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Game Preview of IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey is based around large-scale aerial combat over the ground-based military operations of World War II. Players participate in the war’s most famous confrontations piloting fighters, battle planes or heavy bombers across a range of thrilling missions. There are five seats of war to engage in – The Battle of Britain, Stalingrad, Berlin, Sicily and Korsun – representing the main airborne battles of World War II in Europe.

IL-2 SturmovikI’m sure many of you remember IL-2 on the PC and I’m also sure you remember how it quickly became one of the main contenders within the combat flight simulation category almost 7 years ago. Testament to this is how, even to this day, there is a strong community for its 64 man multiplayer capabilities online. Now 1C have decided to breathe life into the IL-2 name once again by bringing it to the masses in the form of Birds of Prey.

Now unfortunately I’m going to have to deflate the elation of our dear PC readers by informing them that this title will only be available on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, also I’m unable to offer any words of consolation to them as at the moment there are no plans to bring this fantastic game to our beloved beige boxes.

So moving swiftly onto the game itself which is adorned upon an impressive TV IL-2 Sturmovikscreen via the Xbox 360 sat neatly on the table in front of us and first impressions is that console owners are in for a treat.  Make no mistake though, even with IL-2 gracing the console market, this is still a difficult simulation game with an outstanding flight model. Yes you can tone down the difficulty of simulation to more of an arcade style game with things like enemy and friendly names being displayed above the aircraft along with radar in your game interface HUD but this does not spoil the game which can only be a good thing.  This change to the game should also broaden the appeal to a wider audience of gamers, those who wish to do things by the book and those who want to jump straight into the thick of battle all guns blazing.

The simulation side of things concentrates on proper aircraft operation, flaps, trim, rudders and all of the other fiddly bits in-between. Alongside this you also have to concentrate on not getting shot, shooting the enemy and making sure you don’t find yourself losing control of your bird to the unforgiving nature of a flat spin. To make things even more interesting, the games damage model also takes its toll on the flight dynamics of your aircraft, bullets ripping holes in your wings and fuselage will affect airfloIL-2 Sturmovikw along with flight stability, damage to the engines will reduce performance and thrust which could lead to premature stalling amongst other unexpected side effects. So emphasis on preserving your aircraft as much as possible is the key to success. Moving to the more arcade side of things, the damage model is still in full effect but has simplified the operation of the aircraft making it easier to control and less likely shoot yourself in the foot.

The visual side to IL-2 can be summed up in general using two words, one of which would normally be blocked by profanity filters so I shall use the other word of IL-2 Sturmovikstunning. Everything is beautifully modelled and detailed, cloud formations look realistic and natural whilst the ground detail is breath taking. An example would be the demonstration of one of the opening campaign levels set in Dover where I was reliably informed that everything is accurately modelled along with it being densely populated, though not having actually been to Dover I could only take the demonstrators word on this.

The audio side of things seem to be realistic enough, but it’s not the most of exciting things to listen to now is it? The drone of your engines with bursts of machine gun fire is pretty much the order of the day, however the musical side of things are being handled by Jeremy Soule whose previous work includes Guild Wars, Company of Heroes and Oblivion, and judging by the brief preview along with his previous game accompaniments, players are in for an orchestral treat.

So game wise the single player side comprises of a campaign mode taking you through some of the most notable combat zones of World War II ranging from bombing raids over Berlin to the Battle of Britain, letting you control various different aircraft along with sitting you in the gun turret of a bomber in some scenarios.  Multiplayer wise the game will offer players four game modes, Dogfight, Team Dogfight, Control Airfields and an Attack and Defend mode.
Basically everything is coming together really nicely and is set to be a very strong title for the console market, definitely a game that I whole heartedly recommend in obtaining when it is released sometime in 2009.

Wedgeh | 12th July, 2008
Betty_Swallocks's picture
How the hell can you have a "serious" flight sim with a console controller?
Has Oleg sold out? I can't see this getting anything like the following the original had with all it's user created content.
redmason's picture
If it plays like Acecombat 6, consider it sold. I play flight 'sims' on consoles because I couldn't enjoy the complexity of those games on the PC so if they're making it as complicated on the console... meh.
Betty_Swallocks's picture
If it isn't complicated then it isn't a flight simulation. The clue is in the name. Simulation. Flying is complicated. If you dumb it down so that 14 year old Ritalin fueled Texans can play it on their console then it's an arcade game and shame on Oleg.
Beanz's picture
Don't worry Betty, in theory they're still working on Battle of Britain for the PC (not that there's been any news on it recently)
Vulpine's picture
Yeh, i was excited until i learnt it was for xbox only....
GT-Roadie's picture
What's about the existing flight stick, which is compatible for the PC and the PS3, the T.Flight Stick X from Thrustmaster? Look at Thrustmaster dot com! Sorry, but I can't post links and pictures now.

Thank you Wedgeh for this very informatively report! I hope, you keep at it. I await this game eagerly!
GT-Roadie's picture
There is a new video available at the publisher's website!

www dot 1cpublishing dot eu/game/il-2-sturmovik-birds-of-prey/downloads
Wedgeh's picture
Repost of roadie's link.


also keep an eye out for my hands on preview as i got to spend some time playing the game at the games convention at Leipzig
GT-Roadie's picture
I was at the GC in Leipzig too, and the first what I do, was to go to the 1C Company booth. I have filmed 2 videos. These videos are uploaded at youtube. You find them under the name:

IL2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey - GC2008-1


IL2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey - GC2008-2

The videos showing the easy mode are a little bit too dark and shakily, sorry. In simulation mode I have sometimes lost the control over the aircraft and was tailspinning against the earth without coming out of this and then crashing to the earth.
Rasher's picture
i wasn't at first looking forward to this but after reading the preview and watching the videos of it liking the idea more and more

i think the game has got some massive potential
Thanks GT-Roadie will look at your footage a bit later
we also have some more new footage of the game going up.
GT-Roadie's picture
There's a new trailer at Gametrailers available! You can hear the engines now, and you can see the ME 262!

www dot gametrailers dot com/player/42466
GT-Roadie's picture
The demo for the PSN is ready, but Anton Yudintsev (president of Gaijin Entertainment) don't know when.
BTW, the game will be available for public in LA E3, on 505 booth - so those, who are attending E3 can fly it (not sure with or without flightstick).
Also, we are providing press-demo for a press on event, and already have finished demo for Live/PSN - but I can't tell you, when it will be available (as always).
http_//forum dot 1cpublishing dot eu/showpost dot php?p=78490&postcount=42

The official website will be live on 10th June, but there is no link description available at the moment.

http_//forum dot 1cpublishing dot eu/showpost dot php?p=78861&postcount=80
evilgiraffeman's picture
There will be an updated preview of IL-2 going up in the next few days, after the E3 demonstration there have been some changes. Kee an eye out for it going up.

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