Summer Gaming #2: SkyGunner

Only a couple weeks down, and two games already done in the Challenge!  If I can keep that up, maybe I can actually beat all my games… but let’s not get ahead of myself.  Let’s find out what I think of SkyGunner, first (and possibly educate you on what the game even is)!

Wait… what?  How’s this a classic?  I’ve never heard of it!

SkyGunner IS a classic… it’s just more of a hidden gem than a full blown hit, like Ocarina of Time was before it.  Released in the US by Atlus in 2002, this PS2 game was wildly different from anything else that came before it.  It’s a dog-fighting game; think Ace Combat, but not nearly as realistic or punishing, and with a cutesy atmosphere to boot.  The game is a type that’s easy to learn and hard to master, and the scoring and combo systems drive that point home.  Multiple characters and play styles add a ton of replay value, as well.

And that’s nice and all, but not all PS2 games have aged well.  Can I recommend a ten year old game that relies quite a bit on it playing well?

What’s the verdict?

It’s amazing how great this game is, as well as how well it’s aged.  The ‘arcade’ aspect with the scoring might be a little lost on the current gaming crowd (and to be honest, it kind of was on me, as well), but there’s still plenty to look forward to even if score doesn’t matter to you.  The story provided is fairly anime cliche, but it’s presented in such a way that it’s a bit whimsical and fun to watch, especially when mixed with the minimalist, chibi-esque art style.  The atmosphere has a distinctly French, old times-y feel, and it passes it off well, despite the fact we’re playing a game involving extremely advanced technology.

The gameplay has a bit of a learning curve, but after a level all I had trouble with was with barrel rolling.   The multiple characters are what set the different difficulties; so if you want to learn more about Copain, you have to get used to his plane and his level of difficulty, basically.  Oh, and before I forget, the music is fantastic, and worth the price of admission of buying the game alone.

SkyGunner deserves its title as a classic in my eyes.  It’s really a shame that so few seem to really know about it… Some fans enjoyed it so much they made a sequel of sorts call Gunner’s Heart, which supposedly is an on rails shooter, but at least worth a look for fans, or even those who can’t find the original and want to check out at least something related to it.

And there we are, SkyGunner.  I’m moving through the list!  What shall I beat next?  Wade through more FFV Fiesta posts to find out later!


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