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2012: Year of the Wingsuit

4:00 PM on 12.31.2012 // Kyle MacGregor
  @DtoidKyle

I want to fly like a squirrel

When just about every major publisher rolled out a game featuring bows at E3 earlier this year, the fad didn't go unnoticed. Many were quick to comment on how in vogue arrow-slinging weaponry has become and for good reason. There's been another prevalent trend in gaming this year, but it's probably flown under most people's radars. 

Wingsuits. About a half dozen games this year featured special jumpsuits that allow people to glide through the air like a bird or, more appropriately, a flying squirrel. As the sun sets on 2012, join us in recounting our experiences with the latest craze to descend upon gaming. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops II 

Wingsuits are a pretty scary prospect in real life. Jumping off daring heights, gliding off into the wind is enough, but to look ridiculous doing it? It's a bit too much for me. Thankfully, Michael Rooker and his squad did it for me in Black Ops II -- all I had to do was press a few buttons.

Although the wingsuits aren't really featured for more than a few minutes of the game, their addition added some excitement to the beginning of the campaign, and really drove home how diverse the gear and weaponry really is in 2025.

Mark of the Ninja

Like the Tenchu series, Mark of the Ninja has a number of items that may not be very ninja-y (strictly speaking), but provide a ton of fun for anyone who wants to utilize them. One of those items is the wingsuit, which lets you stalk your enemies with great care in the air.

While a ninja game is probably the last game I'd expect to see a flying squirrel homage in, Mark of the Ninja is one of the many wingsuit-filled games of 2012.

New Super Mario Bros. U

While at first I lamented the lack of Cape Mario or the Tanooki Suit, I learned to love the Flying Squirrel Suit in New Super Mario Bros. U. Once you realized the nuanced play of clinging to walls, and bouncing off enemy heads to keep your glide going, things get really technical, and incredibly fun.

I didn't truly learn to appreciate the Flying Squirrel Suit until I tackled the game's challenge modes, where I quickly had to acclimate myself to not overdoing it, and utilizing all of the enemies I could to keep my flight combo going. Although it isn't the best new addition to the Mario franchise, I really enjoyed my time with it this year.

Far Cry 3

I thought Far Cry 2 was near perfect, but Ubisoft Montreal really strove to take everything up to eleven with the sequel. There are several additions and improvements that make the already winning formula even more enjoyable, but few manage to be more exhilarating than soaring over Far Cry 3's war-torn jungles in a wingsuit. 

When Jason Brody's journey into this insane new world calls for him to head to a new island, he acquires this equipment to help him drop unseen behind enemy lines. After that memorable covert landing, the wingsuit can be used freely for a limitless number of exhilarating flights. And whether our intrepid protagonist is using it to sneak up on enemies or just indulging in a joyride, one thing is for sure: using Far Cry 3's wingsuit always makes for a good time.

Journey

Okay, so this one's not exactly a wingsuit per se, but it's close enough in our book. Journey's magical scarf does just about everything you'd expect a wingsuit to do and the flapping cloak doesn't look too far off the mark, either. Gliding plays an integral role in traversing Journey's glittering desert landscapes and also makes for some of the title's more memorable and cinematic moments.

SSX

In SSX, there are nine deadly descents that correspond to different environmental hazards that exist around the globe. There's a variety of specialist gear to help conquer these potential threats, but of them all the wingsuit is, far and away, my favorite.

On certain slopes, there are large drops and wide gaps that make having a wingsuit an absolute necessity if you're looking to survive the run. However, given the choice I still take a wingsuit with me just about every time. While it might seem unintuitive, despite the webbing reducing speed, the enhanced level of control it offers in the air can help shave off precious seconds in a race.

That and, like the rest of these games, it's also just a lot of fun to use in general. 



Kyle MacGregor, Associate Editor
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