GDC 07: After Burner impressions
Sega's upcoming After Burner is not good. The final version of the game appeared at GDC, and it did not leave a good lasting impression. The graphics are quite lackluster, featuring some aliasing problems, and serious draw distance issues. The game just doesn't look good, near or far. The incredibly slow pace of the plane seems somewhat insulting, making you want to hold the Afterburner button as much as you can. At least barrel rolls look cool.
The gameplay doesn't really add up to much, either. The controls don't feel as tight as the ones featured in Ratchet & Clank's space shooter segments. The lock on weapons are generous, and the highly unintelligent enemy AI doesn't seem to do much to not get killed. They may fire back once in a while, and like in Full Auto 2, it's nigh impossible to tell how you're doing from the craft itself: you'll have to look in the bottom right corner to see a meter. You won't ever feel impact, nor will you feel like the craft is ever taking damage.
It's unfortunate that this game is so uninspired. While the full retail version may have more options, I highly doubt that the core gameplay will get any more interesting. The game comes out March 20th.