Pilot Academy comes armed with heaps of single player modes for you to enjoy. And to my surprise, I found them all extremely entertaining. Alluding to the earlier concept of flight simulators being either tedious civilian affairs or shallow war-happy shooters, Pilot Academy does the sensible thing and includes sections for both predilections.
If you?re a lover of peace, not war, there are a bunch of civilian missions for you to try to engage in some light-hearted piloting. On the other hand, those with a spastic trigger-finger can leap into classic biplanes and combat jets and fulfil
commands given by a commanding officer. While neither peace nor war as styles of play are really exploited to the max, (the control system largely remains the same between the two), when you have one engine fulfilling two different styles of airplay you can kind of forgive Kuju for lack of incredible depth in its dogfighting or civilian transport themes.
Having said that, none of the missions are excessively dull either. It?s like someone?s finally found a way of making Microsoft Flight Simulator fun with the civilian mode, with goals ranging from escorting people around town to avoiding natural disasters, and even indulging in some animal photography.
Military flights generally consist of dogfights and reconnaissance missions. There are several of both to complete, and there are three major sections into which your play divided: initial flights may take place in the ?Lessons? section where you?re shown the ropes of both types of play; while ?Missions? will feature the aforementioned situations. If you get bored of those, ?Challenges? offer extra trials that will consist of stunts for the most part.
Completing these lessons, missions and challenges will score you on how well you fulfilled each objective, with a special medal or award given if you perform perfectly. You can also unlock more planes, areas and missions to take part in, so there is incentive to overcome that last challenge. You get to see your beautiful craft in a hangar mode, plus up to eight players can have a massive dogfight using wireless connection. I?ve not managed to find eight players yet, but playing against people who are just as rubbish and erratic at flying planes as I am is quite the enjoyable experience.
SPOnG Score: B
There is lots of fun to be had with Pilot Academy. Rising Star has managed to combine all the major facets of flight simulation, simplify them without being patronising towards Microsoft Flight Sim or Ace Combat fans, and provide a control system that is accessible and doesn?t need fifteen fingers and a mouse to use. For budding pilots out there, this game is just the ticket. It won?t really appeal to those uninterested in the genre unless you really put the time in to fathom the controls but, after that, flight sim haters may just be converted.