I'd just like to say that I was never a big fan of flight simulations, everyone I played I was never able to do anything properly, landing has never been my strong point in these games and I usually end up landing half way down the runway! :o)
I have not played a flight sim for a while now, as you have read my experiences with the ones I have played are not that good so I was very weary of playing 'F22 L3'.
The first bit to notice is how good the intro video is. I say video because animation is far from it, the quality is good, the music is great and overall it kinda rocks in that Top Gun, fly by, Shooty Shooty thing!
As for the story, well who needs one, you're a pilot, you're on our side and you fight the bad guys. Simple, easy and reasonably lifelike!
Well its not hard to notice that in a flight sim, you fly, otherwise the name would be a bit useless.
You have the usual 'getting to know your plane' stage which you are shown how to start-up, take off, shoot, kill, maim, destroy, and generally know what all the symbols/numbers mean on your HUD (Heads Up Display).
Taking off, flying and generally targeting your weapons is surprisingly easy. Flying has really been done well, the plane does not move fast when you need to manoeuvre it. It glides easily and nicely, at times you do seem as if your going well slow and you feel that if you set your thrust to 30% then your just going to drop out of the sky's, but you don't, whew!
The gaming physics are quite possible the most accurate I have seen and the handy autopilot, that is evident in every flight sim, can take care of most tasks like, waypoint flying, refuelling and taking off.
The missions you get to fly are very varied with sorties to be flown over Africa, Russia, the Middle East or the Philippines and the missions each are linked together to provide an intriguing storyline at times. The sorties are varied as much as is possible, at times you may only need to destroy a single enemy installation or escort other planes over hostile enemy territory.
The long term appeal of the game is evident in its slow/small learning curve and the fact that Novalogic have their own free online server opens up a brave new world of multiplayer mayhem for over 120 like-minded gamers.
To put it simply. Everything you could ask for is laid out on your keyboard in an orderly fashion and close together. Anyone remember those cardboard keyboard cut-outs you can have to show you what keys do what, well, Novalogic have provided one too, but they unlike a many others they have thought about where everything should go. You only get one that goes round your F keys (F1 - F12) but they all do the most important functions you can think of.
For example: If you want to have night vision, yes, then you press the 'N' key for 'Night', right, wrong, use the 'F9' key, now, you need to check your Attack display and arm your Air to Air missiles, well you then press your 'F11' key then the '3' key. Simple easy and no messing about looking for the right key, it's all up there close together.
The graphics in the game are not the best by far, DID happen to make the most blindingly beautiful games anyone has seen and their mastery at Flight Sims is amazing. But, Novalogic has added a few small touches to the game that will impress anyone. Weather fronts in the game provide high winds, rain, snow, hail and even some lightning which I don't know if it can hit you but that would be a great feature to add. The textures, plane model are really detailed, the ground looks nice, but then again flying at 12,000ft does not really require a mass of detail.
As I said before the plane models are really good, missiles all look like the real life counter parts while buildings are rare but provide some sort of obsticles and at night the windows light up to provide a nice effect. Not forgetting the smoke effects & blast effects, they look realistic and nice.
The sound in the game is probably the last subject to touch on. The planes engines are really quiet, I have not heard proper F22 engines but they don't sound too high pitched and as far as I am concerned are good enough for me.
As for the other effects, shooting, explosions and landing they all sound really nice and if you can afford time online then visit the Novalogic multiplayer server and use the provided headsets to talk directly to your wingmen, cool!
F22 Lightning 3 is a good game, it has some tough competition to fight off but if your looking for a good flight game and your as bad as me at them then this game will suit you to a tee!