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Normally when I talk about video games, I mention RPGs.  Nothing wrong with them, they really get into the feel of a character and make me feel like I'm a part of the story.  In a way, they feel much more real than many movies to me.

Today, however, I'm gonna talk about a game that's not an RPG.  It's a flight sim, that originally came out on the PS2.

And it's one of those games that really, REALLY affected me in a positive way.

(Description on the flip.)

Let's start with the intro.  It's understated.  Fairly subtle actually.  Doesn't seem like something that would really affect you.

Yeah, kinda crazy how good that was with just 3 planes and some seagulls, eh?  And that's really why this game is so good.  It makes you feel like you are part of a much bigger story, even when you only see small parts.

The plot is a future SF story, where technology is only slightly ahead of where we are now.  Essentially, WW2 is happening again, after a asteroid impact holocaust, and there are a few superweapons involved.

It's a straightforward military fantasy flight sim, but what really sets it apart is the storyline.  Don't get me wrong, the flying and fighting sequences are really fun, especially the replays where you get to watch some of your piloting in a replay, but the gameplay pales in comparison to the story.

You don't actually see the storyline of your character.  You see the story of your greatest enemy in the game, told from the point of view of a young war orphan who lives with your enemies flight squadron.

As the game progresses you see references to yourself, but in an oblique way that makes you think about what else is going on in the story.  You see only how you affect the world through your missions, not directly how it affects one character.

And it's incredibly powerful.  The elements of resistance, collaboration, and even mixed loyalties are addressed powerfully and subtly.  There is no one sledgehammer moment, but the entire game thematically addresses the real costs of war and the very human reactions that we have to it.

And then there was the music.  Oh my god, the music in this game is incredible.  I'm only going to give you one track, but check youtube for the rest.  It's really THAT good.  It's powerful, moving and really gets you into the feel of the "ace pilot saves the world" plot.

It really was one of the closest things to literature I've ever experienced in a game.   I hope someday to experience the like again.

Originally posted to detroitmechworks on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos Gamers.

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