Two things I’ll say about this game upfront. Firstly its currently my most played game by a long way - and secondly - I can’t hope to do it proper justice in a review. Therefore please treat this pages more as a few comments and insights into this game and not an accurate description of all of its features.
IL-2 Sturmovik “Forgotten battles” is actually a re-release of IL-2 Sturmovik which I’ve already reviewed on this site - so this page will make more sense if you read that review first. Also some of the features mentioned here are not new to this version of IL-2, but I’ve not had the chance to investigate them before.
Anyway - to cut a long story short - I really liked the original IL-2 Sturmovik - but after a couple of patches it was replaced with the “Forgotten battles” variant. On the face of it there was not much difference except for more planes, bug fixes and improvements to the flight model. As I’m a fan of combat damage/forced landings it was nice to see some improvements in this area. Most obvious to me was the damaged engine housing on the Me109:
I also enjoyed the addition of the Hurricane (amongst others) as its a great gun platform. “Forgotten battles” was certainly harder though. The I-16 which had been my favourite plane in the original IL-2 Sturmovik had gained a more realistic gravity fed fuel system (diving now cut the engine out) though it was a lot of fun practising my ‘dead stick’ landings when I forgot.
What wasn’t initially clear was that “Forgotten Battles” was to be the start of a system.
First came “Aces Expansion Pack” (AEP). At the time I completely ignored this as I was very happy with the basic “Forgotten Battles”.
Next came “Pacific Fighters”. This is a stand alone game which also has the ability to be added to “Forgotten Battles”. I didn’t realise until I tried to do this that AEP is necessary for this combined setup also.
“Pacific Fighters” does add a whole new theatre of war - whilst AEP is really just a straight forward expansion to “Forgotten Battles”. However one interesting feature of AEP is that it provide a network access port (UDP) for both the controls and also the instruments. This is really only of interest if you are creating custom control/display systems - and I plan to make use of it when I eventually get down to building my ‘simpit’ (Cockpit Simulator).
As with the original IL-2, I’ve concentrated on the quick mission builder. This is virtually the same as its always been - but one nice touch I haven’t mentioned before is that virtually all aircraft listed have a year - so you can match equivalent aircraft from both sides without having to resort to reference books. Makes it a bit more historically accurate.
Probably the biggest let down in the quick mission builder is the end of mission screen. All you get is a simple tally of how many enemy aircraft/ground units you destroyed. This can be quite frustrating after a heavy dogfight which might be as long as 20 minutes. To be fair you can opt to save the track of the mission which lets you play it back as much as you like - and find out in great detail what happened to each plane. Its obviously a bit time consuming to use properly though.
I’m still playing the FB+AEP+PF combination - patched up with the latest official patches - however time does not stand still in the IL-2 world at there have been at least another 2 re-releases:
IL-2 Complete Edition (containing IL-2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles + Ace Expansion Pack + Pacific Fighters)
IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946
The ‘1946’ edition apparently has everything the Complete edition has - but more planes and probably a few other extras too.
Anyway - IL-2 can probably be summed up like pizza. All pizza is good, but some pizza is better than others - and if you are looking to join the IL-2 crowd now - get the ‘1946’ edition.
One configuration tip worth passing on. I found the throttle of my Saitek Cyborg Evo Force joystick didn’t work until I set the Power option to -Z-AXIS. The power setting is accessed through the 'controls' option on the main menu screen. You will then have to scroll down to find it. Its just under HOTAS CONTROL text.
IL-2 Sturmovik Forgotten Battles was was originally published by 1C:Maddox Games/Ubi Soft(c)2002. This review relates to the “budget” edition published by Focus Multimedia Ltd.
Reviewed May 2007