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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Sketch's Avatar
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    Combat flight sims

    Hey chaps, got an urge recently to play a flight sim and I realised I don't really know what's supposed to be good and what's not. Preferably it'd be a WW2 game rather than something newer as I prefer the closer contact stuff. Anyway as far as I know the ones to consider are:

    IL-2 1946 - quite old now, but I heard there are some decent mods that newify it a lot.
    IL-2 Birds of Prey - a more arcadey game?
    Cliffs of Dover - I heard this was an absolute mess on release but have heard positive things since.
    B-17 - Old but I remember this being pretty great
    Wings of Prey - really not sure what this one is like
    Rise of Flight - WW1 game but I heard the damage model is pretty great.

    So yeah, anything that you guys could recommend would be great, along with any thoughts on some of those games.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    Falcon 4.0, obviously.

    You ain't playing a sim unless it takes you 30 minutes to cold start your plane.

  3. #3
    Obscure Node De_willy's Avatar
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    You should look into DCS A-10.

  4. #4
    Network Hub Raaritsgozilla's Avatar
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    IL-2 with mods is amazing. The mission4today site/forums are really good. Get the Ultra Pack download somehow that has Dark Blue World and your laughing.

    Also the newish game just out (Pacific Squadron or something?) looks nice

  5. #5
    Network Hub ShowMeTheMonkey's Avatar
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    I've been playing IL-2 1946 for years now. It is quite simply the very best WWII flight sim ever made.

  6. #6
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    For Falcon 4 you want to get the BMS mod. It makes it a totally different game both in terms of simulation and graphical fidelity.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    I still think that the best combat flight simulator out there is Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator, but perhaps that is quite nostalgic and stuff.

    Birds or Wings of Prey (Wings of Prey is the PC version) is a whole lot of fun. It's "Realistic" and "Simulator" modes are very decent (Basically, in Simulator mode you can/have to trim your plane, manually tweak engine settings such as RPM and such, and manually look for enemies, and you can fine tune these difficulties to include or exclude any of this and more). It's missions only ocassionally involve manual take off and landing, unfortunately, and the game has this weird "respawn" mechanic which ruins the immersion for me (But it can just be turned off, I personally would have preferred checkpoints). I do highly recommend it though.
    Wings of Prey also has a demo, so you can see what it is like. It is also out on steam.


    B-17 - is fun. I remember playing the "Mighty Eigth" version which was in proper full 3d, and I had a lot of fun with it. Never actually managed to finish a game with it though.

  8. #8
    Network Hub Makariel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woundedbum View Post
    Wings of Prey - really not sure what this one is like
    Awful.

    Given it runs in the first place. Took me ages to get it going. The DRM is completely bonkers and it needs to install some extra stuff (even though I have it on steam, which to me sounds like DRM already...), because of which my virus scanner was firing up alarm bells loud enough that my neigbours woke up. Also needed some additional authentification via some website even I could make better.

    Once it finally ran I was not able to steer the sodding planes properly, because something just broke when I tried to reassign some keys. For some reason it distributed all functions at random across all buttons available. Even when going to the standard settings afterwards, the buttons I pressed and onscreen actions simply didn't compute. Gave up after the tutorial missions, was just unplayable.
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  9. #9
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    I vouch for Il-2 1946, indeed quite old but the amount of planes you get more than make up for that. If you prefer something new and don't mind the WWI setting, Rise of Flight is indeed a great choice. It is partly free, so you can try it out before you buy the whole package.

  10. #10
    Network Hub Raaritsgozilla's Avatar
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    I played B-17 Mighty Eighth too. It was terrible. Did not enjoy

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus DaftPunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makariel View Post
    Awful.

    Given it runs in the first place. Took me ages to get it going. The DRM is completely bonkers and it needs to install some extra stuff (even though I have it on steam, which to me sounds like DRM already...), because of which my virus scanner was firing up alarm bells loud enough that my neigbours woke up. Also needed some additional authentification via some website even I could make better.

    Once it finally ran I was not able to steer the sodding planes properly, because something just broke when I tried to reassign some keys. For some reason it distributed all functions at random across all buttons available. Even when going to the standard settings afterwards, the buttons I pressed and onscreen actions simply didn't compute. Gave up after the tutorial missions, was just unplayable.


    So game is awful because you had problems with the buttons :|

  12. #12
    Lesser Hivemind Node johnki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by De_willy View Post
    You should look into DCS A-10.
    And DCS Black Shark for that matter.

    EDIT: And it's older, but I've heard great things about Dynamix's Red Baron series.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus neema_t's Avatar
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    Wings of Prey is... A mixed bag. It's stunning, and I mean almost literally stunning, to look at but the DRM is just bizarre (and doesn't close when you exit the game (on Steam) so you have to enter the task manager to get Steam to recognise you've stopped playing) and the controls were tricky for me to set up, I had to select my X52 Pro in two different options menus (or something, I think?) but when I got it working it was all quite nice. Not the best, but for the 5 I paid for it it's pretty good.

    Get DCS World purely because it's free, then if you get DCS A-10C or Black Shark 2 you can add them as modules in World, I added the A-10C and it's pretty much great. If you have Black Shark you can get Black Shark 2 at a discounted price, too. Flaming Cliffs 3 is in development and will be available as a module, and you can get a P-51 Mustang for it as well. But seriously, try it out with the Su-25 Frogfoot and see what you think. The only problem is that apart from the Mustang, the three proper vehicles (the Su-25, A-10C and Ka-50) are all attackers, not fighters, so the focus is on air-to-ground combat... But it's free.

    If you fancy flying some helicopters you could do worse than Arma II or Take On Helicopters, they've both got their issues but the former has a nice selection of stuff to drive and fly and the latter has a more advanced flight model and some clickable elements in the cockpit, but it's not a properly hardcore sim. At least it can't be because I've managed to do some utterly ridiculous things in a Hind that you probably couldn't even do in a Lynx. Maybe. There's demos for both, so.

    I actually have Cliffs of Dover, I have yet to try it because the first time I launched it it just crashed, but there was a huge update and a lot of people are saying it's massively improved, but still not out of beta just yet. I'll see if I can give it a go now but I don't have my stick plugged in (and in the... game?).

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Not WWII, but check out the Wings Over... series if you can find one with decent DRM. Not the best games in the world, but they all integrate together and it provides an IL-2-esque approach to realism (doesn't get to super-high realism, but gives you a lot of control over what you want)

    Specifically, I think the series was Wings over Vietnam, Wings over Europe: Cold War gone Hot, and something where you flew Israeli planes. Been years since I played them.
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  15. #15
    Network Hub Bleekill's Avatar
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    Lock On and the DCS games are probably the best other than IL-2 '46.

    I've been enjoying the beta for War Thunder but I guess that's not a traditional sim.

  16. #16
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    I highly recommend IL-2 1946. It has an amazing selection of planes that span most of the war and covers the Eastern Front and Pacific Front. It also has a plethora of options for you to set your preferred realism level. An added bonus is it will almost certainly run solidly on your computer. Having come out in 2007ish iirc.

    Il-2: Cliffs of Dover is also pretty solid. Although it only covers the Battle of Britain. Which means you have a total selection of maybe 15-20 planes to fly. The game looks really great and the damage model/ flight models are supposed to be better than in 1946.

    Of the two I would purchase 1946 over Cliffs of Dover, but if your a big fan of The BOB and have the computer to run COD it isn't a bad choice either.

  17. #17
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    Good timing, ive been looking for some (non hardcore) combat flight sims after reading 'Reach for the Sky' and watching this series:
    http://www.channel5.com/shows/heroes...skies/episodes.
    Im after some close dogfighting with no longrange missiles, between WW2 to vietnam era.

    I have to say, these games have some of the worst, unmemorable naming ive seen.

    'Wings of Prey' seems to be the later PC version of the (console only) 'Birds of Prey'.
    Following that comes 'Birds of Steel' (wtf really?) which is currently console only and doesnt seem to have a pc equivalent, sadly. It appears to be very rare and costs a fortune currently.

    'Cliffs of dover' was supposed to be a mess on release but might be okay now, I doubt my pc would run it though as it sounds like its not very optimised.

    Blazing Angels 1+2 look lovely, but apparently are an absolute nightmare to run and config on anything other than an XP machine.

    i think currently im leaning towards 'Wings of Prey collectors edition' as its got an expansion and is only 12 quid on amazon.
    or I might just dig out my old copy of 'Secret weapons over normandy' as I remember it being quite jolly.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makariel View Post
    Took me ages to get it going. The DRM is completely bonkers and it needs to install some extra stuff (even though I have it on steam, which to me sounds like DRM already...), because of which my virus scanner was firing up alarm bells loud enough that my neigbours woke up. Also needed some additional authentification via some website even I could make better.

    Once it finally ran I was not able to steer the sodding planes properly, because something just broke when I tried to reassign some keys. For some reason it distributed all functions at random across all buttons available. Even when going to the standard settings afterwards, the buttons I pressed and onscreen actions simply didn't compute. Gave up after the tutorial missions, was just unplayable.
    that is the strangest example of PC platform madness that I've witnessed. Extra installation steps? Random input assignment? DRM going nuts?
    That's like a perfect storm of nonsense.

    For the record, I have the game. It didn't install anything extra other than the usual obligatory VC++ runtime install that's common with all Steam titles. Game started literally 10 seconds later and ran without a hitch. Admittedly I was using a Logitech F710 so everything was auto-assigned and worked fine without any fiddling around.

    I am actually surprised you ran into so many issues. Let me try to guess what was going on:
    1) Antivirus tried to quarantine or delete the game executable maybe?
    2) VC++ runtime took too long?
    3) you placed x360ce or a similiar xbox360 gamepad emulator in the main game folder?

    Otherwise I'm stumped as to how a Steam game could become a total clusterf*** for you.
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  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogB View Post
    Blazing Angels 1+2 look lovely, but apparently are an absolute nightmare to run and config on anything other than an XP machine.
    I got the retail copy of Blazing Angels 2 in 2007. Worked without a hitch in Vista, and works fine on Windows 7.
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  20. #20
    Lock On: Flaming Cliffs 3 was just released (on thursday, I believe) Which is of the same fare as DCS, and plugs into ED's hub program DCS-World. It's well worth a look if you're wanting air-to-air or air-to-ground combat in a modern environment.

    For WW2, I can only second the comments of people above, IL2:1946 is still the best. There are plenty of mods for it, although the default game is pretty good nonetheless. The only downside is that you need to use a 3rd party application called Hyperlobby for multiplayer, and it looks like it's from the lost ages of user-interface. It works though, and the game is phenomenal.
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