Blow Up All The Things! Hands On With Thunder Wolves

If you’re looking for a shooter that doesn’t make you lose your cool just trying to make it through the levels, lets you soar through the clouds, and allows you to demolish everything you encounter – get ready, because Most Wanted Entertainment and Ubisoft are releasing Thunder Wolves later this year, and Gamer Living was lucky enough to take a peek!

If you aren’t into simulators, chances are you stay away from games that even advertise being centered around aircrafts of any kind.  Many people are turned off by games that even look like simulators, and, as a result, this genre draw in a very particular crowd.  On the flipside, while games like Grand Theft Auto 4 add flight-related fighting, it always feels like something they just tack on for a few more minutes of awe, instead of something you can really sink your teeth into.  You should understand that Thunder Wolves is not a flight simulator; Thunder Wolves is a third-person shooter – in the air and with rockets.   This isn’t Crimson Skies, folks, unless you’re talking about how visually impressive it is for its generation.   The smooth, crisp landscapes and the amount of detail in the explosions, smoke, and quite literally every aspect of Thunder Wolves make for an exciting trip that is simple, yet fun.

You’ll start with a basic tutorial of how to move around and blow things up (like a submarine, or another helicopter).  This’ll help you prepare to blow up even more things.  You’ll hit different targets, follow the arrow indicators to different points in your base camp, and typically get a feel for the game.  From there, you’ll get your first assignment, and it’s off to war with you!

While there is a clear objective to each mission (blow up base A or take down enemy fighter B), even when that objective is complete and you are being directed to your next area, you’ll be able to stick around and blow up anything you please.  Almost everything in the game can explode, and you’ll have Rockets, Machines Guns, and Heat Seeking Missiles that will ensure you get the maximum amount of crazy explosions to fill your plate.  Be it tanks and jeeps, other aircrafts, military bases or city high rises, there’s no end to the amount of destruction that you can bring down upon your enemies – and anyone else who may get in your way!

The simplicity of flight in Thunder Wolves is one if its biggest selling features – you won’t spend all of your time worrying about altitude or trying to balance against sudden turbulence.  This game has fluid motions that utilize the twin-stick movement on your controller (and WASD keys on a keyboard) to make fighting your enemies your main goal – not teaching yourself how to fly.  Most importantly (and in reiteration): you get to blow up all the things!  Who doesn’t want to blow up all the things?  The game itself allows for full immersion in your environment, where literally everything is susceptible to the awesome rocket power at your disposal and ease of use.

The music is fairly status-quo for the genre, mixing triumphant brass with low beats and some tin for good measure.  The voice acting, however, certainly adds a level of cheesiness to the game that I didn’t expect.  Some people may really appreciate this, while I personally did not.  The performances put on by the voice actors are almost too emotionally embellished,  including quips that seem forced or showing deep emotional concern, which is not typical in a military operation.  The characters just seem out of place, and it almost feels like they are babying the main character, begging you to go easy on the new recruit that they’ve hired, but not before scorning you for your previous mishaps and throwing some foul language around.  Thankfully, most gamers will be hard-pressed to worry about character development or plotline in general, as the appeal is that we finally have a flying game that we can easily adapt to, without having to pull out a pilot’s manual just to dole out some pain.

Taking  an about-turn and heading back to the aesthetically pleasing side of things, Thunder Wolves really pays attention to the details.  The game is beautiful – with realistic scenery, such as the rocky shores by the beach or flowing grass in the fields, you’ll be able to appreciate the detail and work that was put into this game.  You’ll see big billowing clouds of smoke and flame rolling out in every direction when eradicating enemy ships or buildings, and even the movement of the camera is smooth.  For those who really love flight simulators for their stunning graphics, this game is a transition piece between the world of shooters and sims for that very reason.  There will also be a co-op feature in this game, which I am most looking forward to playing, though I have yet to have the pleasure.

Our itchy trigger fingers may be twitching in anticipation, and this kind of game could revolutionize the way that we look at flight-based action games in the future.  Could we possibly start to see integration of helicopter warfare into AAA titles and make it a compelling part of the culture, instead of just an add-on or a simulation game?  Time will tell how much or how little we will embrace this concept.  So keep yourselves frosty, because Thunder Wolves will be available for download on the PC, the Xbox Live Marketplace, or the PlayStation Network sooner than you’d think, and you won’t want to miss the opportunity to try it out for yourselves!

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April 15, 2013 - 8:15 am