Customer Reviews: Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: Pacific Theater - PC
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on December 17, 2000
I had trouble getting this one to run, but finally was successful. I am running an AMD/K6-2 (350) CPU, with 64 Mb of RAM, and a Diamond Monster 3D II accelerator, with a Flightstick Pro and rudder pedals. According to the package, I meet all of the requirements. My operating system is Microsoft's Windows ME.

I loaded CFS2 twice, but when I tried to play it could not get past loading the scenery, when my screen went black. The machine locked up! Finally after trying the new drivers for the Diamond Monster, which I found on their European site, I got it to run properly.

You would think, though, that Microsoft, with all of their expertise, could design a game that would run without so many hassles.

The game is good. Graphics are superb, sound is good, and the scenery is excellent. The game runs smoothly, when you finally get it to run. I found some fault, of course.

First, I dislike the annoying cones that point you at the nearby enemy. They are certainly not realistic. Also, the enemy planes flit about in a most unrealistic fashion, and make them unrealistically hard to track. Even closing at a combined speed of 600 miles an hour, another aircraft should be more easily followed. However, Microsoft is no guiltier than many other simulation designers in such matters.

Modeling of the aircrafts' flight characteristics is not bad, but not entirely realistic, either. I took an F6F "Hellcat" up to 10,000 feet above Kwajalein atoll, an airstrip from which I have flown, and put her into a spin. This is an aircraft that was relatively easy to fly (I soloed in 1946 in the real thing.) Although I kicked reverse rudder and neutralized the controls properly, she would not recover from the spin and go into a dive. The F6F was not notorious for having bad spin characteristics.

Also, dropping your landing gear at a couple hundred miles an hour should not result in "gear damage." Pilots often did it in combat, to get a sudden reduction in speed.

Another problem is the slow reaction of the machine guns to the gun button. And after the button is released, they inexplicably keep on firing for a couple or three seconds.

The copy writers who wrote the Pilot's Manual fell into the same trap as everyone else in comparing the F6F with the F4U "Corsair." They claimed that the F6F is "far from the fastest U.S. fighter" but that it was in the "top rank of American fighters in the Pacific theater, along with the Vought Corsair." They claim a top speed for the Hellcat of 327 knots (376 mph) at 17,300 feet, while the Corsair is credited with a top speed of 363 knots (417 mph) at 19,900 feet, making the Corsair seem much faster. One gets tired of hearing such unfair comparisons.

I've got news for them: an article in Flight Journal last year by Corky Meyer (a Grumman test pilot) described a side by side test of the Corsair and Hellcat, flat out at the same altitude (they had the same R2800, 2,000 horsepower Pratt & Whitney engine, but different dash numbers) had them performing at the same speed over the ground, but the Corsair was indicating a higher speed due to the different placement of the pitot tube.

Because of its wing design, the Corsair had a quicker roll characteristic than the Hellcat. It was also more unstable and difficult to fly, and taxiing and landing visibility was hampered by the long engine nacelle. They called it the "Ensign Eliminator." Otherwise, they were very evenly matched in their performance characteristics.

The copy writers call the Corsair "big, tough, and fast," which it was of course, but the F6F pilots shot down over 70 percent of all air-to-air kills in the Pacific war. It is a vastly under rated airplane, by the desk jockeys.

Here are some figures: The Hellcat is credited with 5,156 air victories during WWII, and 306 Hellcat pilots shot down 5 or more enemy planes (the definition of an "ace.") Corsairs shot down 2,140 enemy, and made only 93 aces, although they enbtered service in the Pacific first. The famed Mustang was credited with only 296 kills, and made only 5 aces. The little F4F "Wildcat," with 1,006 kills made 58 aces, and was bad-mouthed as being obsolete at the war's beginning. Looking only at results, one wonders at the critics remarks.

But, this is a fine game. The graphics are right up there with Jane's WWII Fighters, and it will be a source of much pleasure for a lot of people.

Joseph Pierre, USN (Ret)
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on July 4, 2005
Just because it states that the platform for the game is 95,98,ME

does not mean it won't run on XP!! I have a windows XP home edition

and it runs fine!!
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on September 21, 2001
Simply put, this game is a blast to play. For true flight enthusaists it offers very accurate graphics and flight simulations. For casual pilots the gameplay can be tuned to allow any level of pilot to enjoy the game. But.. let's dig into the details:
Overall, very nice. When the graphics level is turned up the detail is amazing, especially on the aircraft. The ground detail is good, but not very exciting -- after all, you're pretty much in the middle of the Pacific. My main criticism here is that the detail on the ships could be better. When you're on the deck of an aircraft carrier there are no other planes on the deck and the detail of the control tower isn't that great.
The game makes it easy to get in the air quickly. This is great when you don't feel like playing through a whole missing or just haven't taken the time to start a full campaign.
Each of the aircraft have a distinctly different feel (and sound), but none of them are very difficult to fly. However, getting the plane back on the ground is a different story. With some practice you'll be able to land on a long runway pretty easily, but setting down on the deck of a carrier takes a lot of practice. If you add wind/storms to the mix it is even more difficult. Personally I found developing this skill one of the most enjoyable parts of the game.
The realism of flight and damage are just great. If your aircraft is damaged in a dogfight it will fly very differently. Because of the realistic damage modelling you really appreciate the fragility of the planes.
I didn't find the storyline too exciting and the cartoon sequences between sequences weren't very compelling. This aspect of the game wasn't of too much interest to me in the first place so I'm not that concerned by it.
Finally, the mission builder is very well done. When you get tired of flying the stock campaigns, you can fire up the mission builder and throw something together in a few minutes.
Other notes:
I highly recommend picking up a force feedback joystick for this game. Having one adds an enormous amount to the gameplay.
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on November 27, 2000
This is a game for a air combat simulator nut. It has everything. It does however show some signs of having been put out before the final fine-tuning was complete. The feeling of historical atmosphere is not as good as in Combat Flight Simulator 1 (the war in Europe). So many good photographs of action in the Pacific are available, some in color, that the choice of comic book pictures to fill in the background and move the story of the campaigns forward is unnecesary and disapointing. Information such as take off, landing and stall speeds is missing (or hard to find). The airplane graphics are absolutely excellent. Scenery is a little boring--unending blue tropical sky and blue tropical water. Carrier landings are great fun and damnably difficult--very tough for a beginner. It is not true that you need a super fast super computer, though if you don't have one you do need a top of the line graphics accelorator card with built in RAM. My setup when used to run Combat Flight Simulator 1 (war in Europe) shows scenery that is very photographic, presumeable derived from digitaly edited photos. This games' scenery seems to be entirely painted--though very well painted. I do get some very minor hesitation and miss the totaly glass-smooth action I got with the war in europe version. Without my very good graphics accelerator it would be unplayable. Weather and cloud effects are totaly awesome--dogfighting at dawn in a thunderstorm is a blast. Basicaly--a good game for simulator enthusiasts. But, as is typical in the movie business, much that made part one unique was omitted from part two. That which replaced it is very cool, but lacks class. If you have never flown a simulator before--get Combat Flight Simulator One. If you never believed yourself capable of getting interested in computer game (thought it was for teen-agers)--get Combat Flight Simulator One. If your are inerested in history--get Part One. This game is very good--but it is a game Combat Flight Simulator One is an experience (and doesn't take up so darn much room on the hard disk)
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on February 5, 2001 I guess I'll have to wait for... CFS3? maybe. Seems strange though because torpedo planes played such a big part on both sides during the air war in the Pacific. It's a pity then that a flight simulator set in that theatre of war would not have modelled even one WWII torpedo bomber. Ah well, I am just a little disappointed with unmet expectations, but so what. The game never promised to be anything more than a flight sim depicting the main Japanese and American fighter planes. And that it is, and it does that very well indeed.
Microsoft's previous entry was CFS which depicted the European air war. Gamers had plenty of complaints and it is obvious that Microsoft listened and learned. One of the biggest critiques of the first game was it's graphics. The graphics here are gorgeous. The exterior of the planes are sufficiently weathered and oil stains and gunpowder streaks will appear. Look for nice little details such as moving canopies, folding wings and wheels that turn. The damage modelling is excellent. Bullet holes appear when shot and skin peels off exposing undersurfaces. Parts fall off according to the degree of damage and look for these visual clues. Black streaming smoke from the enemy means he's a goner for sure but grey spurts means he's still in the game. Same for you. Oily smoke smearing your screen, bail out! The fact that you can do so is a relief, and is a feature that was previously missing. Terrain, such as there is - blue sky, blue sea - is still lovingly rendered. Different types of weather and times of day are also detailed.
The flight modelling is adjustable from easy or novice to hard and very realistic. Try flying with some degree of realism and the planes will react according to their strengths and weaknesses. Close in on a Zero from his six in your Wildcat, lining him up, and then watch in amazement as he suddenly zooms into a power climb that you can never match, and then look on in horror as you see the tight circle he pulls to close in on your rear. Flying the Wildcat your strength is your weight. Push the nose down and dive into that enemy bomber formation, ripping through it with your guns. Just keep going though because in a dogfight your dead. There are multiple mission types, a semi dynamic campaign, battleships, carriers and other plane choices, most significantly 'Whistling Death' - The Corsair. All of this goes together to provide a satisfying flight for most sim fans - for a while. And therein lies the rub. Only for a little while before you start to get a sense of what could have been and notice small things missing. Why didn't they give the wingmen more commands? What's the objective of this mission? and back to my original beef - Why aren't there more planes to fly? I want to drop torpedos!
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on November 19, 2000
First, yes this game is going to be the most demanding on your hardware, however, have no fear if you have an older system. With a P-II 333 Mhz machine, i have to sacrifice a lot of the details, yet the graphics are still spectacular! The damage effects are very impressive. Dogfighting is thrilling and fun, with the realistic graphics and sound effects. The first time you see a Zero catching on fire behind the sights of a Corsair is going to make a lasting impression on your mind. I am already starting to like CFS 2 more than Jane's World War II Fighters. The ocean and islands are breathtaking although you'd be spending much time flying out of sight of any land.. If there's one thing i find below expectation with the graphics, it had to be the gunsights and the general cockpit layout. I think older games like Microprose's 1942 Pacific Air War did a much better job at that. The gun sights look very unrealistic in CFS 2. The documentation came with the game is decent, the 40s-style artwork is fresh, however, its historical review does not compare to Aces of the Pacific. With only 7 flyable planes, CFS leaves out some of the most interesting fighters of the War. It's another area that CFS failed to match with Aces of the Pacific. Although CFS 2 provides favorites like the F4U-1A (my personal favorite radial engine fighter of all time), N1K1 George, it ignored all the Japanese Army aircraft, and players don't have the option to fly dive-bombers and participate in actions like the sinking of Japanese carriers during the battle of Midway. Don't get me wrong, although it's not perfect, CFS 2 is definitely the best WW 2 simulation game available right now and it is certainly worth your money and upgrades. definitely a five-star performer!
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on December 18, 2000
Ok, first off: I have a 700mhz Processor, 128 RAM, and Voodoo 3000 video 3D accelorator. The game works great with near maxed graphic settings for me. If you have less than this, you might want to upgrade before buying the game.
Next: In my oppinion you must get a joystick for this game. And if you can fork out a few extra dollars for a force feedback one it is Amazingly worth it. I cannot believe how sweet the game feels with a good force feedback stick. Everthing from starting your engine, firing of guns, hits from bullets and flack, and rolling on the runway/deck are felt through the joy stick.
I have always used the keyboard for flight simulators before... but Combat Simulator 2 does not allow you to set the keyboard input settings to self center your airloins, rudder, etc... after pressing a direction key like most other flight simulators. In other words, when you tell the plane to pull up, untill you press the 'dive' key, it will continue to pull up as if you were holding the 'pull up' key the entire time. Very annoying if you are used to older flight sims. So get a joy stick, and get a good one for optimal feel. (It's worth it).
The game its self is great. If you played the old game 'Aces of the Pacific" a lot, you will just absolutly love this game. The graphics are unreal. I still practicaly drool when I shoot a zero down and see chunks of it's body breaking off. Even the smoke appearance from damaged planes is diffrent depending on what system is damaged. When a ship sinks, it ACTUALLY sinks like a real ship, slowly dipping down into the water like the Titanic with one end still exposed. When you shoot the water you can see little spurts of water shoot up where your bullets hit! I could go on and on.
So, if you have a fairly modern computer system, and enjoy WWII flight simulators I really think you will enjoy this one. If you are new to the flight simulator scene, don't worry. The game has a built in training missions to give you step by step lessons to teach you to fly. Now let's go torch some Zeros!
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on May 27, 2001
Two words - "Open System". Microsoft has allowed this game to be have an open system architecture. This means that you can add-on other planes, missions, campaigns, scenery, effects, etc... Sure you only start out with 7 planes, but I have over 40 or so now! Including some WWI planes and even some Korean ones, including the P-86, P-80 and a Mig-15. This keeps the game interesting. The game also includes a mission editor that allows you to create whatever type of missions with how ever many planes, ships or tanks in the area in any way you want. Don't even start me on the graphics. They are simply amazing. When you fire, you can see bits and pieces of your opponents plane just coming apart in mid air, just make sure you don't fly into them! The graphics engine display damage profile of the plane with awesome realism. The bullet holes and Flak fragments are out of this world. If you took a lot of lead on your rudder or flaps, the plane will respond appropriately. Awesome game! But remember, the game is also really big; about 900 MB on full install.
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on November 1, 2000
As an avid flight simmer, I was really looking forward to this game, but also with a lot of doubts. The game itself is incredible, graphics are the best I have seen from any flight simulation. The concern when I first got it was, the same thing that disappointed me with FS2000, the frame rate. I, by no means have a fast computer (PIII 600, 128 MB RAM), but I am consistantly getting a pleasing 25-30 frames a second from CFS2, and that was with the detail turned on full blast and 4 planes buzzing around, I was overwhelmed. The only way I could get that good of frame rates from FS2000, was to fly at night over the ocean. The detail put into this game is great, everything from seeing the ripples in the water as a ship is sunk, to the sounds of the ships motors as you fly by, flying through the flak, oh and of course the damage of the planes being shot.....very nice. There were a few disappointments, one being wingman commands....they are very limited, and the limited amount of planes you can fly, I would have liked to fly a B-25 and drop 3000 lbs of bombs on a tiny island, overall its a outstanding game, 1 step above CFS Europe.
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on November 12, 2000
First of all I must agree that this game requires a very fast computer with a good graphics card. My system is a P-3 800MHz,128 megs of ram, and a GE-FORCE 2 card. It is very important to download the detonator 3 driver from Nvidia or your game will have continuous crashes and will not even run. Now on to the game I was shocked at how the graphics looked (after the latest driver installed), comparing it to Janes WW2 fighters is close but while the airplane graphics are similar and flight characteristics are similar the big difference is in the ground graphics,the ocean is outstanding with the variety of depths of ocean represented by different shades of blue that are gradual, and the lush tropical jungle is well represented here. I highly recommend this product but only if you have the hardware to run it.
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