Finally a game where the average Joe is given the controls of one of mankind’s fastest and mostly deadly creations. I am of course talking about the Cheeky Girls … no wait, sorry I meant Jet Fighters. Yes Over G Fighters lets gamer’s fly planes such as the F15, MiG 29 or even the relatively unknown F117a. The question being, does Over G come close to what a plane really feels like when it’s going Mach 2.3 over the American coast, or does it feel like your flying an Utterly Butterly with Johnny Vegas on one side and Gordon Brown on the other? [Maybe some google picture fun for our Non-UK readers on the last person – Ed]

Now with Over G at first glance it does look pretty nice, you get a huge array of planes to fly including my personal favourite the MiG 29 Fulcrum. You also get to fly all over the world, in deserts or over the sea you name it. There is also the little matter of weapons and by little I really mean a lot. Kitting out your plane feels like going into a 1p sweet shop with £10, you are truly spoilt for choice, you can choose laser guided missiles, cluster bombs, or just really big bombs to drop on your unsuspecting foe.

First we’ll talk about Over G’s story, the problem with that being I’ve forgotten what the story was and so will you [Sounds riveting – Ed]. Like many games nowadays (The Outfit, Blazing Angels etc…) the storyline behind the game is pretty dull and whoever thought of it should have their arms chopped off by radar-guided missiles. Luckily the story has no role in the game in retrospect, for the general layout sees you take your plane into different missions and of course try and come out with a win. The first thing you’ll notice is that unlike Blazing Angels the game can go off in all sorts of directions depending on the scenarios you complete.

Now the first few missions are really tutorials and even a 6 year old could complete them (I’m serious my little sister even managed to do it), they just involve you learning how to use your plane. As the missions pass by not only do they get harder, but you also find yourself faced with new objectives. In one scenario you’ll find yourself head on with three MiG 29’s and in the next bombing some weapons factory. I would advise though that you up the difficulty, as on Easy it truly is a breeze, you simply wait for the lock sound and fire your missiles and the enemies seem to forget that they also have missiles strapped under their wings. Of course if your just looking for achievements then go right ahead and do it on easy, but the game just isn’t fun to play when all your doing is flying for fourteen seconds and pressing one button on your controller to complete a level.

The next thing to think about is your cool little wing mate whom you choose before the start of every mission. You can of course partially control your wingman and tell him to fly ‘Free’ or ‘Attack’ or even ‘omg there’s a plane behind me kill it!’, but I think they called it ‘Cover’ in the end. You change the commands by simply pressing one of the triggers until you highlight the role you want him/her to play. Now at first your little wingman won’t be of much use, but over time you’ll find that you need him to help escort tankers or defend you while you run away with your tails between your legs so I would advise that you use him in the early missions just to get a good feel for it.

Now sadly is the bit which nearly kills the game, I’m talking about the planes speed. If you’ve ever been in a plane you’ll know how fast it feels in a cockpit, you feel like your going 3000mph and it takes 10 minutes to get from Cardiff to London , yet in Over G it would take about 10 hours. The planes are just so slow and even to those who’ve never flown in a jet it just feels like they are flying a really big tank. It’s a shame as jets are fast machines and yet this game makes them out to be the tortoise and not the hare.

As for the lock on system well it seems to have been made for novices as I seem to find myself locking onto planes and yet there’s nothing in front of me, I mean where the challenge in that is I don’t know. What’s more as soon as the enemy has fired a missile you might as well set yourself up for a restart as they are unbearably difficult to dodge, granted it can be done, but it requires a hell of lot of practice to do it flawlessly every time. What’s worse is that once you’ve dodged it you usually find that they’ll send another missile down just for kicks and that’s when you start to pull your hair out. The final problem with it all is the fact that when you’re chasing the enemy planes you’ll sometimes find that out of nowhere a GTAM (Ground to Air Missile) will strike your plane forcing you to restart and by the time you’ve gone through all that you’ll have absolutely no hair left.

Despite those bad points I still find myself playing the game, going through the missions and trying to unlock each and every plane. In essence the game is a bit like Marmite; you either love it or hate it. Those who love planes, go to air shows, have been in a jet plane will find this game enjoyable, just trying out each new plane will be fun enough for them. Then there are those who find the game to slow, the locking system to easy and the missions unchallenging and sadly most gamers will fall into the second category when it comes to the gameplay.

Now onto the graphics of this new title and it’s very varied to say the least. On the one hand you have pretty swish planes, with fully functional rudders and wings and a stunning panoramic view in the cockpit. Then there’s the pretty bland scenery, pointless explosions and enemies who float of the ground. Firstly the planes are pretty nice, being jet aircraft each and everyone is unique in some respect, the F117a has those right angled edges and the A-10 with its rather weird shape. What’s more they don’t look half bad, they are definitely not next-gen, but they do at least look better than the aircraft in Blazing Angels. Also the little things like the wheels actually move when you touchdown and the way the afterburners don’t run in perfect sync do make the plane look that little bit more realistic.

Sadly that’s where it ends as when your up in the air all you have to do is look down and you’ll realise just how bad the surroundings are. Trees stand out way to much and they look like they are from a PS1 game, also there seems to be no variation in color on the ground, it just looks like a 10 year old has taken a big paint brush and put a few coloured stripes here and there. Even the water doesn’t look that good, what with waves all looking exactly the same and it just lacks the graphical prowess compared to something like GRAW.

On the whole the planes in OverG don’t look bad at all, but they are let down by shoddy surroundings. The ground in OverG is always too bland and seems to be painted in one colour, maybe two if you’re lucky and it does ruin the realism of game. They could have made it so much nicer, even a couple of months delay to spruce up the maps could have saved this game, but alas it isn’t so.

Finally there’s the audio section of OverG. You’ve got the usual jap-rock crap blaring in your ears (I would plug your iPod in to be honest) which should so be banned from games in this day and age. Then there’s the pretty pointless wingman who just randomly says stuff while flying which has no bearing on the mission. Like the planes graphics the audio isn’t to bad, you get a nice acceleration sound, but again it just sounds slow, you feel like you’re going 0-60mph and not 0-600mph. The missiles seem to sound ok (its been a while since I fired an anti-tank missile or laser guided rocket), but they could have made them louder and go of with a bigger bang, simple things like that could have made them game feel a lot more fun to play. On the whole it’s nothing special, but its ok and again like the graphics of this game they could have made the game so much more realistic and more enjoyable if they had just taken more time on it.

Overall the game is a bit of a letdown. It looked so promising, but like so many other games it just looks like its been rushed onto the 360 with only one goal, to make a bit of cash on the side while Ubisoft and Taito concentrate on bigger projects. In terms of graphics it’s too bland, audio is too annoying and gameplay is too simply and far too slow. It truly is a shame as it could have been so much better than this pile of petroleum. Well we can only hope SEGA’s AfterBurner ends up a little better than OverG.

Better Than:
Blazing Angels: Squadrons of WWII

Worse Than:
MotoGP 06
Battlefield 2: MC

Originally Written By: Lee Matthews

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