|JASF: Jane’s Advanced Strike Fighters|
|Developer: Trickstar Games
Publisher: Evolved Games
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: One, 2-4 online co-op,2-16 multiplayer
With Jane’s name proudly inserted in the game title (they’re a highly-respected company who are experts in weapons, defence, information, intelligence etc) I was expecting something special from this game; maybe the first ‘proper’ combat flight sim on the Xbox 360. But boy oh boy was I disappointed. JASF is an arcade flights sim/shooter, and offers little pretence at any sort of realism, you don’t get a virtual cockpit and never even have to land a plane after a mission!
One thing that does come with the Jane’s licence is a decent selection of real planes (30 in all, including your usual suspects like the F22, Su-47 Berkut, Eurofighter Typhoon, F16, F/A-18 Super Hornet, F-4 Phantom. MiG-29 Fulcrum, A10 Thunderbolt, F-111 Aaardvark, PAK-FA, MiG-21 Fishbed), although almost like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport the lineup is heavily bolstered by planes with different paint jobs.
JASF is playable via two views, full-screen (no cockpit/controls in view, like you were riding on the nose of the plane) with overlaid HUD instruments, and a arcade-like chase cam. From the chase cam the planes look good, well modelled with all control surfaces moving as they should and a nice graphical touch in the form of the misting that appears on a leading edge when a plane pulls a high-G manoeuvre. The skies look great, there’s a decently high flight ceiling (about 14000m) and fluffy clouds look just right. But when planes explode they do so in the same way every time, an explosion of tiny pixels that looks like it came from the PlayStation era or even earlier. Even mighty battleships and carriers go poof! and vanish rather than slowly sinking or showing signs of damage, smoking, burning etc. The scenery also, like most flight sims, looks okay from a certain altitude, but up close it’s a low-detail blurry mess, and things like Lego trees and roads with nothing but straight-edged curves don’t help immerse you in the player in Azbaristan either. The missions don’t feature a replay facility like some of the competition either, which is a bit disappointing.
I also must say that I experienced more than the occasional glitch when playing through JASF’s campaign, one when a cut scene was supposed to appear at the mid-point of a mission and instead just left my plane flying around and around in circles with no control available to me, which meant I had to reset the Xbox, load up and start the mission all over; and another where all the ground textures failed to get drawn leaving the surrounding landscape all black (and there isn’t much in the way of scenery to speak of anyway). Both these anomalies appeared more than once but eventually the cut-scene kicked in as it should so maybe it was just a “bad load” or something.
Overall JASF is a disappointing title, and feels like a patronisingly dumbed-down special version for us “simple-minded console gamers”. Why no developer has tried a proper, full-blown PC-style combat flight sim on console is still a mystery to me, but whatever the case a game in this PC-centric genre needs more substance and quality than JASF to have any chance of success in the console market.
- Easy to fly.
- The planes look nice.
- No cockpit view.
- No replays.
- Poor scenery and weal explosion effects.
- Little variation in missions.
- Strictly for newbies or lazy pilots, the gameplay is too simplistic.