July 31st, 2015 by ShamrockOneFive
The developers at 1CGS have been pretty busy the last several months. We’ve seen frequent updates but now the content is starting to arrive. And how sweet it is!
Polikaprov’s I-16, sometimes known as ‘Rata’ (Rat), is a short nosed and highly compact fighter that was the primary fighter of the Soviet fighter force for most of the 1930s. The most advanced fighter of its time, by World War II it was outclassed but not entirely outmatched by newer fighters.
If you already did the Premium Pre-order of Battle for Moscow, your new fighter already awaits you in the hangar. If you didn’t you can still have a close look at it is now available for those who did the Premium pre-order of BoM and it’s the first of the Battle for Moscow content to be released.
The version we get is the Type 24. This is a late model I-16 with an upgraded engine and four ShKAS 7.62mm machine guns as standard. It also comes with a variety of unlockable options including the ability to make this a Type 28 – the two wing machine guns get replaced by the much heavier hitting ShVAK 20mm cannon.
Performance? Well… we can only compare against the later model Bf109F-4 and G-2 at the moment. Both of which are far and away superior to the I-16 in speed and climb rate. But the handling on the Rata is extremely good with a rapid roll rate, a very good turn rate, and excellent cockpit visibility. The stall is vicious if you let it get out of hand and it’s easy for a new pilot to really mess things up in a hurry. I found out the hard way!
Against the earlier Bf109 models coming in BoM you can expect to be able to at least keep up in some situations. But you won’t be winning any races!
Summer and Autumn Stalingrad Campaign
The developers have been teasing us with images from upcoming versions of the Battle of Stalingrad map. We’re getting new summer and autumn versions of the Stalingrad map which will take us away from the snow covered fields of the Stalingrad Oblast region and show us some summer and autumn fields.
The change of scenery will be a welcome change for the series and it also introduces new campaigns covering the time period between September and November of 1942 as the German assault on Stalingrad intensified. The developers are aiming to increase mission variety by mixing custom built missions in with the auto generated missions and adding new objects like gunboats along the Volga river. This new theatre and campaign are being shipped free if you already have Battle of Stalingrad so bonus there!
There has been much criticism leveled against the 1CGS developers for Battle of Stalingrad. In our review we’ve talked about a few of the main issues that the simulation/game has. It’s still the most focused and cohesive next generation WWII flight simulator out there (DCS’ Normandy map still hasn’t landed yet) and it’s immensely fun to just fly around the landscape.
New updates that have recently added to the IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad lineup include the Ju52 (AI plane) that adds so much needed presence of the Luftwaffe’s massive airlift effort and new features such as 64 player servers and the much awaited return of the F11 free look mode that movie makers love so much.
If you have pre-ordered the Premium pack for Battle of Moscow then the MC.202 (August) and P-40E-1 (September) are on their way soon. In October the Bf109E-7 will arrive closely followed by the Bf110E-2. 1CGS has not stated when the remaining 5 aircraft will arrive.
Want to catch up on more stuff? Check out the 1CGS Dev Diary and join us on the Battlefields IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad multiplayer server!
July 26th, 2015 by Bone Head
This is a busy time of year for me and laying on my back catching some sun so as not to get rickets leaves me even less time than I have in the winter.
That said I was asked the other day if I could clear out the BF1 stats database to make room for some new acts of heroism so I complied.
You can find the new fresh stats database (rather than the old smelly one) here: http://www.battle-fields.com/BF1stats/
June 7th, 2015 by ShamrockOneFive
The officially designated IL-2 1946 Team Daidalos development team has released the long awaited (and delayed) IL-2 1946 4.13 patch. The patch weighs in at just over 400 megabytes and it comes with new content, fixes, and changes across the board. We’re going to take a short look at some of the highlights.
New planes include the flyable B-24D (its beautiful) American heavy bomber, the Japanese N1K1 fighter series (including the J, Ja, and Jb), SB-2M-103 Russian light bomber, and the Yugoslavian IK-3. The P-40E, M-105 Field Mod., and P-40M receive an external visual overhaul courtesy of artist Macwan. You can also try out the Ju88A-5 (Late) and Ju88P-1 with a massive 75mm cannon. Several new AI types show up as well including many Ju88 models that were missing previously, the German He177A-3 heavy bomber, and a Japanese scout seaplane in the form of the E-13A.
There are also new vehicles and maps with the New Guinea, New Britain map (several versions), the far northern Svalbard, Slovakia Autumn and Tobruk maps joining the mix.
Changes to the bombing mechanics for coop, advanced bomb sight details, damage model tweaks for the engines on the Spitfire, P-51, P-47 & P-40 round out some of the highlights. There are many more details and comments available on the 1C forum for IL-2 1946. Check out the full list.
The Battle-fields team are currently working on updates for our IL-2 1946 servers to support the latest content. No doubt our players are itching to see a B-24D up close and personal! Check out the status on our forums!
April 26th, 2015 by Bone Head
For years we have had a rule often called the ‘no vulching’ rule. It came about in an attempt to stop folk hanging about over enemy basses picking off vulnerable aircraft taking off or landing. Its the same thing as spawn killing, base camping or other less savoury terms used on other servers to try and enhance game play, after all as real as the maps may be it is just a game.
Recently we had a poll to see if we thought we should keep the rule after some questions were asked requesting clarification of the rule.
I am still waiting for guidance from the Syndicate members but if it inst forth coming I will take action and dream up something that gives admins and players alike guidance on this rule. It seems straight forward to me but then so does the offside rule in football and some have made a career out of that so watch this space!
March 22nd, 2015 by ShamrockOneFive
People sometimes ask if PC simulators are still a thing. Us simulation gamers like to think so but do our thoughts match reality? I’d like to think they do!
Exciting new developments in the PC simulator world mean that 2015 and beyond are shaping up to be exciting times for those of us who want the most realistic flying experiences around. A new game engine and content for DCS, the new 4.13 patch for IL-2 1946, and new content and a new product announcement from the 1CGS IL-2 Battle for Stalingrad team have me pretty excited about what is coming soon.
IL-2 1946 gets a new patch
The folks at Team Daidalos have been hard at work on a new patch for IL-2 1946. There’s a lot of content coming very soon now. Let’s have a look at what we are getting in the new patch.
New flyable aircraft:
- N1K1J, N1K1Ja and N1K1Jb
A fully realized USAAF heavy bomber has only been a dream for most of us but now we’re looking at not just a good entry into this category but a really spectacularly put together one. Some turrets feature gyro gunsights, the belly turret moves up and down and ammo belts are animated making this a highly detailed recreation of the B-24D. We’re going to find this very useful in our multiplayer scenarios from the Pacific, to Burma, to long range flights over the Eastern front, the Mediterranean and Europe.
The N1K1 will now be a flyable type as well. The redesigned N1K2J has been a flyable for several years now and earned praise from our online community (affectionately called “Niki” by some members). The earlier model is like a whole other aircraft with both some great attributes and also a few flaws. I think this will be a favourite as well.
Cockpit and external view of the N1K1-Jb
For the rare aircraft fan we have the Yugoslavian IK-3. The fighter saw limited combat but is something of a cult favourite for some aircraft modellers and I’m sure we’ll find a way to get it into our multiplayer.
Sparse… but pretty!
Two new AI planes are also being added to the mix:
The E13A is a single engine Japanese seaplane and the He-177 is the problem plagued German heavy bomber with a unique 4 engine arrangement in only two engine nacelles. A separate team is working on making this bomber a flyable in the future.
He117 bomber and the E13A seaplane add some extra spice to single player missions
More detailed bombing controls and the addition of a co-piloting feature for certain medium and heavy bombers round out the new features coming in 4.13. There are also a few new ground objects too!
Check out these development videos for details on the new bombing systems (sure to delight our Dedicated Bomber Squad). And visit the 1C Forums to see the full list of Developer Updates.
IL-2 Battle for Stalingrad loads up fixes, new content
The folks at 1CGS have made some big announcements in the last couple of weeks including announcement of continued development on Battle for Stalingrad and some free new content.
Battle for Stalingrad gets some new features starting with the ability for Premium owners to unlock all of the loadouts for aircraft automatically. You have to do it from the IL-2: BoS website but once done you’ll have every armament option available to you. The extra built in skins still need to be unlocked via campaign play although many players are now using custom skins anyways.
Coming for all owners of Battle for Stalingrad are two new versions of the Stalingrad map with new Summer and Autumn time of year variations and new single player campaign chapters covering this part of the battle. The dev teams have shown us a few images of what that will look like.
First glimpses of the summer maps for IL-2 Battle for Stalingrad
Finally, patches 1.010 is out with dozens of fixes and the beta release of the Dedicated Server and Full Mission Builder. Quite a lot happening with Battle for Stalingrad as the produce matures slowly.
That’s not all that 1CGS has announced…
Battle of Moscow joins the collection
The battlefields west of Moscow are the location for the next IL-2 release from 1CGS. IL-2 Battle of Moscow takes us back to the fall of 1941 and early winter of 1942 for this pivotal battle on the Eastern Front. Eight new flyable aircraft in the standard edition and two additional premium types are the core of the content with new single player campaigns and undoubtedly some new unlocks to collect (or unlock automatically with Premium). Battle for Moscow can be purchased as a separate game or, similar to the way that Pacific Fighters operated with IL-2 Forgotten Battles, you can merge the two together for the full experience.
So what do we get to fly in the Battle for Moscow? Let’s look at the list:
- I-16 Type 24
- IL-2 (model 1941)
- Pe-2 Series 35
The focus is definitely on the early war period on the eastern front with the I-16 and MiG-3 fighters challenging the German Bf109E-7 and F-2. These earlier Bf109s have less firepower and engine power than the later versions and should match closely with their Russian counteparts at the time.
The Bf110E-2 is a dedicated fighter-bomber variant of the famous heavy fighter and the IL-2 we all know and love is back with an earlier 1941 model edition with no turret gunner and probably lacking some of the heavier firepower that the 1942 model added. Pe-2 Series 35 is an early version of the famous Russian bomber and this early version is even faster than the heavier more heavily armed later versions. For Germany we get the versatile Ju88A-4 with its excellent balance of speed, defensive power, and dive or level bombing abilities.
The Premium release aircraft are less relevant to the Moscow theatre but they do represent interesting and fan favourite types that fought on the Eastern Front. The P-40E saw plenty of Russian use in World War II and the MC.202 fought a very limited number of East Front battles but players have been asking about this plane since nearly day one.
Any disappointments? So far we don’t know if we’ll see any variations on existing types that haven’t been mentioned (like the earlier M-105P Yak-1) and there are some repeat aircraft like the IL-2, Bf109F-2, and Pe-2 which are different and highly relevant but also very similar to the later versions we already have. The details and some of the unlocks for these aircraft may give us some fun differences and those have not yet been revealed. Others are still holding out for several other planes to be added to the series and while we definitely know what the guys at 1CGS are working on, I doubt they have told us everything yet.
DCS World Goes 2.0
We’ve known for a while that Eagle Dynamics was working on an updated core game engine that would power all future additions to the series. It looks like 2015 will be the year that we finally see an update to DCS World called EDGE 2.0 along with the highly anticipated Nevada map where the famous Red Flag training exercises take place. This will fit well with the A-10C and it should be a blast for anyone who wants to fly over the Las Vegas strip or cruise at high speed over the desert floor.
Pre-orders are happening for the nearly finished MiG-15bis (which joins the Leatherneck Studios MiG-21) and Eagle Dynamics is bringing together a collection of World War II materials including the already available Bf109K-4, FW190D-9, P-51D plus the all new P-47D, and Spitfire IX all flying over DCS 2.0 EDGE enhanced Normandy. We’re expecting a lot from this area in 2015 and beyond.
Check out some of the development videos from EDGE 2.0 over Nevada.
War Thunder keeping it casual? Maybe not.
War Thunder’s reputation as the more casual flight simulator/game experience might be changing as revealed by the Developers Blog. A new IL-2 AM-38 1941 series (the same type coming for Battle for Moscow) is being added to the game and in the developers own words, “This IL-2 model has the most detailed and precise damage model compared to any IL-2 ever created in a game and sets a new quality standard for all of our aircraft.” Might be some competition heating up in the world of IL-2 simulators.
Uhh… did you know your wheels are down?
Look for more information on their Developers Blog to see what the War Thunder team is up to.
It looks like 2015 will be a busy year in the simulator arena with lots of interesting announcements and additions coming to a PC near you (and hopefully a server near us).We haven’t even talked about what will probably be a future blog entry on Star Citizen and Elite: Dangerous yet.
There is a lot of activity for this small niche market and I, for one, am very happy to see it!
March 20th, 2015 by Bone Head
I managed to shoot an enemy aircraft down in IL2 Battle of Stalingrad! Not only is this a rarity, believe me when I say that I have killed my self more times trying to land than I have shot down an enemy. In games like CS I tend to manage to get one or two team kills to every 5 enemy. To say I am a crap shot is an understatement!
So I was pretty chuffed to manage to down the guy who is annoyingly good at all games, namely Flying Finn! Here is the proof that I had to pay Fox big bucks for:
Whilst I am on don’t forget to visit our Battle of Stalingrad IL2 server (its called Battle-Fields strangely enough!) where you will find custom maps and friendly pilots!
March 4th, 2015 by Bone Head
It has been a fairly busy couple of days here at B-F what with the long awaited release of the dedicated server for IL2 Battle of Stalingrad and the rebuilding of the CSGO server I’m thinking it might be time to relax and enjoy some gaming although I get the feeling that that isn’t going to be happening any time soon.
The BoS server is just running the default maps, so I guess it will be a hectic few weeks whilst we get to grips with the finer points of running this new server especially as there is no documentation I can find on how to run the damned thing! Im having flash backs to 2008 when we were first setting up the original IL2 servers. Still; I’d like to think we got the hang of that, after all we have been consistantly running probably the some of the (if not the) busiest IL2 servers on the planet.
Lets hope we can do the same again with the new version!
February 10th, 2015 by Bone Head
I enjoy riding my bikes, no not ones with engines, the kind that I have to pedal. I also enjoy the competitive side to cycling, both watching and competing. The competing these days is often using an app on my phone or GPS that has a look at where I have been and compares the time it took me to get between two points at various places along the road or track (I ride in the woods and off road mostly).
Living in the North of England means that I am surrounded by Elite road cyclists and one or two world champions of off road. Tthe road cyclists tend to use the same app that I do so you can imagine it can be quite demoralising, especially after I have turned myself inside out climbing a hill only to find out that Ben Swift from team Sky did the same segment about 15 mph faster than I did and then continued to ride for 4 hours at a faster pace than I did for the hour I was out. However, I’m confident that Ben and indeed all his team are riding clean, so it is a fair comparison. He is 20 odd years younger than me, probably 5 stone lighter and rides every day. I have to console myself by thinking I’m much better looking and if it wasn’t for the millions he is earning the girls would much prefer me. Obviously.
So whilst I was out on my bike today with a throng of nubile groupies chasing after me I got to thinking about cheating. Let’s face it, cycling hasn’t been the ‘cleanest’ sports over the last few decades, in fact if you read the history there has always been cheats. Armstrong swapping his blood out, injecting EPO, HGH, Cortisol, testosterone and maybe others was a surprise to millions but to many of us just confirmed what we though we already knew.
I think you know where this is heading don’t you. Cheating in gaming. I’ve been playing online games since 1998. For ages me and my new found online gaming friends battled it out playing Delta Force, we were very average mostly but it was fun and the matches we won were hard fought and well deserved. When Delta Force 2 was released things were much the same, the squad got bigger (not really better though) and fun was had by all. Then there were rumours starting of players using ‘trainers’ we would call them hacks these days. That was it, the game went sour, you couldn’t trust anyone some players were just too good to be true. If you played well (I say you because I never did) the accusations would start to fly around and to be honest that is when I fell out with Delta Force. Even though I was part of the 2 man team that ran the most popular Delta Force websites in the world I lost interest.
So nothing has changed. Some people feel the need to cheat. The professional cyclist or football player who dopes does it for many reasons, to keep their job is one that I suppose I can sympathise with, to be the best is one reason I can’t understand. So you play games for fun, you cheat, you get a higher rank, who cares? Let’s face it most of your friends think you are a sad git anyhow because they don’t understand gaming. Those you beat who know your cheating hate you. No one respects you, you aren’t getting rich (unless you are a pro gamer) you are just getting sadder.
Not that any of the above bothers you because you probably have no self-respect and that is worse.
So to what I was mulling over today on my ride; The other night team BFs (CS:GO division) finished a game where we thought there had been blatant cheating going on. With hindsight and some watching back of the mach I’m not convinced. For some reason I think we were drawn against much better players. Which at the moment isn’t difficult. Some of us removed the game from their machines, many vowed never to play again. All because we can’t trust other players. I think we all trust each other, we are all friends, we enjoy each other’s company which is why we meet each evening to play. We flit about between games now because we can no longer play CS because of the cheats. Our fun has been spoilt by a handful of morbidly obese, sweaty, spotty, smelly hormone fuelled teenagers who have no real friends or self-respect because they are desperately trying to gain acceptance and kudos from their gaming peers. They spend their nights laying awake in their crusty bed sheets wondering if they will ever get a girlfriend.
I didn’t remove CS from my hard drive but I came close but I don’t need the drive space. I did in fact start playing again the very next day. Thankfully the 4 other players who I joined were all gentlemen and we played well together and we won. It was a fair even match both teams thanked each other for the game after, the losers were gracious in defeat. It was how it should be.
Some of us have played again and lost, but it seemed fair and we had fun, so screw the cheats, let them do their thing. To those who play clean don’t let the cheats win, the good games make up for the bad ones 10 fold, even the good games we lose are worth playing.
The authorities are to blame. In cycling it was the UCI, they knew what was going on, but they turned a blind eye because lets face it, Armstrong was a crowd puller. In CS:GO is Valve who are to blame. They know there are cheats, people get banned, but the game is so cheap that the cheaters just buy it again. If every player of CS got banned a couple of times a year Valve would be even richer than they are now. I don’t think that it is in Valves best interest to stop the cheats because the cheats are the ones who keep buying the game over and over again. Prove me wrong.
December 30th, 2014 by Bone Head
Review by NS-IceFire.
1CGS’s IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad is a successor product to the original IL-2: Sturmovik series that has dominated the PC World War II flight simulator market for the better part of a decade and a half. Does the new entry in the series measure up to its predecessor? The answer is both yes and no.
What you get
There are two versions of the simulator available for online purchase. The Standard edition is $59.99 USD and includes the core of the game including quick mission builder, single player campaign, and multiplayer modes plus 8 aircraft. The Premium jumps up in price to $99.99 and adds two additional “special” aircraft to the set.
The Battle of Stalingrad is a key World War II battle and 1CGS have created a huge 385 x 230km map including significant parts of the battle area including Stalingrad itself and huge stretches of territory both east and west as well as a narrower section to north and south of the city. Everything from Set from November 1942 to March 1943 – basically you have the major pieces like Operation Uranus, the air bridge campaign and the final liberation of the city. Expect a lot of snow!
The aircraft set is well chosen with the specific types and variants that flew during the battle. The Russian side gets the IL-2 AM-38 (both with and without the field modified rear gunner seat), LaGG-3 Series 29, Yak-1 Series 69, and the Pe-2 Series 87 (and Series 110 with the modified rear gunner station).
For the German side we have the Bf109F-4 and Bf109G-2, Ju87D-3, and the He111H-6. All contemporary types and sub variants that fought in the battle. If you opt for premium then you get the La-5 Series 8 (first introduced during the Battle of Stalingrad and the FW190A-3 (introduced on the Eastern Front during this time period but not at the Battle of Stalingrad specifically).
All of the vehicles, artillery, tanks, and trains are historically and faithfully recreated. The important landmarks of Stalingrad circa late 1942 are there including the infamous tractor factory and scenes that any Red Orchestra infantry player might find familiar – just rendered from up high in the sky.
For the history nut (like me), this is a great collection of pretty much everything that is essential to this battle. The glaring omission to the aircraft set is the Ju52 transport aircraft that played such a key role during the air bridge scenario. Developers have shown the aircraft in development and we expect to see that sometime in 2015.
7/10 – Good value for the money but this is an expensive product if you go for the Premium version. Two extra planes for $40 is not great value. Recent holiday sale prices make the extra aircraft more reasonably priced so jump on those when a sale comes up if you can wait.
Flight Modeling, Damage Modeling, Sim Stuff
Battle for Stalingrad really shines on the simulator side of things. The feeling and sensation of flight with the physics engine they have implemented for this game engine is superb. I’m not a technical expert in this area but the developers claim to have developed the flight system from highly detailed technical reports and using methods similar to those of what you might see in Eagle Dynamic’s Digital Combat Systems (DCS) more recent additions to that series.
The aircraft feel like they have weight, you almost feel as if they are cutting through the air and that the air is pushing back. There is a distinct feel to each aircraft and the historical strengths and weaknesses are all there. It’s everything you would expect from a modern flight simulation and although there have already been concerns about some areas of the performance modeling or the handling – the core technologies really do shine here. These issues will be worked out in time.
My impression is that this flight model takes things a step further than anything you might have seen in IL-2 1946. It is really quite impressive overall.
Damage modeling is highly detailed with individual components failing due to battle damage and misuse. Wings crumple, fold, and break apart in a convincing manner and gun ballistics are all there. Some of the most impressive damage I’ve seen is in the crash landings where pieces bend or break depending on how great an impact was sustained. There are also great moments where you hit your target with a cannon shell and at first it appears as if nothing has happened but then slowly you see the wing begin to deform and then the whole thing comes apart. Spectacular!
9/10 – It really feels like you’re flying along and that is easily half the battle with a flight simulator.
Graphics & Sound
Battle for Stalingrad also really shines in the graphical department and not too many people are going to be disappointed here.
Aircraft are faithfully modelled from a visual standpoint and they are beautiful both inside and out. If you look strictly at 3D object and texture quality, IL-2 Cliffs of Dover still has an edge here with slightly more detailed aircraft, but Battle of Stalingrad is very close.
Shadows and lighting effects, not to mention some of the more sophisticated particle and fire effects, are also really impressive. Just look at the screen shots that are part of this review or that are out there (full disclosure: mine are taken at the second highest graphical setting). A sunrise or sunset with banks of clouds, a little snow and that golden hour shine in your cockpit is easily one of the most immersive experiences I’ve had in a video game.
The sound is equally impressive. There are some sounds that could be slightly better but there is definitely an authenticity to everything. The whine off the Bf109s supercharger is there and the harsh sounding M-105 engine stands in stark contrast. The AM-38 on the IL-2 has a beautiful purring sound and the ASh-82 and BMW radials capture their distinct character very well. Gear drops, flap systems, bomb releases and so forth are all there and they sound a lot better than the stock sounds in the old IL-2 1946.
I have a constant reoccurring problem where I don’t hear impact effects on my own aircraft. So sometimes I will be hit and have no idea despite the hit being from a 20mm cannon. This is experienced by some but not all players and it seems to be a bug.
9/10 – Graphics and sound are superb although missing impact effects for some players is a notable problem.
This review probably sounds pretty upbeat so far and that is because as a simulator product, IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad really shines. It has the fidelity and the historical attention to detail that you need for this type of product. Where Battle for Stalingrad has serious problems is more on the game side of the equation.
The campaign and multiplayer are the areas where things tend to fall apart. I’m going to be honest and say that I actually like the concept behind the campaign. The designers have created something that is easy to jump in and play.
When you start up a campaign you have the 6 phases of the Stalingrad battle with historical front lines and bases. You pick your plane, your preferred mission, and then the whole thing is generated dynamically. This is a great way to get into a mission and experience the battle in a short amount of time – and that time is often pretty tight for many of us these days.
Unfortunately, the missions at present tend to be repetitive at their base level. An intercept mission plays out basically the same way each time and the ground attack, ground support, bombing, and escort missions do too. The briefings provide all the necessary detail but are also very mechanical. There are a few waypoints (takeoff, midway to the action, action point, midway home, and landing) in each mission type and that is pretty typical of a campaign mission. The one thing that saves this from a boring monotony is the random events generated on the way. You may be on a ground attack mission but a formation of enemy bombers with escorts may fly overhead.
Dynamism in each mission aside, there is no investment in squadrons or wingmen and it’s hard to have that feeling of what being on the front really is like. It’s definitely missing that human factor that could have propelled it to the next level. The approach overall is valid but a few extra layers adding squadron/aircraft combinations (with the historically appropriate JG and IAP and GvIAP units for example) would have been a great way to add to the experience.
Any investment in your own pilot is done through a leveling progression system whereby additional equipment and skins for your aircraft are unlocked. Your pilot levels up (like in a RPG) and the equipment for your aircraft and skins are unlocked by scoring XP points playing through missions and accomplishing your goals. None of the unlocks are strictly necessary but some players find this a chore.
Worse yet is that you can’t do the unlocking of these extra pieces of equipment in competitive multiplayer like you might with Call of Duty or Battlefield – you have to do this in the Campaign mode. For players who spend their time exclusively online, this is a critical decision as it forces them to grind through a single player experience they don’t want. Simulator pilots that are used to a more sandbox approach aren’t going to like this and I’m not convinced more casual gamer types are going to appreciate this much either. If Multiplayer and/or Campaign mode contributed in the same way then I think this would be less of an issue.
Speaking of catering to different types of gamers and Sim pilots, there are two levels of difficulty. Normal and Expert take care of some of these needs. They both have similar difficulty level when it comes to flying the aircraft so the simulation level is there no matter what mode you’re in. Where the two really differ is in the helpers involved. In normal mode you can play with just the basics like throttle, flaps, gear, guns, and so forth and a kind of AI system manages the rest. With Expert mode you also need to worry about engine RPM, fuel mixtures and supercharger settings and these vary with aircraft and engine involved. Normal is good for taking care of more casual players but it’s not going to simplify down to the same level as the War Thunder Arcade mode might – this is still a serious simulation. Expert mode is considerably more difficult but it also doesn’t go down to the level of detail as a DCS module like the A-10C might although I’d say it’s still pretty close.
The QMB mode is ideal for quick action and although it is fairly simple, it has all of the features that you’d need to get a quick dogfight going and it’s often my go-to for a quick dogfight.
5/10 – The campaign system itself has potential but is hindered by an unwanted unlock system and repetitive mission types. Multiplayer unlocks being tied to the single player campaign unlocks are a poor design decision.
IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad is an essentially near bug free release with a great simulation engine and excellent flight dynamics and historical detail. Its game elements are less well implemented and the campaign’s predictable missions could use more variety. The unlock system is highly controversial.
Battle of Stalingrad has great potential. It can’t yet take the crown from its predecessor having neither the scope nor the flexibility of the past title but it has a solid technological base with a great selection of aircraft that they could expand on from here. 1CGS hasn’t revealed future plans just yet but we have seen some very early development images of a MC.202 and a Ju52 (non-flyable). A future I-16 addition has all but been confirmed so more content is likely to come and community issues are hopefully going to be addressed as time goes on.
With some design changes Battle of Stalingrad could be an excellent successor product with all of the pedigree of a simulator we might still be playing ten years from now. It’s not clear if that will be the case but Battle of Stalingrad is a good, if sometimes rocky, start.
Overall score: 7.5 – An authentic World War II combat simulator held back by some of its more “gamey” features.
All screen shots taken at the High detail level (there is one higher) on a four year old gaming rig (Core i7 870, 12GB of DRR3-1333 RAM, nVidia GTX 570 1GB.
December 22nd, 2014 by Bone Head
Merry Christmas, that expression seems to get used less and less these days as people try and become more politically correct, which is a bit sad. Personally my family do celebrate Christmas and I know many of our site visitors do to so if you don’t bear with us as we eat drink and play games wearing party hats and silly jumpers.
I have to admit I haven’t got into the Christmas spirit really yet as I’m working most days around the holiday but I am trying!
With that in mind I thought I would drag the picture out of the loft of the old site mascot from back in the 1990’s of Bobbi looking festive. Its getting a bit old but its the only Christmas decoration we own and it might put me more in the mood for the family celebrations.Things have been a little quiet at B-F of late as IL2 seems to be slightly less popular than it was a few years back and it’s ‘replacement’ Battle of Stalingrad seems to be surrounded by mixed feelings and controversy. However good news is Icefire has written what I think is a very fair appraisal of the sim as it stands now. I will be posting it here once it has been finalised.
Meanwhile the regulars seem to be lurching from one game to another like a class full of kids with ADHD. At the moment Elite Dangerous seems to be holding our attention but next week who knows?
Anyhow I’v got pans to clean beer to brew and server to fix so I’l say goodbye for now and wish all of you who are interested a very happy Christmas and if you wont be doing anything special then B-F will still be here if you need it
All the best!