I was suckered into buying Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3 a month or two ago. I loved the idea of the Jets and other alternative experimental aircraft featured in the sim. A Vampire vs Swallow battle is something I’ve been wanting to try for a good long while in addition to flying the Gotha Go9 flying wing. I did hear bad things about the sim before I plunked down the cash, though. However, I thought that the performance just couldn’t be as bad as people said it was, could it? After all, some people said bad things about their Civilian Sim, Flight Simulator 2002 but I thought it was simply just fantastic. So, I bought it on sale, rushed home and installed it and the newly issued Microsoft patch. Yep. It was as bad as people said. It blows… BADLY. My system, while not a top-o-the-line powerhouse monster is still semi-respectable. Thank god I bought the game on sale. I cut my losses and shelved it two days later.
I started reading some posts on various websites about IL2 - Forgotten Battles. I tried the IL2 demo a year or so ago, but for one reason or another never got into it. I saw a couple of screen shots with the Me262 (one of my faves) and also some shots of other upcoming aircraft in development by the sim developers, themselves. I thought it looked pretty sweet. Yesterday, more or less on a whim, I picked it up at lunchtime after seeing it in Future Shop. I fired it up after supper last night.
Well, I am very happy with this sim. I just tried some single player instant missions for the few hours I played it last night, but I am so far very optomistic with the future of this sim. The immersion factor is great and the visuals are, quite simply, stunning. Running at 1280x960, my system only hiccups when there is a lot of smoke/flak in the area, but I haven’t even tried to tweak anything yet. All visuals are set to “Excellent” or whatever the top choice is, so I am quite optomistic I can get even better performance out of it (but damn! It looks fantastic!). Even as it is right now without any performance tweaking, I am very happy with how it plays right out of the box with my mid-range system specs of a 1.2Ghz Tbird, 768MB RAM and GF3ti200.
If you wish, it can easily be the most hard-core WWII flightsim out there. Everything from prop-pitch, radiator and supercharger control is player controllable with everything in between! It is everything that CFS3 should have been, and then some. I have little doubt this will come to be viewed as the heir to the throne that 1998’s European Air War still holds. On first glance, it just does everything so god damn well, right out of the box. It simply oozes polish and refinement.
If you’re an old WWII simhead, you simply cannot be without this sim in your collection. This is the new benchmark in flightsims.