Earlier in the year John “Zerocinco” Shelton announced plans to create an addition to the Third Wire simulation Strike Fighters emphasizing the Pacific Theatre of the Second World War. Zerocinco had already created a complement to the series with the Yankee Air Pirateseries which included new aircraft and skins for planes in the game, in addition to missions based upon real events that occurred during the Vietnam War. While this worked for the Strike Fighters series, a jet simulation game from the beginning, I was somewhat skeptical of converting the engine for use as a WWII game.
Installation and Setup
The question was asked in the SimHQ Forum, “is Rising Sun a whole new game or is it an add-on?” Well the answer is essentially both.Rising Sun requires either Strike Fighters or Strike Fighters 2 to work. There is a version for both. SF2 is a Vista / Windows 7 based game and SF1 is not recommended for anyone with Vista or Windows 7 due to its file structure. Both versions are the same price, but theSF2 version looks better because of its support and optimization to run DirectX 10, something that Windows XP users can not benefit using. I have the SF2 version running on Windows 7, and that is what this review is based on.
The issue that Zerocinco and the YAP team are going to have to contend with is convincing people that don’t already own SF or SF2 to purchase the base game. Depending on the version and title, this adds another ten to twenty USD to the original $26.95 USD (for digital download) to $39.95 USD (for digital and 1GB flash drive with the game on it) price of the game.
Installation isn’t immediately intuitive either. The YAP team publishes the instructions on how to install Rising Sun into the SF2 game folder, but it isn’t as easy as a one click installation of the game. It requires the owner to install the game and then manually move files into the SF or SF2 folder and saved game user folder prior to starting the game. Once completed, don’t make the mistake of accidentally selecting a jet among te plane list because it can cause an error if you do. While not complicated, it does require the buyer to do more than just click and install. A slicker, more straight-forward installation would be appreciated.
Recently flight simulations have moved away from what I honestly think is a critical component of gameplay. In the effort to create gee-whiz graphics or an excessive attention to rivet-counting realism, the goal of placing the player in the role of pilot has been many times forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for technically correct simulations and I am as critical of a game that gets things wrong as the next guy, but lately flight simulations have been released that have been technically very good, but have given me the impression of sterility.
Yankee Air Pirate was an attempt to create a series of missions where the player could feel like he or she was actually a pilot flying combat missions in Vietnam. With Rising Sun the YAP team took missions from the early months of WWII and tried to create the same feeling. While RS uses the SF engine, in reality Rising Sun is a completely different sim. RS ships with 39 unique missions covering Burma, Wake, and Pearl Harbor, and includes missions from the December 7th attack, the sinking of the Repulse and Prince of Wales, and the attempts by the Flying Tigers to defend Burma against the Japanese assault in early 1942.
This is the first of four Rising Sun releases covering the war between the Imperial Japanese forces and the Allied forces. I really have no idea what the plans are as far as pricing in the future or if there will be a “big pack” with all of the missions. I have seen some tantalizing picks of some of the ships coming up in the future, and some are intriguing. One, the USS Wasp is really interesting and the Yorktown class is one that I particularly look forward too. One of the biggest travesties of WWII flight simulation is that the Yorktown class, in particular the USS Enterprise, has never been rendered in a game. Think about that, the most important ship of the United States Navy during WWII has never been rendered in a game (at least as far as I know). But it will be there in future releases.
Aircraft added to the game include such famous aircraft like the A6M2 Reisen/Zero, the P-40B Warhawk, P-36 Hawk, Ki-27 Nate, G4M1 “Betty”, D3A Val, B5N2 Kate, Hurricane MkII and others. Some, like the G3M2 “Nell” and KI 30 “Ann” I don’t think have been modeled in a flight simulation before. Missions range from a simple CAS missions to ship strikes, airfield attacks, and escort missions. All of these missions are based upon real missions that occurred during the first months of WWII. Like YAP, RS’s goal is to give the player the idea that he or she is actually participating in some of the early missions of the war and tell a story.