of gaming in Japan, as the game boasts the feature of having “Over 20 hours of its intense audio presentation. Complete English voiceover recorded in New York”. If that’s what you want, get Lord of the Rings on audiobook!

The mindless New York-recorded English voiceover continues incessantly during the game, so once you get into the cockpit of your chosen aircraft, you have to listen to these gibbering idiots, including pop-up boxes, and there’s no ESCaping the voices like PC users might be able to do with non-essential parts of the soundtrack. It seems the plot can be a whole lot more detailed than necessary, to the point where it mars the actual gameplay. As for the gameplay itself, there are 130 odd different aircraft, lovingly presented, the game being supported by various aircraft companies. It’s a shame then, that flying isn’t very interesting. Players used to the intricacies of IL-2 Sturmovik will only find thoughtless arcade-style combat in Deadly Skies 3. You can go fast, shoot stuff and that’s about it. While killing the enemy is easy, dying is hard.

Graphically it’s a bit of a donkey as well. Ok, there is some shallow appeal in the curves of the girls that hop around in short uniform skirts and drawn in the familiar Japanese style, but besides the potential for autoerotica, there is nothing to shout about here. While the planes are lovingly created, realism isn’t the point here - the Spitfire seems to be able to carry a bomb loadout, for example. It is also a 2D landscape, something that really bugs me since Flight Sim graphics are as realistic as ever nowadays.

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To recap

Crimson Skies fans could rent it, but people wanting a Sim should steer clear.

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Writing by Chris Hall.