E3 2006: Come Fly The Not-So-Friendly Skies
Chalk up another one for handheld flight fans
Nintendo is really looking to go hard at plugging some of the obvious, and not so obvious holes in their handheld lineup. DS Air is one such title, attempting to fill void caused by the lack of air-to-air flight shooters. We were able to go hands-on with the simple titled game to see how its touted customization features, visuals, and controls were stacking up so far.
First things first, unlike the majority of Nintendo developed titles -- assuming that the title is indeed developed in house (we couldn't get a confirmation on the show room floor) -- DS Air isn't filled with unrealistic themes, environments, and characters. The press release for DS Air made it a point to specifically tout the game's portrayed realism, and that's exactly what we saw when playing the game. Environments aim to accomplish a photo realistic look to them, which is sort of an oddity when playing a title that's presumably created by the Big N.
The DS's top screen is where most of the action takes place in the game, while the bottom screen is reserved for more or less a heads up display to control the amount of zoom, adjust radar, and lock onto your enemies. Most of the traditional controls are issued by the traditional face buttons, and while this default control scheme works, it doesn't really add anything new to the fray as some DS owners might come to expect.
The E3 demo featured four different levels of play, Carrier Assault, Bomb Run, Urban Strike, and Behemoth Battle. Each level featured different objectives, environments, and enemies to contend with, and ushered in a nice array of variety to mix up the game play. So far in this early build of the game, (the title of the game isn't even final, as you might have guessed) the visuals are definitely showing plenty of room for improvement, mostly in the area of textures. The environments looked pretty good when looking down at a high elevation, but once you descended, the textures become quite murky and muddy. Needless to say, that is one area that we're confident that Nintendo can clean up, and knowing Nintendo, they won't release it until it lives up to their standards.