Sunday, December 17, 2017

Worth Taking a Look This Holiday Season

My gaming backlog is gigantic right now. The releases of new stuff for sims we play are coming at a healthy pace. Let's take a quick pick of my list of favourites. Please comment below with yours.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover Blitz

The gentlemen of Team Fusion are having their latest finest hour with the release of the Blitz edition for IL-2 Cliffs of Dover. 
Bombers over London, and the valour of the pixel pilots and gunners. The thickness of the clouds ahead took me out of the battle for a while. I was blind, like swimming in cake batter.
Available at Steam. Free of charge for the owners of the original Cliffs of Dover.

Arma 3 - Tac-Ops Mission Pack (DLC)

Well, the Arma 3 developers decided to get back into war after their previous stint in ... well, I don't know what was that. Claiming a solid grasp on the peak of realistic tactical operations, Arma 3 almost gets it right this time. 

No kidding, you start as a downed helicopter transport pilot. Only the expanses of the terrain and the freedom of options suspend your disbelief. At this point into the campaign, the only thing a player can claim is the Oscar for best running.

Yeah, I'm still using that helicopter pilot helmet ... This is when everything gets better as I join a squad of infantry.

Dude, this is just not your day.
The ride gets better as you progress through the campaign. But there is literally nothing off the beaten path of what it was done before in Arma 3 -even by non professional mission designers- and not a hint of daring for a more rich story line.

P-51D Charnwood Campaign
Another campaign DLC by Bunyap that doesn't disappoint. Normandy 1944, this time in a P-51 Mustang during Operation Charnwood.

A bridge has just been hit by the bombs of my flight. Screenshot from the first mission.

The very detailed briefings are a pleasure to read and rev up the immersion for your next mission.

Note the fire billows in the distance. This new feature was introduced recently in DCS World and can be deployed with the editor.
DCS World War II is a long shot from being completed. It is great that talented people can churn these realistic missions with so little virtual resources.

Graviteam Tactics Mius Front - Final Offensive DLC
Graviteam  is not done with the Eastern Front. Another DLC for the Mius Front war game puts you on either side of the conflict during August 1943. The operational context is a multi-division attack by the Soviets. Plenty of fighting ahead ...

Waiting for the Soviet onslaught. I already made the mistake of putting these valuable AT assets in the forward line without knowing where the Soviets will punch with their armor.

Commanding infantry is a challenge in a very dicey tactical environment. As in other Graviteam DLCs, make sure that your troops are properly led by their commanders.

The operational map. Note the narrow front for the Soviet attack.

Despite the arguments (some of them justifiable) that many flight simulator enthusiasts have brought upfront in the last few months, I'm not debarking the DCS train anytime soon. The AV-8B Harrier has struck me like a laser guided bomb. 

This module is in alpha stage and lacks some avionics' features, but you can still acquire targets with the Litening pod or the internal TV camera, drop ordnance and fire missiles. And off course, the stars of the Harrier show are the vertical take offs and landings.

At a steady pace, new features are added almost every week. Recently, the very convenient EWR HUD indicators (those lollipop symbols) ...

... And the displays changed to green, to match their real life counterpart.

Work in progress, but the development team works tirelessly to work out bugs and add new features. This week I witnessed a bug reported by users and a hotfix was released within hours.

What's in YOUR list?



Johan said...

I am still playing Combat Mission - Final Blitzkrieg, while reading up on The Battle of the Bulge - this book is awesome, I can really recommend it: Link

JC said...

Hi Johan,

There is still enough CM in my hard drive to play for years ... It's definitively one of the greatest games ever.

Thanks for the book suggestion. I'm going to get in both Kindle and Audible format (let's put those long trips to work to good use!)


badanov said...

Been working on Arma 3 winter SP scenarios on the Chernarus Winter map and the new winter mod for Altis and Stratis. Always Chernarusian military, be it armored infantry scenarios or naval infantry amphibious landings. Tac Ops looks nice, but it's nothing like running your own.

JC said...

Hi badanov,

Thanks for reading. I agree with your view on running your own story. But I was hoping that the DLC would include something worth of attention that could be used in your own "sandboxing" (script, narrative twist, etc). No luck so far ...


Brett Bayley said...

Need to master CMANO, will be playing some operational Art of War IV, Gary Grigsbys War in the West needs to get the dust blown off it. I will be doing some X-Plane 11 when I get a new PC built, and finally eagerly awaiting anything from paradox (Victoria 3, maybe?)