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  1. Oct 29, 2012
    10
    Air Combat Awesomeness at it's Best! As a kid I was really into air combat simulation games--- until 2005 I was still crazy over this game. And I can tell you that Total Air War is the greatest modern air combat simulation game of our time. It accomplished this by creating 2 types of games rolled into 1. The first is RTS. As an AWACS combat theatre commander, your job is to command hundreds of aircraft in the defense of your territory and in the destruction of the enemy. TAW has no scripted missions. it starts you off the Red Sea Theatre. You are in command of one of more Middle Eastern Nation's air force along with some NATO allies. The second game is about being the pilot of the F-22 fighter in first or third person. Your task is to destroy a varying percentage of military- political, infrastructure, naval targets, etc. before the time (hundreds of real-time hours) runs out. The enemy will try to do the same to your nation. Defending your country is important because the more damage you take, the less aircraft and ground vehicles (Yes even ground vehicles) are produced on your country to fight the enemy. Although you cannot first-person control vehicles like SAMs or Tanks or AA, they are perfect for area defense and having them around your airfields, factories and bridges is critical. I spent more than 1000 hours on this.

    This game is so rich in detail and dynamic strategy that the manual is even 500+ pages long! The keyboard layout is so extreme that some keys have over 3 functions! The entire keyboard--- all keys, are used. That's how intense the detail and control TAW gives you over your gameplay. And the commands are not superfluous; the game simply has so many things it allows you to do on an aircraft. The aircraft in this game is so richly detailed that you need to think hard on what type of aircraft would you want to escort you on a mission and what role will they play. US aircraft like F-15s are maneuverable and good for escorts while Russian Aircraft like Su-27s have very long range and can cover great distances without external fuel tanks leaving more room for bombs and missiles. Aged aircraft like Albatros, F4s and mig-21s can carry few weapons but are plentiful, work well for scramble missions, intercepts, or just to occupy the modern enemy escort fighters while you take out their bombers headed for your radar installation.

    TAW is a game that is for every die hard air combat gamer out there. It is NOT arcade-style. It is a fighter-- thinking man's game. It's for the aggressive player that will do everything and overcome insurmountable odds to win the war at all costs--- through crazy destroy-them-all bombing or very long range covert destroy the enemy C4 or AWACS deep behind enemy lines, it's air combat simulation at its finest. No missions are scripted. Available missions come and go as the situation develops and yes you can fly for as long as you wish. For example, after bombing the enemy bridge with your F22, the mission is now complete. You can exit the game OR you can land and rearm at a friendly airbase and bomb the enemy airfield across the border so future missions will encounter less enemy aircraft in that area or so you will not have to bomb that airfield in other missions allowing you to focus your aircraft resources on the destruction of other targets.

    I can tell you with great confidence that this game is the greatest of its kind. Nothing even comes close. It saddens me that games are no longer built this well. Back when we did not have review sites or metacritic, box-art and gameplay was just about how games won you over. Games nowadays are all about pleasing masses of generic gamers, not giving die-hard fans the experience of a lifetime. TAW came out during the time of Diablo 2. And this speaks volumes about the many things that have changed in this industry. Where the battle was about making the greatest game ever and not creating the most hype and fiat numbers.
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