F 16 Aggressor The real shame of it is there is a fine, fine flight simulator at the core of Aggressor. Sometimes when I’m cleaning my ears I push the Q-tip just a little too far in, and it hits something that hurts like hell. It kind of hums for a while and then settles into a dull ache. The thing is, I can experience this sensation all I want for about a quarter cent per tip, whereas Bethesda would have me pay upwards of $40 for relatively the same sensation. That throbbing in the brain, that jabbing pain in the head: That’s about what I took away from Bethesda’s first attempt at a flight simulation, F-16 Aggressor.
F-16 Aggressor has puzzling aspirations. The designers actually set out to re-create Strike Commander. Remember Strike Commander? It was going to be Origin’s flight sim version of the Wing Commander format, a narrative-driven mercenary flight simulation. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out quite right. It was incredibly late, pretty buggy, and just not all that impressive. So of course it makes perfect sense to emulate it. And then, to really nail the lid down, GSI emulates it badly.
The real shame of it is there is a fine, fine flight simulator at the core of Aggressor. GSI has modeled the F-16’s flight properties with commendable detail. The funky handling of the rudders at certain speeds, tough landings, speed bleeding, and other things related to flight are all smack on. It’s a flight model worthy of the best F-16 sims, poised to offer the hard-core crowd everything it could demand… until you get to the systems modeling. These are more on par with a Novalogic game. The complex instrument modeling of Falcon 4.0 and other true hard-core sims is only hinted at in Aggressor.
Graphically, while F-16 is quite good, if at times mind-blowing, it’s true that there are better-looking, better-performing sims out there. The terrain is a bit patchy, but object modeling is good. Cockpits look very good and have effective dynamic animations for throttle and stick. HUD overlays and quick-view keys provide excellent perspectives on the instruments. In another stunning lapse, however, GSI has failed to include a padlock view. This makes situational awareness well nigh impossible and deals another serious blow to the sim.
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