Do you remember that your PlayStation 3 controller features Sixaxis motion controls? I thought about as much; thoughts of Lair still send shivers down my spine to this very day and I’m glad that most developers ignored the Sixaxis controls thereafter.
Gaijin Games’ Skydive: Proximity Flight laughs in the face of those awkwardly flying dragons because it knows something that those scaly monsters don’t: wingsuits are much better for flying with Sixaxis controls. Base jumping might not be a mainstream sport, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good fun when put into digital form. Jumping off a clifftop and falling with style in close proximity of cliff faces and rock outcroppings might be something of a nightmare for most people, yet for a few extreme sports enthusiast, it’s a good fun, even if the risk of going splat is very real. Take away the risk of life and limb and the sensation of free flight in a virtual environment might not offer up the intense adrenaline rush as a real jump might, but it does still offer a unique and fun gameplay experience that’s worthy of taking a dive into.
Sixaxis controls do an absolutely fantastic job of replicating the feel of free flight in video game format. Tilting the controller in any direction is accurately replicated by your maniac diver on screen. Within mere minutes of starting the game you’ll be flying within feet of the ground below, while twisting through floating rings in the air at the very same time. It’s astounding that the motion controls work so very well here, not to mention the simple fact that we’re getting a game that utilises them so late in the console’s life cycle. If traditional controls are your thing, you can, of course, go that method as well and there’s even PS Move support for those who want to go for an even more precise control method.
With 40+ events to fly through, there’s a healthy heap of content to keep you busy here. The majority of the challenges task you with flying through a certain amount of rings or completing a number of tricks within close proximity to a surface. While it’s true that the gameplay is quite repetitive, the different locales and zany cast of characters help ease the burden a great deal. A relaxing long distance flight in the beautiful Ha Long Bay is a much different experience than a high speed downward assault through the Swiss Alps.
Once you’ve rounded out the challenges, two other modes await you: Race and Freestyle. While both are self-explanatory, each of them have something to offer. Racing through each location against three other opponents is not only great fun, but quite challenging too. And while just going for a dive without any certain challenge might not seem overly exciting, I was pleasantly surprised to see how engaging the mode could be when I simply flew around the locales without any certain purpose, but really – isn’t that was skydiving is all about? No matter what mode you play though, be sure to turn off the terrible generic rock soundtrack.
Gaijin Games’ Skydive: Proximity Flight might be a late flyer in the PlayStation 3’s lifecycle, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t bring a unique gameplay experience along with it. While it’s not a perfect package overall, those looking for an arcade flight experience will find a great deal of fun packed in here. And if you’re still having Sixaxis nightmares from Lair, well, this just might be just the trick to finally getting a good night of rest once and for all.
– Chris I.
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