by Aaron "Spectre" Watson
Product Name: IL-2 Forgotten Battles - Aces Expansion Pack
Category: WWII Air Combat Simulation
Publisher: Ubi Soft
Release Date: Released
Sys. Spec: Click Here
Files & Links: Click Here
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Now that we've had a looksee at the third-party add-on, Battle Over Europe, let's take a gander at another WWII Western Allies add-on, but this one has been created by the developer. Planes are not only those of the US of A, but some other, never before seen aircraft, and more, are here too.
Install and Docs As this is an add-on, the original IL-2 Forgotten Battles is required, but more graphics or processor power is not. If, however, you would like to revert to the original simulation, a full re-install will be required, as an un-install disables both according to the readme.txt file. I have checked, and it is true.
There is not much in the way of documentation as it is contained in the CD case cover art. The 12-page booklet is prefaced with an explanation that this is a quickstart manual and to refer to the original simulation's manual for details. There is also a new keyboard command card showing all defaults and watermarked with the newer aircraft.
The newer items such as flyable and non-flyable aircraft, new maps, and online campaigns are discussed but with little detail due to a lack of space.
No special shortcuts are required, so after the install a quick double-click on the familiar FB icon that sports a new title will get you into the action.
GraphicsThere is nothing startlingly different from the original, unless you want to count the new airframes as they are different graphical content. In this instance it fits as the variety of planes varies greatly. From an early war Italian G-50:
|Strange little Fiat |
To late war YP-80's:
|YP-80 slaps a Schwable |
And many things in-between, such as three models of the American P-51 Mustang, B, C and D:
|D Model kill |
One airframe with four derivations is listed in the CD Cover / micro-manual as being included but is not. The B-25 is not to be found in the Full or Quick Mission builders at all.
All others listed as included are there, and some are pretty bizarre. A good counter to the "not flown in WWII combat" P-80 is the German Go-229:
|The single seat Flying Wing |
And if you want to take the "what-if" scenarios to extreme, there are a few other odd-ball aircraft included that actually flew during the war such as the the Bf-109 Z:
|Single-seat double engine |
And the counter to the previously included Soviet Bi-1, the first rocket-powered interceptor, the Me-163 Komet. There is yet another interesting aircraft that saw limited service by Luftwaffe flyers, The Mistel:
|A strange hybrid in flight |
It is an unwieldy beast combining an Fw-190 and a rather large, unguided glide bomb made up of a Ju-88 and a large-nosed bomb. Getting this monster on a target can prove challenging, but the effects are extraordinary:
|Serious damage |
Aside from the revisits to a fine old title, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, there are other oft visited aircraft, like my personal favorite, the P-38 Lightning, which come in two flavors, the J and L:
|P-38 strafing run |
The P-38 was an early escort fighter in the ETO, but it really shined as the weapon of choice for such luminaries as Tommy McGuire and the US Military's Ace of Aces, Dick Bong. But these two gentlemen did their exceptional achievements in the Pacific Theater of Operations against the Japanese. Why not a re-creation of those types of missions? Why not indeed. As included are two Japanese fighters, the A6 and the Ki84, and some tropical maps to assist in the immersion.
A few of the planes included were previously available in the official patches. This ties them all up to add another 20 flyable aircraft derivations and seven more AI only aircraft. These add more depth to a WWII simulation than has ever been seen previously.
Other modifications are made to the damage and flight models, some additional ground units, AI tweaks, and more maps. The Quick Mission builder has a fourth area to explore, the online Islands 8, which is tropical. The online continuing cooperative campaign can assist in those wanting to fly together in a series of missions. Great for squadrons flying together, or against one another.
I was holding off on writing this, as a patch with even more aircraft, including the missing B-25's, and maps were to be released. It is still slated, and I have spoken with some folks who say a desert map may be included. Testing may have run into some concerns, so there's been a delay. Hopefully, by the time this is up it will be available. Then again, it may only be two weeks. :) (Editor's Note: )
CampaignThere are new ones available, but seem to be situated for just a few of the new aircraft over the Eastern Front. Battles with the new US aircraft over familiar territories such as Normandy, the Ardennes, or Berlin from the West will be up to you by using the full mission builder.
There are a few single missions included for off-line flights for the new aircraft over the new maps, but nothing of any continuity. There seems to have been more of a focus on on-line play than off, as some of the new aircraft don't have any single missions included at all.
MultiplayerThis is still one of the most solid areas of this simulation series. Hundreds of folks can be found on Hyperlobby at any given time in either dogfights, or coops. The tweaks afforded and the on-line coop campaigns have improved, and not broken, the online experience.
|The online experience is solid |
On any typical weeknight, and much more so on the weekends, the above sight is seen by many. Climbing out in your chosen steed of steel, and there are just so many choices now, a quick look at the current score, and fly on to the target. With this add-on, the best just gets better.
ConclusionIf you are looking for new maps, and especially new aircraft for your version of IL-2 Forgotten Battles, you've got to have this. If you are new to this, or any combat flight simulations, you couldn't have picked a better time. The sheer variety of planes available is astounding! I have been flying this for quite some time and have yet to fly each and every variant that can be flown.
Online excellence continues, but off-line experiences could be improved with at least one mission for each flyable, and the inclusion of the new maps and aircraft in the campaign engine. It's still leaps and bounds above any other simulation out there, but there is also room for improvement in these areas.
Overall, one of the most lavish add-ons to grace the gaming market to date. Must have.
- AMD Athlon XP2200
- 512 MB DDR RAM
- GeForce 4 Ti4400 (128MB)
- C-media Sound on Asus A7S333 MoBo
- MS Windows XP Professional, SP 1
- Saitek X-45
IL-2 Sturmovik Resources
IL-2: Forgotten Battles
Reviews & Features
Interviews with Oleg Maddox
Files & Utilities
Virtual Squadrons and Groups