The name IL-2 Sturmovik has become associated with a string of game releases but this review relates to the original IL-2 Sturmovik release.
I found this review very hard to write as there is just so much you could say about this game. In essence though, IL-2 is an excellent WW2 flight Sim dealing with the Eastern Front. Most of your favourite German planes are included - but the Allies selection differs greatly from the usual Battle of Britain type one. No Spitfire or Hurricane for example - but lots of Soviet planes including the IL-2 obviously. There is great variety of planes on both sides - and the game itself is very well put together.
There has been a lot of attention to detail and the graphics and sound are very good. The damage model is very realistic and reminded me greatly of Jane’s Attack Squadron. It has additional features too including proper forced/wheels up landings.
The game play is great too. Although it can be set up to aid the novice pilot - its great strength is when you start playing with more realistic options. Stalls/spins, engine overheat, redouts/blackouts all add to the challenge - but my favourite is realistic gunnery. If you thought you were a good shot - you won’t after turning this on! Realistic gunnery adds real world effects to targeting like for instance the fact that recoil moves the plane and throws your aim off. Its very difficult to hit anything to begin with - but after a few hours practice you get used to it.
I came to this game in late 2003 - whilst waiting to play Wings Of Honour at Christmas. To be honest - I’d never heard of IL-2 - but it was cheap at my local cash’n’carry - and looked like it might be a bit different. I only played it briefly at the time - as it seemed much harder than the games I was used to. However I’ve gone back to it having had a chance to play other WW2 games like Jane’s Attack Squadron, Fighter Squadron, History Channel BoB, MS CFS1 and MS CFS3 and can see just how good a game it is.
So whats wrong with the game? Oddly enough its lack of support. Actually IL-2 was so popular and had so much support - it spawned a completely new version called IL-2 Sturmovik “Forgotten Battles”. The official website barely covers the original game anymore:
I believe the version of the game on CD is 1.03a - but there are patches to bring it up to 1.2. These are well worth having as many more flyable planes are added. I couldn’t find a link through from the above page - but they can be got here:
The patches are over 100MB however, so as IL-2 Sturmovik “Forgotten Battles” is now also available on a budget label at very low cost - its probably well be worth skipping the original IL-2 Sturmovik and going straight for IL-2 Sturmovik “Forgotten Battles” instead. “Forgotten Battles” itself has now been repackaged and released several times - so you may find other IL-2 Sturmovik based options at your local game shop.
One configuration tip worth passing on. I found the throttle of my Saitek Cyborg Evo 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 probably have to scroll down to find it. This option change is not required for my new Saitek Cyborg Evo Force joystick.
IL-2 Sturmovik was was originally published by 1C:Maddox Games/Ubi Soft(c)2001. This review relates to the “budget” edition published by Focus Multimedia Ltd.
Reviewed January 2005 - Updated December 2006