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‘Combat Wings’ to relive the glory of WW2 dogfighting

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Combat Wings

The term "flight simulator" can conjure intimidating thoughts of massive instruction manuals, complex joysticks, and unforgiving gameplay.  Yet gamers have come back to them over the years just for the opportunity to relive the thrill of high-stakes dogfights in some of history's most epic aerial battles.

With 'Combat Wings: The Great Battles of World War II,' developer City Interactive hopes to recapture that thrill while dialing back the gameplay to something a little more approachable and arcade-friendly.  Players strap themselves into the virtual cockpits of authentic period aircraft to boom-and-zoom their way through four wartime campaigns: The Battle of Britain, North Africa, the Eastern Front, and the Pacific.

Among the game's innovations is an intuitive control scheme that's tailor-made to work with motion-control devices on two of the release platforms, the Wii and Playstation 3.  Whether waggling a WiiMote or a Playstation Move stick, players will feel a direct, vertiginous connection to the action; but it's also playable with a more conventional gamepad.  The emphasis is on fast, up-close action: enemy planes will be right up in your sights as you blow them to glory in freedom's name.

The action unfolds against lovingly-rendered backdrops.  Particularly striking is the 1940-era London spread out below your aircraft -- Big Ben, St. Paul's Cathedral, and all --- as you defend England from its would-be invaders.

Combat Wings touches down on PS3, PC, Wii, and Xbox 360 in November 2011.

Want a taste?  Check out the screenshot gallery.

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