On June 22, 1941, Hitler's German forces attacked Russia's 2,000 mile-long home front and advanced on Moscow. The Russians put up a fierce resistance which finally ground the Nazi war machine to a halt. Vital to the resistance was the Ilyushin Sturmovik, the IL-2. It was an anti-tank aircraft hailed by the Russians.
The Russians called it "the flying tank", the Germans called it "Black Death", and you will call it the most exciting and realistic combat flight experience you've ever had.
Oleg Maddox’s world famous Il-2 Sturmovik™ series of flight simulators continues to expand. The latest offering, Il-2 1946, adds 36 new planes, four new gigantic maps, over a hundred new ground objects, and nearly 200 new campaign missions. This new opus also includes all of the previous Il-2 series content. What began years ago as a one-aircraft study sim is now an astonishing anthology, with a whopping 229 flyable aircraft and over 300 aircraft total!
Age requirements: ESRB Rating: TEEN with Language, Tobacco Reference, Violence. PEGI Rating: 12+ with Bad Language, Violence.
Minimum system requirements: Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 256MB RAM (512 recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 8 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), Mouse, Keyboard. Patched to version 4.12.2
Posted on 2009-03-26 12:04:52 byticklemonster:
I first played IL-2 Sturmovik a few months after it first released in 2001. After cutting our teeth on Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator and buying elaborate new flight sticks, my friends and I set up our computers in my basement, installed the game, and launched into our first mission.
We set everything to be as realistic as possible - take-offs, landings, even random engineread more failures. After a few botched launches after which we restarted, all three of us were off the ground, on a bombing run on what I remember to be a fleet of battle cruisers. After flying, in real-time, for more than 45 minutes to our target, we saw the ships down beneath the clouds. We dove towards them, and unleashed our payload. We didn't quite hit it right - a few of the ships survived - and that's when things got interesting. Not only were the surviving ships firing on us with anti-aircraft cannons, but they scrambled their fighters. We turned and flew for the horizon, hoping to make it out of their range. We flew hard and fast, and were running low on fuel, but there! In the distance! The airstrip! We had made it! Mission complete!
And then my engine flamed out and I crashed just short of the runway. :(
That was only the first of many, many nights lost in the game, though. Not only is the game incredibly fleshed out and deep, but it can be as realistic or arcade-y (almost) as you'd like. If you own a joystick, you owe it to yourself to give IL-2 Sturmovik a try.
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Posted on 2009-03-29 11:29:20 byantihippie:
Years ago, when Lucas Arts still cared about gamers, they released a title called Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe. At the time it was the best World War II flight simulator to be found. Since then, I've looked for one that came close in terms of realism, variety and action, and have so often been utterly disappointed by superficial titles. IL-2 Sturmovik not only matches butread more surpasses all titles previous to it. The game features a steep learning curve. Those used to more arcade style simulators might have trouble dealing with torque, flutter affects and the spins that come from misusing the chosen aircraft. Once you do however, you're rewarded with an incredibly accurate experience. The planes handle realistically even when damaged, and trying to limp a damaged bomber back to base with a hole in the wing and a smoking engine is a tense experience. Each plane has its own unique handling and weapons, and you'll likely soon find a favorite among the huge array to choose from.
1946 is definitely the best bang for your buck as you get all the previous titles: Original IL-2, IL-2 Forgotten Battles, the Ace Expansion Pack, the Pacific Campaigns, The Pe-2 Campaign, the IL-10 campaign Sturmoviks over Manchuria, and the new 1946 campaign, which tells a compelling and somewhat plausible what-if story that lengthens the war for another year, and lets you play the weird and wild secret weapons that Germany and Russia came up with, including an experimental helicopter. This game lets you fly every side of the war, even the esoteric ones you've probably never heard of. You can pilot Finnish Buffaloes in the Continuation War, shoot down Hurricanes with the Imperial Japanese, pilot American dive bombers at Midway, German rocket planes and jets, and of course the titular IL-2, a heavy Soviet ground support plane that lets you rain death from above.
The game does have a few flaws, but all are easily remedied. The less than realistic engine noises are fixable through a community made sound patch, and if you don't like the static campaigns, there is a dynamic campaign generator available that gives you direct control over the future of the war. Few other games have such a dedicated modding community, even years after it was released, and the amount of campaigns, missions, skins, and tweaks available for the game are staggering, perhaps matched only by the original Half Life.
The long and short is, if you're a fan of flight simulators, or a history buff, this is an absolute must have.
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Posted on 2009-03-26 11:46:51 byWolfox:
IL-2 is a fantastic flight simulator. While many flight simulators have their strengths and weaknesses, the IL-2 series became the pinnacle of the WW2 era flight simulator genre - it has everything: a fantastic flight model, great damage modelling, many (well-modelled) aircraft to fly, and good artificial intelligence, along with great graphics and sound. It's also very approachableread more on the difficulty level, due to a wide range of settings, to accomodate both the newbies and the hardcore flight sim fans. No other simulator comes close these days, when you consider all those parts; IL-2 is the ultimate package for any flight simulator fan.
For those who like single-player, there's plenty of options. There are pre-made missions, an assortment of (dynamic!) campaigns, and both a quick mission editor (for practing dogfights, for example) and a built-in mission editor which is very capable. The dynamic campaign engine is great, but make sure you update it with the latest version (look for further information on the game forum, I'll see if I put it there). If for some reason you don't like the missions generated by the built-in dynamic campaign engine, there are a few free third-party options available as well.
It really, really shines in multiplayer. You can fly missions competitively or cooperatively, in many different maps (in missions made with the mission editor, or even dynamic campaigns), and it works beautifully, even with some moderate lag - I could play well in some servers even with a 400-500ms ping. I've played this game in multiplayer more than any other game I own (and on a 56k modem at the time), and it has always been a blast, a real exhilarating experience.
All in all, this is one of the gems of the combat flight simulator genre. If you like flight sims, you probably have this game already. If you don't have it already, get it now. It doesn't get much better than this.
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