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Game Review: After Burner Climax (PS3)

A welcome return of an old on rails shooter, After Burner Climax embraces all that is arcade in this revamp for PS3 and XBox360.

The Concept

A nuclear war! Always a good one to blow everything to bits. Not that the story occupies more than 30 seconds of time in the game it says to be said, this is pure altitude combat all the way.

The Gameplay

Anyone who’s played an old After Burner game will feel right a home (I’m old enough to say I played the original in an arcade..eek). This is a shooter that is strictly on rails – no roaming at all – you will go forward and forward only. This however sets you up for an absolute power surge of planes, missles, turrets, caves, explosions, harriers and everything inbetween to fly right at you, leaving you to shoot, dodge or quite often, die! There’s around 15 stages each with its own graphical style and certain enemies. You use one button to fire your gun and one to file your limited amount of missles, that replenish quickly if you leave them alone. The whole game runs at such a massive speed however you will be struggling not to just hold the missle button down! Quick reactions and ability to see two incoming missles ahead are really what will get you through. The whole new addition this time apart from the big graphical update is Climax mode, which effectively slows everything down to a slow-mo for a couple of seconds allowing you to quickly take down several enemies all at once and giving you a moment to breathe.

The Graphics

Quite simply, After Burner Climax is absolutely stunning graphically. From the sheer speed everything flies at, to the gorgeous backdrops to keeping every detail in a 360 barrell roll, Sega have really done themselves proud and it looks like being one of the most graphically impressive games as a download on PSN/XBox360.

The Sound

In a nifty extra, you can choose the original After Burner II soundtrack or the updated one. You don’t get to hear it though as there’s so many explosions going on in the game the music is somewhat drowned out. The effects are very arcade styled and so its very grizzy and over the top to suit the whole style of gameplay.

The RePlay Factor

After Burner Climax can be completed in 20 minutes. That however is missing the entire point, as there’s different routes you can take at times, plus there’s an EX Options mode that unlocks bits you can change as you go. It’s one of those games where you will get the most enjoyment out of it if you’re prepared to learn level by level and try to 100% each of them. If you’re not one of those gamers, you may struggle to justify the price for the time.

The Positives

~A fantastic update of a classic series that keeps the heart of the original

~Graphical and sensory overload

~Has that frustrated “one more go” edge

The Negatives

~20 minutes of game for £7.99?!?

The Conclusion

While the new climax feature doesn’t really do much to the actual game, After Burner definately deserves everyones attention. The problem being is that a game lasting only 20 minutes in this day and age is not on. To get value out of the game you need to go back and shoot down everything to get 100% and that will take a long, long time if you have the patience to do it. This is a great game, while it lasts, and anyone who has fond memories of the old generation games or arcades in general, could do an awful lot worse than pick up After Burner Climax.

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