Top critical review
109 people found this helpful
on May 12, 2011
This game is meant to be a recreation of the Battle of Britain by Maddox, the makers of IL2, which is a classic flight simulator and arguably the best WW2 air warfare simulator for the last few years.
The game was unfortunately released very bugged even after several years of development. Present bugs include: no radio commands; no force feedback; very slow framerates over the land (not the sea) on practically all computers; simple engine management has severe issues; no multi-core processor support; no SLI graphics card support. Patches have been released that address some of the bugs but it presently remains a mess.
My computer is a dual core AMD 4800 X2 with 4GB RAM, ATI 4850 graphics card, Creative Soundcard and Microsoft Sidewinder Joystick running Windows 7 64 bit. On my computer with all the above patches/mods applied the game runs acceptably smoothly on low quality settings which make the towns and London look like Noddy towns and the terrain itself rather bland. It is playable but flying with a decent quality of graphics grinds the game to a slideshow practically. The reason for this is probably because the graphics engine is years old (the game has been in developement for eight years).
The game was released over Steam (a digital distribution site) so an internet connection and a Steam account are required to install and register the game. The boxed version includes a rather pitiful manual and a disk but you still need to download the game via Steam, so its practically pointless getting the boxed version as opposed to getting it directly from Steam (although it may still be cheaper getting the boxed version). However because it requires Steam activation if you don't like it or it doesn't work it will be very difficult to return the game and get your money back. These days most games come with such protection and as such you have to be absolutely sure before you buy the game that it is going to be worth keeping it. Many people have not managed to get this game to work on their computers and have not managed to get their money back.
In terms of gameplay the game models the main aircraft types of the Battle of Britain quite well, you can fly many of them including the bombers and man the turrets. Complex engine management is possible for all flyable planes which models the radiators, mixture controls, throttles, etc, (simple engine management is also possible but is completely bugged). The damage you do when you hit enemy planes is amazing to watch - holes in the wings, dead pilots/gunners, explosions, panels flying off, etc. Aerodynamically however the plane representations are faulted in that it is impossible to fly at high level for some reason.
There is no dynamic/semi-dynamic campaign provided or even a random mission generator, so you are stuck with the presented missions at the moment, which considering the time the game spent in development is surprising. There is a mission creator but it is not a simple task to operate it. There is no immersion outside the missions themselves (the Il2 games have always been quite unimmersive outside the missions which is a definite fault in the gameplay design) and the campaigns are very dry as well even whilst playing them - boring briefings and no historical flavour outside of the flying itself leads to a rather stale environment for a modern game. Its also a real shame that many ancillary but crucial aspects of the Battle of Britain, such as pilot stress/exhaustion, supply effects, base destruction, plane shortages, radar vectoring issues, big wings, etc are not modelled in the game at all. The game presently concentrates purely on the accuracy of the immediate dogfighting combat and planes. Also, disappointingly, the battles themselves are very small affairs - tens of planes not hundreds, so in terms of recreating the Battle of Britain it falls rather flat, which in real life was all about overwelming amounts of German planes being intercepted by few British planes. In fact the game is little more than a series of small skirmishes set within a historical background.
The development team is dedicated and the game is therefore likely to be constantly improved and worked on over the next few months/years, so given time this game may become very good although the extent of issues and shortcomings the game has will not be dealt with quickly. Also potential buyers should also bear in mind that the game was deliberately released at least six months too early, and many people may understandably have issues with rewarding that kind of practice.