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Combat Flight Simulator 3 Review
PIII-500, 128MB RAM, 16MB 3D accelerator
|ESRB rating: E
release date: Oct 25, 02
|» All About Combat Flight Simulator 3 on ActionTrip|
Flight simulations are a highly specific game genre and they always had special audience. They are highly demanding by default, and require players to make a big effort in order to get to grips with even some of the basic things required to play the game. Until the player gets versed in maneuvering the plane, successful landing is considered to be a great success. Now if you add combat to all that, things only get more complicated.
I've seen a burning bush at last!
Thank you for flying with Crappy Airlines. There will be no landing at all, so grab your 'chute and have a nice day!
Microsoft obviously thought otherwise, and thus it published the third and in turn, the best sequel of the successful Combat Flight Simulator serial. The game takes you back to 1943, and casts you in the role of a pilot whose skill can influence the outcome of the Second World War.
The game features instant combat, campaign, mission and multiplayer modes. Regardless of your experience with this type of games it would be useful to go through the training missions in order to get the hang of all controls, and believe me, there seem to be more controls than keys on your average keyboard. Once you're done with this, you can start a Quick Battle and try to complete a mission, but going directly to combat is only for the most experienced of you. I was slightly impatient and overly confident, so I tried to prove myself in Ground Attack; what a mistake! As soon as I started going towards the enemy AA guns, they shot me down before I could say Messerschmitt. So, I returned to the training missions, leaving battle for another day. The next logical step were the single missions and finally the campaigns.
The game offers a great number of different missions from dogfights to bombing factories and bridges and attacking convoys. To do all this, you will have eighteen planes at your disposal all of them perfectly becoming the era this game depicts. You can choose whether you want to fly German, British or American colors. Each of the sides has different planes, and flying each plane is a completely unique experience. The plain you use in the campaign can be painted the way you want it to be, and you can even stick a custom nose art to it. In spite of the fact that you can even fly bombers (which you couldn't have done in the previous installment), I chose to pilot the ever-popular Messerschmitt Bf-109G - 6, probably the best, yet slightly flawed WWII plane; known as much for its troublesome take-offs and landings, as for its unbeatable maneuverability in air.
The first thing you will notice is that the command response is too slow (I am speaking of the keyboard, of course). Well actually, what happens is that laws of physics start to kick in, and if you don't pay close attention to such things as inertia and gravitational pull, you'll end up on the ground much sooner than you think. Still, the maneuverability of some planes just seems too poor to me, even though we're talking about WWII planes here. Believe it or not, I had a privilege of flying in one (WWII plane) once, and it seemed to me that the pilot had a lot less trouble maneuvering the plane - then again, he was a professional pilot so never mind that remark. This will give you a lot of trouble at first, but things will get easier in time. Piloting the plane is far from simple and you will have to watch out not to make any sudden movements as the plain will start rapidly loosing altitude, and then you have a problem. The controls are basically the same as in previous titles of this serial, and they still make you wonder whether one should make a compromise between verisimilitude and playability.
This is the quickest way to the ground.
I wonder if we'll make it to the orbit...
Making this compromise is in no way an easy task, and it has partially been achieved here; the most experienced of players will have a number of additional options to turn on to make the game even harder. Speaking of verisimilitude, once the plain starts going down, and the G-force takes over, your vision will shrink and darken just like in real life - and I can tell you it is an eerie feeling; many hits will change the way your plane responds as well as its aerodynamics, and you can even get shot whilst in the cockpit (they got me in the knee twice, it hurt as hell...). Another useful asset for playing this game would be your orientation skills, as it is far easier to play out dogfights with an external camera.
If you prove to be better than your enemy, you will gain the so called prestige points for each of your victories. These points can be spent on acquiring better planes, equipment, etc. Still, this will be far from easy thanks to the highly skillful enemy AI, which will constantly be on your tail.
The graphics are generally excellent, plane models are extremely detailed, and the cockpit is clearly designed, while still being true to life. The terrains look good from afar, but once you get too close to them, you will start noticing the blurry textures, which still isn't too big a problem considering the fact that this is a flight sim. The game features a very good damage model, and rich particle effects. If played on resolutions higher than 800x600 the frame-rate will substantially drop on standard modern video cards, but this can be rectified by reducing visual quality.
The sound could have been better, especially the engine samples during dogfights. It simply doesn't sound too convincing.
I believe that the fans of these simulations will fully enjoy this game, but the rest of the gamers will probably do best if they stick to games with a couple of dozens commands less.
8.0 Very Good
Quality simulation; graphics; (sometimes overly) realistic craft behavior;
Few novelties (apart from the bombers); some unconvincing sound effects; difficult and demanding - OK, not really a minus, but it is for casual gamers.
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