Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Computer game Review IL-2 Sturmovik-Flying Circus

 I've been playing a lot of flight sims of late. Microsft flight simulator 2020 is a technical marvel, flying over your own house and seeing it. just flying everywhere. VR has rekindled my love of flight sims. Just sitting there in the cockpit, looking around. Far more immersive than any other setup you can get.

I flew Oslo Trondheim in an F15 in about 20 minutes, flying through the Norwegian valleys.
I then started up DCS again, this is the most complex flight sim you are gonna find outside of actual pilot training sims. Almost all buttons in the cockpit are working and do what it's supposed to do. 15-minute start-up of aircraft. Really too complex for me. I never got the hang of even using the weapons on my F16.  I did slightly better in the P47, but the major problem with DCS is ut runs like a 250-year-old rusty steam engine, especially in VR. This annoyed me and kinda ruined the fun, even though it's a fantastic sim. 

So that leads us to IL-2 Sturmovik-Flying Circus. Flying Circus is a WW1 DLC for the WW2 game IL-2 Sturmovik, not only does Sturmovik fantastic even in VR, I can crank all up to max(except shadows) and it runs silky-smooth even with my 4k VR headset. And I think I will try and crank up the shadows from medium to high next time as this game is very well made when it comes to optimisation. 

Flying Circus Vol. 1 deals mostly with 1918, you have a 10 000km2 map based on the Arras sector. 
You have the typical 1918 planes like Camel and Fokker Dr 1. It's fantastic flying 2km above the french countryside then seeing that big brown belt of no mans land. You see fighting going on down there, tracers and shells going off. The meat of the game besides multiplayer is the Kaiserschlacht campaign, originally started as a community campaign, it's now officially part of the game. The german campaign puts you as a flight leader in a Fokker DR 1. You do basic scouting or you hunt observation balloons to name a few of the missions. 

It's fantastic taking part in these big aerial combats, a dozen German and British planes duking it out 1500 meters above no mans land. Getting behind an enemy and firing your Spandau's into the plane. And seeing the long slow dive as the enemy plane breaks up. 

And in VR you are throwing your head all over the place, seeing if the enemy is behind you or above you, No more having to use buttons to move the view around. Fantastic imersion. 

I'll let the videos do most of the talking. 

The first mission is to take off from an airstrip and land on one closer to the front while doing a patrol. Not much happened here. So just enjoy the flight. 

Mission 2 has everything. My plane gets riddled with bullets, I get riddled with bullets. I shoot down 3 enemies. And an evil balloon. Before my engine dies from damage and I have to glide into a crash landing. 

Mission 3, has lots of action, it took over 50 minutes so I cut down most of the to and from flying. 3 more enemies shoot down, including a poor soul who caught fire. I also killed another one of those evil balloons, even though that wasn't an objective. And I saved one of our balloons. (the HD version of this mission isn't ready yet. Wil lbe a few more hours after posting this)

It's literally been decades since I've had this much fun in a flight sim, and VR is the best gaming technology there is for flight sims. 
I recommend you get flying Circus, and get some VR googles, the best for the buck today is Quest 2, some $299 and another few bucks for a good USB C cable. I use a Logitech X52 HOTAS flight stick, another $130 So much cheaper than buying 3 full computer screens that has been a standard for both car and sim racing for years. 

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