Today, not many flight sims come out for the consoles. Not having a big selection of this genre around, most fanatics look for each new title released. As not a very big fan of Flying games, I can't say I know them all, but I have heard that Ace Combat 4 is quite a remembrance. Now then, onto the review.
All flight sims need to have realistic detail on the actual planes, so LS2 accomplishes just that. Tiny details are on the tail wings of every plane, and some of the the black-op planes look more than excellent. While the special effects, like the blur left after using the afterburners or missiles finding their target are very well done and realistic, the explosions are half-decent: they look gritty, and slightly outdated. The HUD's on planes look real, they show all of the things that you would see in a jet's cockpit. Besides the outdated looking explosions, the plane detail is great, above average. The environments are a different story – don't expect MS Flight Sim level landscapes here – it's all pretty blurry, and there's not enough detail visible on the ground at all. Keeping in mind that it's more of an arcade flight sim than a complicated PC simulation and that you usually won't have much time to admire the ground anyway, it's still looks decent.
In real life during air combat, all there really is, is sounds of gunfire and swooping of aircraft. But in LS2, there is a plethora of different rock type songs, ranging from heavy metal to techno-rock mix to listen to while you kick butt. While I wasn't impressed with some of the songs, just too 'glorious' for me, it's all a matter of opinion.
The sound is well done, although in my opinion there's not enough background noise and there's no big variety to the various sound types. On occasion you will also hear your wingmen talk – done in a military style, with radio in and out. That really boosts up the atmosphere of the game.
You start out as a rookie pilot working for a group of nations that get attacked by a new hidden enemy, called ANGIL – a terrorist organization set to destroy the US and it's allies. Starting out, you only get two planes to choose from, the MiG29 and F-16. After each mission, you get rewarded by higher ranks, with newer planes. Some missions, if you can get the extreme S rank, you get high-tech Black-Ops fighter jets.
Combat is more like moving in every direction just to avoid a missile, and then looking at a target for a few seconds while you get a lock on it with missiles. Since it's an “arcade” flight sim that's pretty much all that the combat is, besides shooting MG (Machine Gun) rounds at buildings and other planes. As combat is happening, you are easily pressing buttons to make things happen. These simple controls are intuitive, but took me a little getting used to – such as holding L1 to slow down, and R1 to speed up. The 4 main buttons controlled the weapons systems, and the D-Pad controlled the camera modes.
One of the things that kept me playing it, was the differences in mission objectives. Such as one mission is to destroy some convoys, while another is to stealthily maneuver through a tight canyon under a blizzard, while flying into an enemy base to pick up a spy. That was a very neat mission (the latter), and I'd like to see more of them in the future in other games. Other than that, Combat is very basic, and the controls are easy to learn, and hard to master.
While the game doesn't offer a co-operative mode, there are three multiplayer modes available, both playable on split-screen or if you're lucky enough to have an Internet adapter, via Internet. Two of the modes, flying through a canyon and shooting down as many planes as possible aren't that fun, but I've spent a few good hours playing Dog Fighting with one of my friends. I can't say it's greatest, but you can unlock planes in Singleplayer, and pit them against each other (with up to 2 wingmen per player) in a foggy rainy map. Overall I wasn't overly impressed with MP, but Co-Op would have hit the spot.
Without having tried any other Flight-Sims for the PS2, I can't really compare it to a better or worst game, but it was an interesting experience of a game. Alot of replay value, for the hard missions and elite S ranks to earn, and tiny detail done to the planes. Although, with a lowly multiplayer and the occasional extremely hard missions, it really aggravated me at times. For the hardcore Fly-boys with PS2's: try this one.