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Skydive: Proximity Flight Review

 

If the developers of Flower and Tony Hawk ever came together to make a game, their game would be very similar to Skydive: Proximity Flight.  The game starts with your character leaping off the top of the mountain in a wingsuit. One moment your character is flying around enjoying the beautifully rendered scenery; the next you are zooming past the side of a mountain, gaining crazy amounts of speed and performing tricks.  This is the basis of Skydive, a $20 downloadable title from Gaijin Entertainment, a developer known for making other aviation games such as “Birds of Steel” and “Apache: Air Assault”.

When I jumped off the first mountainside and soared past trees, rivers, and other gorgeous scenery, the first thing that popped into my mind was the 2009 PSN game Flower.  Flying around and enjoying the setting of each stage is Skydive and Flower’s biggest strengths, but all of sudden it seems like Flower meets Tony Hawk, and tricks are introduced.

Skydive is comprised of 3 modes:

  • Challenges: Fly through rings across each of the environments of the game, perform tricks and attempt advanced challenges that take skill to complete.
  • Adrenaline Race: Race the computer or race the best players on the leaderboards in asynchronous multiplayer throughout 4 courses in “Beat The Best”.
  • Freestyle: Mastering tricks to accumulate the most points and compete with friends.

There is also a Friends’ Challenges mode that lets you track your friends’ scores in Adrenaline Race, and Freestyle, where you can see which friends are better at speed, and which friends are better at tricks.

Controlling Skydive is simple and not too complex, given that you are not playing with the motion controls.  The game supports Sixaxis and PlayStation Move alongside using the traditional left stick to control your character.  Using motion controls in simple flight works adequately, but when it comes to pulling off tricks, maneuverability becomes more difficult.  Before the initial jump you can choose from 14 characters and some of them need to be unlocked before using.  Each character has different attributes in Weight, Speed and Maneuverability that are noticeable when playing.  After the beginning jump off at the start point, the best way to accumulate speed to perform tricks and improve your time is to fly alongside the side of a mountain or close to the ground: this is called Proximity Flight.  The closer you are to a mountain, the more points you earn, and in return, your adrenaline meter fills up, and allows you to go faster. Parachutes are employed for landing and not much importance is placed upon your ability to land smoothly.  Even a very rough landing can be considered a successful landing.  Landing on the side of a mountain or landing in a lake holds no consequence. In fact, when coming down to land you have the option to skip the landing process altogether.

Skydive is not necessarily a stunning game in any sense, but it is notable.  When standing atop the first mountain before the jump, the draw distance in the game is impressive.  Every part of the world you start in appears to be rendered and none of the backdrops seem to be just penciled in.  Each level is large in scale and there are many different ways to get around.  Taking in the world and soaring around each environment is the Skydive’s biggest strength.  Out of the 14 characters, many of them are generic characters made for the game, but a few of the characters are actual real life wingsuit flyers such as Halvor Anguik.  His blue wingsuit in real life is also in the game if you chose to play as him.  Gaijin Entertainment also added a few fun characters, such as a flying squirrel. Skydive has a very rock-themed soundtrack that fits the mood of the game and its stunts, but it is nothing you’ll be humming in the car on your way to work.

Skydive: Proximity Flight is a well put together PSN game that is enjoyable to play.  Its $20 price tag is a little steep for the amount of content you are getting, compared to other games in its price range.  I was able to complete a majority of the challenges in just a few hours and its replayability comes in the way of achieving 3 stars on each challenge and beating your friends’ scores on the leaderboards.  The game includes a Platinum Trophy and an expansive list of Trophies for hunters.  Skydive offers a solid experience if you love the great outdoors and gives a real sense of adrenaline when flying close to the ground, buzzing past trees at high speeds.  I would recommend waiting for a smaller price tag before purchase.

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