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IL-2 Sturmovik.


F-ZeroOne
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I downloaded the demo for this from XBox 360 Live. Its a title that flew under my radar until very recently. It may well fill your aviation warfare itch until the next Ace Combat comes out. The two scenarios in the demo are a Battle of Britain mission and a Battle of the Bulge ground attack mission.

It strikes an interesting balance between realism and arcade; you can fly it like Afterburner (well, After-full-war-emergency-power) but still enjoy some realistic aspects; throttle control is quite important, and if you plough into an enemy bomber formation you'll get cut to ribbons by their defensive fire. Theres some lovely touches; damage causes holes (big ones) to appear in your aircraft, gun recoil slows you down, and if you get too close to a bomber you're shooting up oil spots might splatter your windscreen.

Theres three different difficulty modes - Arcade, Realistic and Simulator. Annoyingly, Simulator seems to default to the in-cockpit view and as far as I can tell can't be changed. Ammunition is handled interestingly on the higher settings; you have unlimited ammo but it "charges"; fire too long and you have to wait. The difficulty also affects how hard enemies are to shoot down; on Arcade He-111s are made of tissue paper but on Realistic they're made of much sterner stuff. Theres a nice little deflection shooting mechanic as well.

There could be some annoyances in the full game - targets selection isn't quite as smooth as the Ace Combat series, and ground attack missions seem a bit under-cooked. Still, going by the demo its a decent try at a semi-realistic console air combat simulator (don't go expecting the You-Must-Earn-Your-Wings-Before-Playing PC predecessor) and seems much better than Blazing Angels.

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I've only played the demo a couple of times, but one thing I've noticed is that its seemingly quite easy to stall on the Realistic setting; I don't know if thats similar to the PC version. And if you do stall, theres an even nastier surprise waiting for you - spins!

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Yes, it was something of a surprise to me too; I only found out about it a week or so ago. As I mentioned, don't go expecting the full-up PC experience - its definitely been "console-ised" - but going by what I've seen so far, I don't think anyone will be too disappointed.

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If you guys have a PC, might as well just play the PC version right? Does the console version have better graphics? I doubt it has even half the number of flyable planes the PC has?

Considering its an 'old' game, the PC required specs are quite low for today.

Perversely, since upgrading my video card a few months ago, IL-2 no longer works correctly for me, and I spent hours and hours troubleshooting to no avail. There's something about my 4890 or the current ATI Catalysts that it don't like :( . I can either run it with minimal detail and lighting effects (runs great, looks like poo), or I can run it with full detail and lighting effects (runs great, looks like poo due to crazy artifacts). It kind of bites, as I've been playing since '03 and have been without my fix for a while now. Hope the driver gets sorted.

All that aside, IL-2 is my absolute favorite combat flight sim. I'm holding out for its replacement, the BOB:SOW series.

I didn't even know that there was a console port in the mix until I read this thread. I'll have to take a look at it.

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Perversely, since upgrading my video card a few months ago, IL-2 no longer works correctly for me, and I spent hours and hours troubleshooting to no avail. There's something about my 4890 or the current ATI Catalysts that it don't like :( . I can either run it with minimal detail and lighting effects (runs great, looks like poo), or I can run it with full detail and lighting effects (runs great, looks like poo due to crazy artifacts). It kind of bites, as I've been playing since '03 and have been without my fix for a while now. Hope the driver gets sorted.

All that aside, IL-2 is my absolute favorite combat flight sim. I'm holding out for its replacement, the BOB:SOW series.

I didn't even know that there was a console port in the mix until I read this thread. I'll have to take a look at it.

That's one of the reasons why I kept my old Pentium 4 machine with a 9800 radeon around running winXP/98se: To play old games. ^_^

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I've only played the demo a couple of times, but one thing I've noticed is that its seemingly quite easy to stall on the Realistic setting; I don't know if thats similar to the PC version. And if you do stall, theres an even nastier surprise waiting for you - spins!

I have a suggestion for you if you ever get caught in a flat spin (in a real life plane, I don't know if this will work in the game) let go of your controls right away. Airplanes are designed to right themeslves if you don't fool with the controls.

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I have a suggestion for you if you ever get caught in a flat spin (in a real life plane, I don't know if this will work in the game) let go of your controls right away. Airplanes are designed to right themeslves if you don't fool with the controls.

Don't try that with the early P-39s in IL-2. You'll die.

For the most part, WW2 fighters (in the game at least) tended to skirt the very very fine line of stable flight vs unstable flight. The planes fly just fine, but put one toe out of line, and you're in for a heck of a ride.

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I have a suggestion for you if you ever get caught in a flat spin (in a real life plane, I don't know if this will work in the game) let go of your controls right away. Airplanes are designed to right themeslves if you don't fool with the controls.

Hmm. I can't speak from actual flying experience, but having read a fair few accounts by test and combat pilots, I'm not sure that advice totally works for heavily loaded combat aircraft... :) (I can imagine some civil aeroplane manufacturer lawyer saying "Whats this in the manual about 'spin recovery'? You can't make airplanes that spin, gentlemen!") And, yes, the P-39 was apparently infamous, possibly because of its unusual (mid-engine mount) configuration... also, Jeffrey Quill, one of the most well known Spitfire test pilots has commented that the Spitfires stability was always slightly marginal, and the situation got worse as more powerful and more heavily loaded variants were developed...

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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In the PC version, I am always amazed at how benign the Me-262 is (aside from the flaming engines!).

In a P-51 or Bf109 or Fw190, you yank the controls too hard (esp on the Fw-190) and the plane WILL spin.

In a Me-262, you can jerk the thing any which way you want and although it will stall, it doesn't spin.

I can't quite imagine the real life Me-262 being so easy to fly.

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I have a suggestion for you if you ever get caught in a flat spin (in a real life plane, I don't know if this will work in the game) let go of your controls right away. Airplanes are designed to right themeslves if you don't fool with the controls.

Kinda sorta. The best plan for survival tends to be to apply opposite rudder (opposite of direction of spin), and apply a little down-elevator (nose down). If you can get the plane to dive, you have aerodynamic authority and are flying again. There are plenty of situations where nothing you can do will right the plane - best to eject in that case.

I can remember one funny occurrence in IL-2 from years ago, where I was just messing around doing aerobatics in a P51-B. I was doing a knife edged turn at high speed, and lost it, skidding into a flat spin (all too easy to do). I was at relatively high altitude, and had a little bit of time to try to wrangle the plane. My plane-wrangling failed, and I bailed at a fairly high altitude (~2000m). Drifting down on my parachute, I watched my plane right itself, and continue to fly around in ascending circles until it ran out of fuel, such was the way I had it trimmed. Maybe there is something to the "let go of all controls" theory after all :lol:

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Well, letting go of the controls worked back in the day when you didn't have any choice but to make aircraft stable.. no computers and such to get you out of a jam. Some planes were still unstable in certain areas, but for the most part planes had to be designed stable before they would build them. Course, I think only static stability is a requirement, not dynamic stability (whole mess of aerodynamics in this area, and the math gets very ugly, very quick).

Nowadays, letting go of the controls works, but only because the computer will fix the plane for you. That's really what planes like the F-14 needed from the start.. God only knows why, but the F-14 was designed with an inherent instability in the yaw axis. There's literally a "OMG! FLAT SPIN! EJECT!" type warning in the flight manual... Get the yaw rate up too high, and a giant arrow in the direction of the yaw appears over all the cockpit displays. I'd have to read it again, but I think it says if you don't correct it within a few seconds, you should just eject.

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Ahhh all this talk about IL-2. You guys who've played the PC version, anyone remember the Blitz Pigs Squadron? I'm a charter member, I guess we were pretty 'in'famous back in the day.

My favorite plane was always the La-5FN. Though I spent some time flying the LaGG and Yak tank killers, the ones with the big cannon mounted in the nose. If flown right, they could be quite capable "snipers" :D The La-5FN is just the best dogfighter, though.

Vostok 7

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Ahhh all this talk about IL-2. You guys who've played the PC version, anyone remember the Blitz Pigs Squadron? I'm a charter member, I guess we were pretty 'in'famous back in the day.

My favorite plane was always the La-5FN. Though I spent some time flying the LaGG and Yak tank killers, the ones with the big cannon mounted in the nose. If flown right, they could be quite capable "snipers" :D The La-5FN is just the best dogfighter, though.

Vostok 7

I most always flew solo, but of course I know of the Blitz Pigs :) Always seemed like a really good group.

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  • 4 weeks later...

You can actually do that in IL-2 (original PC version, and IL-2 1946), if you aim for the landing gear. It won't shoot the plane down, but it might convince the Stuka pilot to drop his bombs and head for home. Just as good as a kill as he's not putting his bombs on your troops.

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I don't think the landing gear has been shot off in the cover image, I think its actually missing to start with for whatever reason - the Ju-87s landing gear was fixed and non-retractable, and although the one in in the image is obviously distressed it doesn't look like the landing gear has been blown completely away.

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I've had a chance to play the game a bit; initial observations:

Controls in realistic seem a touch twitchy; if a real Spitfire stalled as much as that the Luftwaffe would probably just have needed to buzz an airfield and watch an entire RAF squadron spin into the ground. Mind you, I'm not a real Spitfire pilot, so who knows, but from the many accounts I've read of people who were, "tendency to drop nose at slightest provocation" doesn't appear to be one of its features.

Strict historical accuracy takes an early beating; its possible Hurricanes strafed German destroyers during the Battle of Britain but I doubt they dropped bombs on them. Also, 12 gun Hurricanes in 1940? Hmm...

I wish certain aspects were selectable rather than limited to one reality setting or the other; I would much prefer the "Realistic" damage setting in Arcade, for example.

Having said that, the game does a great job of making you feel like Ace McAce of the RAFs McAce squadron as you plunge through a flight of He-111s and scream past a bunch of falling, flaming wings. The oil on your windshield is a beautiful touch.

Only tried the bomber tutorial once, but its increased my respect for real bomber veterans tenfold, especially those who flew the real thing, in daylight, in 1940, against Me 109s.

Edited by F-ZeroOne
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Ah, found a cure on-line to the "goes into spin if you even so much as breathe at the stick" problem - turn the sensitivity of the aerilons and elevators right down. You'll find "realistic" much less of an exercise in masochism that way.

Another undocumented feature in realistic mode is that it appears you can stop your engine by applying too much emergency power for too long. This is realistic, it just would have been nice to have been told...!

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I've been a fan of arcade flight games as well as the hardcore sims. I like a good arcade game like Ace Combat 6 and hardcore sims like Jane's Longbow, Falcon 4.0, and European Air War (90s goodness). I do have to say though that the hardcore sims have been on very lean times after the 90s. IL-2 on the PC is the only sim that really took off for the genre, and it ran it's course years ago.

Still, with the console versioin of IL-2 out there with "realistic" settings available, it is nice. Not for me, since I never play my sims on a console, but hopefully the challenge of realistic flight sims would entice newer players to dive into this niche genre. Times have been tough for flight sims for almost a decade. And it needs new blood really bad B))

As far as WWII sims, my favorites depending on the theater:

Western Europe (Allies): P-51 Mustang- Speed, power, and lots of .50 cal rounds. A bit flimsy, especially for me coming off Fw-190s on several sims.

German (Western & Eastern Fronts): Fw-190 - In general my favorite mount when flying as a member of the Luftwaffe ever since I tried European Air War (esp. with "Enemy Coast Ahead" mod). I'd pick the '262 but that's like cheating. The '190 has a wonderful blend of handling, survivability, and tremendous firepower. I used to be a hardcore flyer for a '109, but the '190 to me surpasses it in every possible way. A good short burst from the 20mm cannons will disintegrate most targets short of multi-engined aircraft / bombers. Specifically I've put more time in the A4 variant than in anything else for the Luftwaffe.

Pacific Theater: F4U - Ever since watching the "Black Sheep Squadron" on TV reruns, I've long been a fan of the very unique look of this bird. I've never had the chance to fly a Corsair in any sim until Pacific Fighters came out.

Edited by Warmaker
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Still, with the console versioin of IL-2 out there with "realistic" settings available, it is nice. Not for me, since I never play my sims on a console, but hopefully the challenge of realistic flight sims would entice newer players to dive into this niche genre. Times have been tough for flight sims for almost a decade. And it needs new blood really bad
Oh god yea, I agree! The last great flight sim I played on PC was Jane's F-15. Good times.
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I never got F-15, but I ate up Janes F/A-18 for a while, and that thing is disturbingly accurate... like, borders on national security risk accurate. I got a chance to fly a real superhornet sim for a while, and the thing was spot on. I really wish more sims had that style cockpit.. best full 3D pit I've ever used.

This IL-2 demo has given me a bit of hope for the genre actually.. I've never seen a console sim with separate flap/gear controls in that style (though I admit, I've mostly just played the AC series). After I finally got the throwup taste out of my mouth from hawx, it's nice to see SOMEONE knows how to make a flight game (I think it's even *gasp* Ubi! last I checked they still had the IL-2 license).

It plays beautifully, and I'll probably have to get the full version quickly. I just hope they re-release the Hori stick for it, because a regular controller, or even that saitek aviator stick just isn't gonna cut it with this. I would've liked the option to fully configure the controls personally (really prefer the ace combat controls for throttle and rudder), but I understand why they did it the way they did. Having to hold the stick down to look around was a pain though, and I was always giving slight rudder when I tried to speed up (silly mixed axis controls :p)

As for the realism setting.. I actually had a much better time on the "simulator" setting, than on "realistic." Dunno why really.. seemed like the plane was much more controllable from the cockpit. Missed the padlock view (especially with the stick-press POV hat), but I could actually.. you know, pull back, and not have the plane go out of control every 3 seconds. I gave up on realistic, but completed the first couple missions on the sim setting.

Oddly.. this isn't the first sim I've played that had that crazy stall problem. The MS Combat Sim 3 P-51 had the same issue. You could be going a good 400 knots in level flight, pull back into a 2g climb, and get blasted by stall warnings. What it boiled down to for that game was oversensitive flight dynamics settings, so this might be similar (but unfortunately, not moddable in this case).

Seems someone finally managed to cram a nice balance of arcade and realism into a console sim. The arcade mode is fun for just shooting the crap out of everything, and the simulator mode is a great challenge. They even scale the score ratings for each level... I got 8 kills on the sim setting and got a rating of "Perfect!," but 40 kills on the arcade setting only got me "Great" :lol:

Edited by Chronocidal
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