Saturday, August 30, 2014

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad

Back in 2001, I never thought that the very words "IL-2 Sturmovik" would become some sort of toxic asset for a flight simulator title. But that's the way it goes after the vacuum of leadership generated by the retirement of Oleg Maddox from the entertainment business.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad, was kind of rescued from demise by 777 Studios, the guys who made Rise of Flight. The Rise of Flight franchise has the ingredient I hate the most in my simulators: optional DLCs. And sure enough you can see 777's marking in the two IL-2 Sturmovik editions now featured at Steam. But I am digressing.

I bought the Steam version of IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad and it is awesome to be back in the saddle of the Sturmovik!

It is a development version with very little single player content, as it has become the new custom for many genres I like. But it was refreshing to see that the hardcore aspects of IL-2 have been maintained and improved.

The briefing of one of the 3 single player missions available. The red icons are the targets (enemy armor, mechanized forces and their support weapons) and represent just approximate positions.

Taking off from my airbase. One eye on the ground, the other on the compass. There are no map icons showing my updated position, the snow storm hampers the visibility. Great navigational challenge.

The cockpit of the IL-2 is simple enough for a newbie. I have those cyrillic characters so ingrained after the many years of flying the original IL-2.
Everything is so white! Note the ice floating in the river below. This river offers a great navigational aid, so it is best to fly low to note the difference between ice and snow.
Bingo! The crossing over the Donets river (lower left, the bridge is blurred by the movement) ... The area of interest should be to the west (right).

All I could see in the ground are friendly forces (tank and AT guns on the sides of the road below), no sign of the enemy.

My decision of navigating south for a long patrol turned out to be a bad idea. I accidentally bumped into this enemy-held airbase (in the background, note the clearing and layout of the runway). They fired some small arms at the beginning, but when the enemy started to pour some flak my maneuvering took me off my original path.

I tried my best to navigate back towards my home plate, but ran out of fuel. I had to drop all my bombs and rockets before crash landing.

Physics and damage models will always be IL-2's best aspect. In this screenshot, I am revving up my engine to avoid those trees (colliding with them is devastating).
A careful approach and descent and I am on the ground with an intact aircraft.
I noticed that during this ground attack missions, the ground forces contact you when you are in their line of sight, which is extremely cool. The level of detail of the ground units is very high (see screenshots below). I failed miserably, but the mission was fun.

The sim is allegedly 70% complete and making steady progress. On the meantime, it is good to be back flying in the eastern front.

Bonus screenshots. Ground units I didn't get a chance to spot during my mission.


ricmadeira said...

Well done, that's a really nice buy! I got it the minute it hit Steam myself, and have enjoyed flying around and taking shots at twin-engine bombers. The flying feels really good, and it looks beautiful though all that snow gets boring very, very soon. Give me some green grass to fly over! :)

Rise of Flight actually has a ton of single-player content, with a career mode with dynamically generated mission but also some "fixed" mission campaigns, so I'm sure there will be enough to do by ourselves in Il-2 BoS too. What I hope to see is good support for co-op play; I know RoF has some, but I seem to remember I wasn't too successful in getting it working properly with a buddy of mine. Not sure if it was because of firewall/router settings, or simply because my friend was using the free-to-play version and so didn't own any of the planes required for the missions.

I'd love to have you as a friend on Steam. Look me up there?

NW said...

I find your reviews/perspectives on games to be really helpful in deciding what to drop money on.