IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946 - game review

Date: 2008-05-30 12:11:00
The review was based on the PC version.

The sailor with the flags in his hands begins to wave them vigorously. This is a sign that our key can finally take off from the sun-heated deck of the Akagi aircraft carrier. I slide my A6M2 Zeke's cab fairing back. In case something goes wrong and my bird is more eager to splash in the water than take off at take-off - then you will have to get out of the cockpit quickly. I lift the seat to get a better view of the floating airport deck during take-off. The next thing I have to do is start the engine - here I do it with one key. At the same time, I unfold the wingtips of my machine - it would be stupid to fall apart in the air right after take-off, with several hundred pairs of jealous slanted eyes staring at you from the host carrier. With a smooth movement of the lever, I release the flaps to the combat position. This is enough to take off, because our task today is to cover airmen who got a one-way ticket ( kamikaze ), so no bombs were hung under the bellies of the escort planes, increasing the weight of the machines and thus worsening their performance. Finally, it's my turn to take to the sky. I increase the engine speed, while gently pulling the control stick towards me (so as not to plow the deck with the propeller), and a moment later I order the sailors from the service to remove the blocks from under the wheels of the landing gear. The plane begins to roll rapidly towards ... the aircraft carrier bridge! But what are the pedals of the T-bar for - a sharp kick in one of them and I'm gaining momentum on the right track. I have already "rusty", so I breathe deeply with relief when the bird I pilot begins to pick up speed after leaving the deck, and then painstakingly climb up, initially thanks to the buoyancy of the lowered flaps. After reaching the target altitude, you can finally trim the plane for a level flight and open the engine shutters to let it breathe a bit. There is still a long way to go, so I will spend this time reviewing the game. And this is of course about Il-2 Sturmovik: 1946 .

First thing: finally, the simulation installs and runs on any partition. We get the PL game patched to version 4.08m, i.e. with the last patch (then patch 4.09 was released, but in beta). Without diminishing the efforts of the Polish publisher, it should be noted that the flight models of airplanes (yes, yes, here each machine shows different flight properties!) With each new patch evolve towards dexterity. Which mainly professional pilots complain about, because a layman will not recognize it. Although you can try to find out about it by launching the original version of Szturmowik for comparison with a much more difficult and less forgiving (in confrontation with FB) flight model. However, let's not get it wrong: despite this disturbing tendency to "ruffle" the game, virtual flying is still difficult and it is still the most realistic WWII combat aircraft simulator on the market.

This edition of the game has a platinum character and contains everything that has been released so far in the excellent series with the word "Sturmovik" in the title: from the basic version of the program in 2001, through the standalone Forgotten Battles from 2003 (and its expansion - Ace Expansion Pack ), after the Pacific Fighters from 2004 and the Pe-2 Peshka from 2006. Finally, there are also two more expansions from 2006 - the title 1946 and Sturmoviks over Manchuria . All these delicacies were given to players on the DVD. Some of the mentioned programs have already been reviewed on GOL, so when dealing with the rest, I recommend reading the already published reviews.

The oldest of the add-ons not reviewed on GOL, i.e. the Ace Expansion Pack from 2003, offers new maps in the editor (Western front, i.e. Normandy, Ardennes - when the base and FB gave the opportunity to fight only on the Eastern Front, and PF over the Pacific) and dynamic campaigns ( including the Polish "Berlin 1945" on Yaks). Virtual pilots will have the opportunity to test a multitude of new aircraft (especially German, but also British, American, Italian and even Japanese). This add-on is also worth praising for a few Polish accents (correct "skin" for PZL P.11c, markings of Polish squadrons, 7TP light tank, graphics (faces) of pilots and Polish voices and military ranks).

The relatively poorest in terms of content and attractions addon is Peshka Pe-2. It gives the opportunity to fly the title three-seat Soviet Petlakov bomber (an aircraft equivalent to the British De Havilland Mosquito or the German Junkers Ju 88) in two static campaigns on the central, Belarus, Leningrad and Baltic fronts in 1943-45.

My thoughts about the game are interrupted for a moment by missiles of missiles, which - which I can conclude with horror - are approaching dangerously close to the hull of my vulnerable Zero. I lost my vigilance and let some American in Wildcat approach me like a rookie. So instead of falling on it myself and cutting it down in the classic "boom & zoom", now I have to make every effort to avoid the enemy sitting on 6th. Feeling a trickle of sweat running down my back (playing Iłek causes signs of physical fatigue!), I twist like an eel in a tight defensive barrel, occasionally releasing - like the last desperation - the landing gear. All for nothing, the opponent clung to me like Velcro on a dog's tail. In an act of despair, I try the maneuver used previously by others: I descend to 300m, discreetly release the flaps to the landing position, close the throttle and ... start the half-loop to the ground, praying that I myself will not end a self-murder after the wonderful bell on Mother Earth. This desperate play finally works - the opponent follows me, but the top of my figure is half a meter above the ground (phew), and his ... a few meters below the water level. I have a man out of my mind. What was I talking about ...?

Another of the additions, 1946 , is a hypothetical (because it was fought after AD 45, specifically in June-September 46 at the 2nd Ukrainian Front) conflict between the USSR and the Third Reich (in this version of the alternative history, the Americans failed on the beaches of Normandy ...). It must be admitted, however, that even missions describing events that did not take place reliably fit in with the rest of the series.

The main campaign of this expansion, VVS'46, however, presents us with a bit too many routine (and thus boring ...) training or ferrying tasks. This conflict is being fought with the extensive use of many new planes, primarily jets (although we will not immediately get to control them), some of which have not really even taken to the air, remaining a dream on the drawing board or not going beyond the prototype phase. So we get the German ones: the well-known Me-262, Arado Ar-234 (the first jet bomber, and in fact a bomber reconnaissance), He-162, the bizarrely shaped vertical take-off and landing Heinkel Lerche II plane, or built in the concept of a flying wing (or ... batplane :-)) Goring's "pet" - Horten Ho-IX. From the German Focke-Wulf Ta-183, you can shoot with X-4 cable-guided air-to-air missiles. The Soviet MiGi-9 and 13 (the latter with a hybrid propeller-jet drive) and the Yak-15 join the above-mentioned ones.

The Stormtroopers over Manchuria are an extension that allows you to check Il-10, a real beast, the successor of a similar machine with a 2 in the name, well-known from previous installments. We begin to fly this attack plane over Berlin (in April and May '45), tearing off the head of the fascist hydra, and then be transferred to the 1st Far Eastern Front, to the aforementioned Chinese Manchuria and to fight the Japanese in operation "August storm". There is also an option here to sit at the controls of machines produced in the Land of the Rising Sun: Mitsubishi J2M Raiden, several variants of the Ki Nakajima series (eg Ki-27 Nate), Kawanishi N1K2-J with a unique automatic flap mechanism. The Japanese campaign entitled "Eternal Glory" (also based in part on imaginary events) begins with attempts to stop Americans from planting a flag on Iwo Jima (remember this famous photo?) And ends in August 1945 with knocking American superfortec B-29.

On the game CD you can find a map of regions over which we will fight air combat waiting to be printed, e.g. maps of Normandy, Ardennes, Midway Atoll, Manchuria, Burma, etc. Flying fans will also find a 460-page airplane guide (in the format pdf and unfortunately in English - here the Polish publisher failed) describing - apart from tactical and technical parameters and cockpit instrumentation - also the strengths and weaknesses of individual machines. But where are the previously announced exclusive trailers of Storm of War: Battle of Britain ( Sturmovik's successor), as well as film interviews and reports showing the backstage of the development process of the reviewed product?

It's time to finish, because I still have to land. And having the clipper on the deck of a three-wheel carrier at the same time is not a whim, but a necessity, otherwise the tail hook may not catch the brake line. So you have to stay focused and fresh, because it is a maneuver more difficult than the start, and even the fight itself ...

Il-2 Sturmovik in its present form ( 1946 ) still - after so many years! - it outclasses all competition and pushes it back to the underworld, from which it had the audacity to emerge. Despite flight models evolving with each patch to the arcade side. And even despite the effects of damage that did not make such an impression as in the past, and the audiovisual setting gnawed a bit by the tooth (although the latter also improved with almost every addition). For young practitioners of virtual flying - a collection of all the best in the series, which is a must-have if you want to start a flirt with WWII air sims. It only remains to keep your fingers crossed that the Storm of War: Battle of Britain , which is coming out any day in the world, will also find a publisher in Poland, and that it will not last as long as in the case of 1946 .

Paweł "PaZur_76" Surowiec