April 15th, 2016 by ShamrockOneFive
The latest patch released by 1CGS in the IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad and Battle of Moscow series brings with it a ton of new content. The long awaited Ju88A-4 enters the game with a brilliantly flyable German level and dive bomber, the Moscow map arrives along with the Moscow campaign and the game client gets 64bit support. It’s quite a bit to digest!
New aircraft added for the Battle of Moscow series has included a list of iconic aircraft and the Ju88A-4 is easily on the top of the list. Produced in the many thousands, the A-4 is the definitive version of the successful Ju88 series seeing use on the Eastern Front from start to finish.
The A-4 boasts an impressive bomb loadout with a huge selection of standard and unlockable options. As it currently stands, the Ju88A-4 has the biggest and most flexible bomb loadout in the game. It also beats the He111H-6 in the versatility department offering both effective level and dive bombing capabilities.
Defensive armament is comprised of MG81 and MG81Z (twin) machine guns in the nose, ventral gondola, and top sections of the aircraft’s small crew compartment. These are rapid firing machine guns compared to what you would find on the Heinkel H-6 and that should make the Ju88 a tougher plane to attack, however, there is a caveat. These machine guns overheat quickly (after very short bursts) and the dispersion becomes difficult to make these useful at times.
The Ju88 can climb reasonably quickly and it maintains a higher top speed than the He111. Overall this bomber is fast and maneuverable, especially once the bombs are dropped, and it rises to the top of the list, being one of, if not the most, effective bombers available, in-game, on either side of the conflict. It’s that good!
Patch 1.201 also brings us the Moscow map. First question that everyone asks is, does the map actually have Moscow on it, and the answer is… Yes. Sort of.
Moscow is many times larger than Stalingrad and with more complex city objects. The devs decided that the best option available to them was to build the city but in a lower detail than they might on objects you get close to. Moscow is just out of reach of the flyable area of the map. It’s a compromise that lets players see the titular city they are attacking or defending but not actually be forced developing a performance and development time sucking city.
Moscow aside, this map is impressive in its details. The villages and towns are impressively detailed, the forests are denser than those at Stalingrad, and indeed the whole map has a different aesthetic quality to it than the Stalingrad map that we’re familiar with.
Airbases are similarly detailed with good texturing details (not the best but good) and more object complexity. There are larger scale hangars in the Moscow area than Stalingrad and the detailing on the map reflects it.
New atmospheric fogging effects at low altitude during dawn and dusk are also a small but subtle way that makes this game even more beautiful than it was in the past.
The campaign, break it to me doc!
So… the campaign. Is it good? The answer is: it depends.
Battle of Stalingrad released with a fairly basic single player campaign that offered easy access to a series of missions for whatever plane they wanted. Rather than be locked into a single type or option, the campaign let you generate whatever mission and fly whatever plane you wanted (assuming you had unlocked them).
The Moscow campaign has a near identical approach. What it benefits from is increased diversity. The missions themselves are more random with greater chances of random occurrences and interception by enemy or friendly forces enroute to target or even a long time after. Players have been jumped shortly after takeoff and soon before landing adding to the challenge and interest.
If you hated the premise of the old one, then the new one doesn’t do much to change that. There is no pilot narrative and unit/squadron identities are not something that gets any play. What you do have is a good progression of missions through the Moscow campaign (from autumn to winter) with an endlessly replayable random mission generator.
New 64bit Client
The other update is the new 64bit client which is supposedly improving performance by 10-20%. I don’t have numbers but I will say that the game is overall smoother and it runs better when there are large numbers of aircraft and objects in an area. Even my newest PC used to be bogged down by a dozen flights in a given area, but no more!
Is there anything next?
Release for IL-2: Battle of Moscow is imminent. Everyone with the latest patch has access to what is now a near content complete version of Battle of Moscow but there are still a few things left to do including campaign cinematics and some custom hand built missions sprinkled into the campaign. My guess is that those final pieces of the puzzle are weeks away at the most.
Is there anything after that? We don’t know yet and 1CGS says they haven’t had a chance to discuss internally what their plans are. That may have changed more recently but speculation is rampant covering the range of WWII theatres from Kursk and the Kuban/Crimea battles to North Africa, Malta, and D-Day. There is also no guarantee that the series will continue although I think nearly most of us are hopeful that it does. Time will tell!