1004th played so far

Genre: Flight Simulator
Platform: Various
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher: 505 Games/Gaijin Entertainment

Unlike other genres, there was no planning around the final flight simulator. IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey is a sequel to IL-2 Sturmovik, which I played ‘only’ four years ago, which helped contain it, but beyond that this is just the game that was left after having to do a bit of digging to get a copy.

The original dog fighter was quite decent to play, but had a lot going on that I needed to learn. Eight years of development may have smoothed that a bit, but it could have also made the simulation stronger. We’ll have to see where they ended up going with this.

Flight Simulator

I’ve mentioned before that, since we couldn’t afford an up to date computer when I was growing up, I experienced more modern games through borrowed game guides from the library, a genre of book that was quite appealing at the time. One of the ones that fascinated me was Microsoft Space Simulator, an attempt at a realistic simulation of space flight modeled on that of Flight Simulator. I never ended up playing it – my interest taken by other games when I got a machine that was good enough – but the idea of traveling to space and visiting all these wonderful sights I was obsessed with really appealed to me.

I’ve had my space adventures in other games, but the appeal of flight simulators for me comes from the same source. Seeing a world and flying around it is what appeals to me, similar to how I find Train Simulator relaxing, and the dog fighting parts of some other games do less for me. It’s not something I’ve sought out since, but as one of the simulations, the joy for me is in experiencing the system, rather than any major challenges added on top.

Our Thoughts

I guess it’s a bit of a shame then that we finish the genre with a dog fighting game. That’s not to say the game isn’t good at what it does – it looks quite nice as you fly around the British coast in a WW2 plane, but in the end a lot of it involves chasing other planes and shooting them down. They are, of course, mostly smaller targets, which always makes it that bit harder to defeat, and as always it helped that I had other planes with me to help take care of this.

With that said,ย it feels like Birds of Prey adds a fair bit to the genre as well. Your squad mates have enough personality to add a bit more to the experience, so there’s something there, but your goals have a bit more complications as well. Some are just flying from point to point, taking out the enemies where you do, but you also get to bomb a number of ships – which is harder to figure out than it should be, as the instructions on how they work aren’t always as clear. A nice little improvement is that rather than having to fly back every time when you finish the mission, the game allows you to skip that and just move to the next goal instead.

Final Thoughts

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey does exactly what you expect for a dog fighting game. You fly around, shoot planes, get to do a bit of bombing and a chance to feel there’s more you can do, and there’s a bit of banter as well. The flavour doesn’t add much to it for me, but in the end it’s fine for what it is – good if you enjoy it or if you want to play a good example of the genre.