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"Did You Know: The music of IL-2: Birds of Prey was composed by Jeremy Soule, the prolific comoposer for games such as Oblivion, Supreme Commander, Total Annihilation, and Prey. "


 Home -> Reviews -> IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey By: John "Award" Del Percio
November 6, 2009
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Developer :Gaijin Studios
Publisher :505 Games
Release Date :September 2009
Platform : Playstation 3, XBox 360
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

V-X3 Day

It may be fairly obvious, from the lack of complaints on the previous page, but the truth is Birds of Prey does a whole lot very, very right, and almost nothing wrong. It's the most solid WWII flight simulator experience, if not the most solid flight experience ever to grace the console, and brings virtually everything from its PC cousins to the console realm. What's more, with the additions of the adjustable difficulties and retries, the improved campaign setup, and improved graphics, it is in itself a worthy sequel and vast improvement to the original in all ways. The hardcore flight sim fans may not like the fact that radiator, fuel mixture, and prop pitch control have been removed, but the grouping that actually cares about this is such a small niche, and the game is so well done, they will likely be features not greatly missed. There's less emphasis on elements such as takeoff and landing, with most missions putting you in-flight at the start, and simply leaving the combat area to exit, but the option still exists for you all the same. One of my favorite moments of the game featured an optional mission directive to land near a downed fighter to pick up the stranded pilot. More moments like this should without a doubt be part of the overall structure of the next IL-2 game! This type of mission thought brings a new element to the stale old flight sim genre that definitely ought to be further explored. This is a big win for the Xbox 360 and PS3 in nearly every way, as well as for the flight sim genre as a whole.

Rating

Personal Note

Graphics - Sound - Gameplay - Depth - Multiplayer  Reviewed by John Del Percio
GRAPHICS
93 %

The graphics aren't flawless, to be sure, but considering the huge draw distance, large amount of action, and the fact that this is console, the graphics are downright amazing. As evidenced by the screenshots here,the detail at the ground level is superb. The stock WWII footage during the chapter cutscenes really adds quite a bit to it as well.

SOUND
92 %

While often frustrating, the level of simulation is spot-on, and very well implemented. The flexibility in terms of difficulty and the varied and well paced mission structure keeps the game entertaining to those of different simulator skill levels. It's a complete experience through and through. The narrator fits the WWII theme quite well, and the sounds of the different aircraft and guns are varied and realistic, though the droning of the engines gets tiresome after a while, what else could one expect from an aircraft simulator? To cap it all off, Jeremy Soule has created an extraordinary score to fit the era of this game, though it borrows from his work on Oblivion on more than one noticeable occasion, and there's a definite lack of music variety within the missions. All the same, it's well done.

GAMEPLAY
98 %

While often frustrating, the level of simulation is spot-on, and very well implemented. The flexibility in terms of difficulty and the varied and well paced mission structure keeps the game entertaining to those of different simulator skill levels. It's a complete experience through and through.

DEPTH
98 %

This is without a doubt the most detailed and complex flight simulator on any console ever. It may bear a few less teeth in the complexity department than its PC cousin or Microsoft's former flight offerings, but if you're looking for a game that will make you learn all the tactics and details of a WWII dogfight, this is without a doubt the one. It's not a game of knowing the gameplay strategy, but rather game of knowing the combat tactics for period fighter aircraft. There's no button combinations or targeting tactics here, it's about knowing what turns will confuse the enemy, or give you the advantage. Unusual for a game, researching actual tactics is the most beneficial preparation you can do.

MULTIPLAYER
97 %

The online offering is relatively unchanged from the PC offerings and offers a great variety of gameplay types from solo and team dogfight free-for-alls to capturing airfields or destroying/defending ground targets. Overall, there's quite a bit of online fun to be had here.



There's one thing from the whole experience I still miss: the Force Feedback joystick. The feel of pulling the cables on the craft in the original IL-2 was exhilarating and added both to the fun and to the control of the craft when you could feel the actual spring tension of the cables tugging on your yolk as you bounce from wind sheer nipping at your elevators or rudder. The AV8R is a pretty lightweight and empty feeling stick. Overpriced, under quality, but it's the only thing available for the 360 right now, and the overall handling is ideal for this game. Saitek's quality just isn't what it used to be, though. After writing the main review and before writing this paragraph, I peeked at some other scores around the net from the earlier wave of reviews. I was shocked to find so few scores in the 90s. It's a game that does most everything well and gives extremely little to complain about, and gives a fairly lengthy campaign with limitless multiplayer to boot. I simply could find nothing to push it down below a 90% at minimum, and settled on the 96% as a statement for a nearly-flawless game, a rare thing these days, that could have offered more, but made very few mistakes. Realistic flight simulators are not for everyone, however, so if you're considering buying it, beware: This isn't Freespace or HAWX.

Overall Rating

 


 
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