There have been some changes recently, something seems to have shifted in my mindset to suggest that I am missing WW2 flight simming! While I’d like to say that this has seen a renewed interest in DCS WW2 it hasn’t really. While the aircraft are excellently modelled, look great and are really enjoyable to fly the one thing that is still missing is the multiplayer experience. The disjointed plane set is not made for online play, the aircraft have little to no match up…Fw190D-9 against Parkilapov i-16 anyone?
So, that leaves me two choices. I confess, the prospect of Storm of War returning to Cliffs of Dover really got my attention, I reinstalled it. I’ve gone back and flown it with Track IR and it is still enjoyable, despite its flaws; but I can not shake the indignity of what happened previously with TFS and I certainly won’t be looking to buy their DLC that’s however many years overdue now. The lack of VR support in that means that it’s just not an appealing prospect. I’ll take part in Storm of War because it’s such an immersive and exciting scenario with genuine challenges and objectives requiring a different way of thinking and keeping you on your toes. The publicity for North Africa isn’t selling it to me, and I’ve longed for a North Africa theatre for a very long time. I’d love the Hurricane Mk IIc and d but the terrain looks really poor and the killer blow…it’s going to be available in IL2 BoX as a collector plane…my order went in quickly.
So, the choice ends up being obvious. After writing the review for the Blackhog B-Explorer I was finally able to get all of the controls working again and IL2 Great Battles series has suddenly got it’s appeal back. The WW2 multiplayer environment is there, though there is nothing approaching Storm of War there are still good servers. I’ve returned to Finnish Virtual Pilots with some other EAF fliers and we’re enjoying getting back into the world of manual everything, dive bombing and a completely different flying skill to get kills; no longer looking for missile shots or inputting lat/log for JDAMs but getting the deflection shots right and nailing the area around the engine and cockpit with cannon shells.
Have I given up on DCS? Far from it. I’m still really enjoying the Harrier, Hornet and F-16 (as well as others when I get the chance to use them!) The Spitfire is still a favourite too, I just feel like DCS World is missing too much when it comes to WW2 at the moment. The Mosquito is coming, along with the P-47, and I’m really keen to get it, but at the same time it feels like there isn’t the right environment to use it in. IL2, on the other hand, has more of environment that just has a feel to it that is missing from DCS. I feel like I could run into a range of different opposition aircraft and they could be on a par with what I am flying, they could be more advanced or they could be an inferior aircraft. In DCS I know if I am in a Spitfire I will run into the Bf109K-4 and not be able to get close to it, the same applies to the Fw190D-9. The only way you’re going to get a kill is to successfully bounce the enemy aircraft or they do something that stops them from extending and running away. I’m not saying everything has to be balanced, but when you know that you will be running into enemy aircraft and no matter what you do they will be the aircraft that’s a couple of years more advanced, with much superior speed, rate of climb and pretty much everything else it gets a bit tiresome. The Fw-190A-8 is welcome, but people don’t tend to take it out of choice if they are going up for a CAP sortie.
When it comes to DCS I genuinely wonder whether it would be worth Eagle Dynamics making a Flaming Cliffs style WW2 planeset to get people into the Sim and to populate the WW2 side of things and continue the development of the top spec aircraft to go alongside. I realise this would really start to encroach into IL2 territory but there is room for them to explore different theatres and different ways of implementing things. I would argue that the work that ED have done in terms of Carrier operations would be a good starting point for a Pacific Theatre; though the lack of data would likely prove as troublesome. I’d even go so far as to say that maybe don’t go for WW2 but take the peak of pistons engined fighter development and the early jet development and create something around the Berlin airlift and Korea. This gives scope for Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East in terms of the aircraft used in different conflicts at that time; and we already have examples of the Mig-15, F-86 and the P-51 (though probably not the right variant); along with the imminent release of the F-4U from Heatblur. Aircraft like the Meteor, Vampire, Mig-9, F/P-80, F-84, Outragen, Tunnen, Yak-9, La-11, Hawker Sea Fury…there’s a long list; you get the picture.
As much as I enjoy the challenge of the modern stuff, learning all the systems and trying to manage the aircraft in an environment dominated by defensive systems and 4th generation fighters the WW2 scenario never loses the appeal and calls for something different; I just wish DCS could fully meet the desires to really be a test for props and early jets. Until that day comes I’m spending my time between IL2 Great Battles and DCS again. With Storm of War back on the cards I may even have to split my time three ways and consider Cliffs of Dover on Sunday nights as well!