JASF – Janes Advanced Strike Fighter

Yeah it is an old title, but there are so few really good arcade-style air-war games for console, and I had never actually played it, so it seemed like a really good idea to get it and since I knew I was going to be receiving a review copy for Mad Catz freshman title Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII as well I figured it would be sort of cool to compare and contrast the two even if just in my brain…

Then I received both games — the one from Mad Catz, the other from GameFly — and the oddest thing happened.  I was looking at the Achievements listing for both and I realized that someone at Mad Catz must have worked on JASF, because the Achievements listings were eerily the same.  Don’t take that on faith, check it out for yourself.

So I have been playing both games, alternating between the two when I am taking a break from Risen 2 (which I am in the middle of writing the walkthrough/guide on) and I have to admit that I am having a freaking blast.  The Saitek AV8R Flight Stick that came with Damage Inc. has turned JASF into a completely different gaming experience and I highly recommend it — though JASF has some issues of its own with respect to some seriously imbalanced missions!

There are some squeeze points in this game that it occurs to me were absolutely created with the idea that you would not be playing the game solo for those points.  Specifically it appears that the game was largely created with the idea that you would be playing co-op with other human pilots/gamers, which may have worked out really great when the game was first released and it had a relatively large following, but two years down the road there is NOBODY in the online waiting areas, and so no way to get a partner to play with, which means having to figure out exactly the best plane and weapon load to take on these missions or simply die a lot.

And it is not just a matter of picking the right plane and weapons really, but also figuring out in precisely what tactical order the targets must be taken out in.  Which SAM sites must be destroyed first in order to avoid getting peppered by surface-to-air missiles in the middle of dogfights — and the dogfights are really nasty in this game!

I wish I could tell you how it stacks up to Damage Inc but that game is still under embargo, so I cannot talk about it for another five days.  Sigh.

JASF may have a few bugs, and it may be easier if you have some gaming buddies to play it with, but all in all it is a pretty darn good play — I reviewed it over on Game On @ The Cape Cod Times so if you are curious go check out my review there…

Now we can have pie!