Lock On: Modern Air Combat
Written by Daniel Westerstal   
Monday, 07 May 2007

There will always be a bunch of gamers who enjoy advanced flight sims, Eagle Dynamics tried to reach out to them with the release of Lock On, could this be the next Flanker or Falcon 4? Read on to find out.

F-15 in Flight

The Russians are picking on Europe again, something NATO obviously can’t tolerate and World War III is a fact. Yes the story is a standard flight sim one, we have already seen it in a number of games including Jane´s USAF, and I am getting sick of it. It would be nice to play flight sims with a current story, for example Afghanistan.

Lock On: Modern Air Combat includes a number of planes currently used in the US and Russian air forces. You can fly the A-10 Warthog, F-15C, SU-25, SU-27, SU-33 and three versions of MIG-29 (A,S and G). It’s also possible to fly as Ukraine and Germany.
If you only played “semi” flight simulations so far Lock On will be quite a challenge. It’s a very hard game but realistic, it took a while to handle the aircrafts right and even more time to actually being able to fire and aim. In most other flight simulators you simply lock the target and fire your missiles, in Lock On you actually have to aim.

Aiming is done by first locking the target, then using the little screen in most aircrafts to get the missiles right on. This is all done while flying the plane and watch out for enemy aircrafts and SAMs, in other words this game requires a lot from its players. However if you manage to master the game it’s actually quite rewarding, you will probably never say “ yeeey this is greeatt”, but Lock On is somehow engaging enough to tie its player’s down. After about fifty nose dives it feels rewarding to finally hit something other than mud.

Lock On: Modern Air Combat is a very detailed game. For example the Russian jets have their instruments in Russian. Even more important all the fighter jets in Lock On handles differently, which means that you can spend a lot of time learing to fly the F-15, the time spent doesn’t necessarily give you skills for the SU-27.

The graphics in Lock On are beautiful if you crank the settings up, but the engine is poorly written. There are a lot of weird graphics bugs; Eagle Dynamics have released a number of patches to solve them. But the engine is still very slow even on fair systems, our 2.8 GHz had serious issues with this game, it was simply too slow or froze at times. A part from the slow graphics Lock On is plauged by a number of other bugs, the most annoying one we discovered causes you to loose your settings when exiting the game.

Lock On features a campaign which is very linear and has some interesting missions; you can tell that the developers thought the campaign through. There are also some single player missions, but they are tied to each plane. A part from that there is a fairly good mission editor where you can create your own.

This game kind of surprised me because I kept on playing eventhough the performance was boringly slow, the details kept me interested. Lock On is a game for simulator enthusiasts, if you want an advanced flight sim to replace your copy of Flanker 4 this is it. With patch 1.12 a lot of the bugs reported in this review are corrected, and Lock On is more playable.

F-15 in Flight Lock On Menu F-15 Cockpit MIG-29 Cockpit MIG-29 Interior MIG-23 in air
Related: Jane´s USAF, Comanche 4, YS Flight Simulation System 2000
Developer: Eagle Dynamics
Website for Game: http://www.lo-mac.com/
Publisher: UbiSoft
O/S: Windows XP
Year of Release: 2003

Pentium III 800 MHz or higher, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB VRAM.
Tested on:
AMD Athlon 64 2.2 GHz, 2x512 MB RAM, Geforce 4 64 MB, Windows XP.

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