Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: WW II Pacific Theater
Windows - 2000
Description of Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 2: WW II Pacific Theater
Two years ago Microsoft released the capable, if underwhelming Combat Flight Simulator. The game wasn't that bad but didn't hold up well compared to other more aggressive releases of the time. Microprose's European Air War garnered the most respect from the die-hard simulation crowd while Jane's WWII Fighters made a favorable impression on the less demanding audience. Though most reviewers felt strongly that Combat Flight Simulator 1 was the weakest of the three titles, Microsoft's distribution channel kept it on store shelves long after the competition faded. The decision to follow up with a Pacific theater setting was quite easy. It seems absolutely ludicrous that two years ago publishers produced eight WWII sims set in Europe and zero set in the Pacific.
Improvements You Can See
Microsoft has addressed practically every complaint leveled against the original CFS1 and significantly improved CFS2 in every way. Gone are the blocky models, uninspired cockpits and garish textures that tainted the original game. These have been replaced by high-polygon count models accurately detailed down to the flaps, ailerons and other moveable parts. The most significant enhancement may be the incredible paint details that give each aircraft the battle-worn appearance of combat at sea. The leading edge surfaces appear worn down to the bare metal; minor patches cover previously damaged and repaired panels on the plane's fuselage. Everything looks authentic and battle-tested, not fresh from the factory floor as in CFS1. This adds quite a bit to the authenticity of the game. As you might expect from a Microsofttitle, the terrain looks spectacular. Practically every major and minor island in the Pacific is represented and drawn with amazing detail. The protected lagoons and reefs looks as beautiful here as in a vacation brochure.
The cockpit interior looks as good as any simulator ever sold. As with Flight Simulator, the 2D cockpit interior features fully-functional knobs, dials and buttons. The 3D cockpit is more functional than in its predecessor but not up to WWII Fighters. The 3D view can be panned using the hat switch and moves at a near-perfect rate. On the downside there is no "snap back" button to bring the view back front and center. To keep an enemy in view during combat the aircraft must be steered using the stick and panned using the hat switch - a daunting task made more difficult by the missing "snap" button. Though the 3D view may be superior to the 2D view for actual combat (the 2D view snaps every view), the engine cowling significantly restricts a pilot's view. Fortunately the virtual cockpit is eminently usable with all necessary information overlaid in a HUD-like arrangement.
Compared to the adventure-oriented Crimson Skies, CFS2 feels dull and bland in the style department. Each combat mission begins with a diary/journal entry by the pilot drawn in comic-book style. This sounds a lot more interesting in concept than implementation. Microsoft has inserted a rather censored view of the war with vagaries and missing details where the expected personal perspective on the pending mission should be. Crimson Skies' excellent voice acting and mission briefings make CFS2 feel dull in comparison. Additionally, now-standard in-game movies are completely missing and would have greatly enhanced the storyline. Microsoft inserts unconvincing comic-book sequences of a 19-year old boy's fears instead of cut scenes from a kamikaze mission or the sinking of an important ship. Yawn.
Because CFS2 is built on Flight Simulator's foundation, many details have been built into the game that otherwise wouldn't have been. Most gamers don't want to worry about performing a full pre-flight checklist, but for gamers interested in absolute realism the ability to change your fuel mixture sounds made to order. Gamers that crave realism will find plenty to keep them occupied. The real test of a combat simulation boils down to how the airplane handles in flight. Hard-core players will be pleased with the attention to micro-details and action-oriented gamers will appreciate the macro-view of air combat. Action-oriented simmers can circumvent practically every realism setting in the game. With ammunition and fuel set to "unlimited", damaged turned to "invulnerable", and an easy flight model, beginners will find a smooth learning curve for the game. Advanced simmers will obsess over the full realism found in the flight model and adequate flying prowess of the computer-controlled pilots. With every imaginable option available for tweaking, gamers of every level will find something here to their liking.
With the flight model set to full realism, the aircraft handle precisely as expected. Pilots will need to manage their energy and angle of attack to avoid stalls and situational awareness becomes much more elusive. Torque effects are less noticeable than in other "realistic" simulations, yet this doesn't detract from the experience. The modeling of stalls seems accurate but these rarely lead to deadly spins. When played with an easy flight model, stalls are much less frequent though they never fully disappear (as with say, Crimson Skies).
If full-realism isn't enough to challenge the hard-core pilots, consider that most combat sorties begin and end on an aircraft carrier. Taking off isn't much of a challenge as long as flaps are set and the throttle is set to full. Landing, on the other hand, presents an entirely new challenge. Landing with low fuel on a small carrier with damaged flight controls presents one of the most memorable challenges. Unlike strip landings, a carrier landing feels wrong every bit of the way down to the deck. The angle feels too steep and the speed too high. Casual gamers already sweating this detail will be glad to know that the entire procedure can be skipped with the press of a single key. Whew.
On the downside, players can choose from only seven flyable aircraft. Though this is historically accurate it is a bit frustrating to have so few choices. The aircraft include the P-38F, F4F-4 Wildcat, F6F-3 Hellcat, F4U-1A Corsair, A6M2 Zero, A6M5 Zero and Nik2 George. The handling and performance of each aircraft feels distinct with full-realism turned on, yet these differences largely disappear with the easy flight model. Though many bombers and attack aircraft make an appearance in the game, these remain unflyable. Fear not. With Microsoft's semi-open architecture, gamers can expect to see the Avenger, Warhawk and other aircraft available for download or sold as add-ons any day now. In fact, gamers that already own the original Combat Flight Simulator can import scenery and aircraft into CFS2.
Most hard-core gamers feel comfortable demanding that every simulation include a dynamic campaign. Alas, this is one feature missing from the game. The game instead features a branching campaign that offers flexibility, variety and above all, historical accuracy. How realistic would it have been to have a dynamic campaign that enables the Japanese to win the war? Still, the results of each mission can negatively impact the remainder of the campaign. A capable wingman lost in combat may be replaced with an inexperienced greenhorn. Pilots that fail to complete their missions satisfactorily will face early retirement. One realistic element has been left out: relocation to stateside. If a pilot finds himself in the enviable position of shooting down 50 aircraft he will remain on duty and finish out the war. In real life these outstanding aces were brought back intact so the nation could praise a war hero rather than mourn him. With 120 possible missions, the campaign can be replayed several times without that deja-vu experience. Furthermore, players can jump right into the campaign at one of several points of the war.
More immediate gratification can be found by in single missions or "build your own" style missions. The instant-action style missions allow players to build a scenario by picking the location, aircraft and type of mission. This style of action has been found in practically every simulation of the past five years and offers nothing especially new. Still, this is an essential ingredient for replay. After even this gets boring one final frontier remains: online play. Considering Microsoft's investment in the online-only game Fighter Ace, it is little wonder that CFSII offers only the bare minimum in online play. Pilots can fly deathmatch with up to 8 players but team and cooperative play are best left to more dedicated games. Fun? Yes. Bare-bones? Definitely.
The Best You'll See
With so few new combat simulations appearing on the market these days, evaluating a new product presents a difficult challenge. Let's face it - Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator 2 doesn't compete with any other sims this year, so by default, it is the best WWII fighter sim thus far and may remain the best simulation when December 31 rolls by. Even if there were some competition, however, the game still represents an incredible technical achievement in visuals, depth and realism. CFS2 is a technically excellent game, though somewhat lacking in heart. Simulation fans should eat this one up.
Review By GamesDomain
Comments and reviews
babbybark 2021-01-28 -1 point
Halfway through the install it asks to insert disc 2, how do i do this using the disc 2 file?
AKS 2020-09-19 5 points
I was able to get CFS2 working on Windows 10. You can see the steps here
joseaceve7777 2020-04-26 -1 point
gracias por la información, me llama la atención el juego. felicidades
Paleotramp 2019-12-24 -5 points
Since I upgraded from sp2, the force 3d pro joystick hasn't worked (I'm on w10 now). Any ideas? email@example.com
Shadow Wolf 07 2019-09-25 1 point
A great sim! The mission builder allows you to build missions and campaigns anywhere in the world. There are tons of planes, ships, scenery etc, for download for free!
swine 2019-06-04 -2 points
i bought this game in 2004 in 2006 it would not install on a new pc and the owners would not send me a new serial.it cost about 50$ then,,,may i say its a very accurate sim
corsair 2019-05-22 1 point
Game works ok. I installed cfs2 on Windows7 32bits.
.iso version 819mb (below)
I installed using Poweriso, wen call CD2 for install, right clic on .iso nº2 and assign it to the Poweriso drive.
1)UnofficialPatch (install first)
2)No CD Patch (copy into game folder)
- http://simviation.com/ : search "cfs2": planes panels missions campaingns.
Vespirah 2018-11-27 0 point
Thanks alot for the Upload abandonware
2018 and this game is beautiful still!
I'm running it on my Win XP retro system
frank 2018-10-01 1 point
This is a really great game even today, great way to learn flying while having good dogfights aswell!.
F*A*N 2018-08-01 -1 point
No direct mount with windows10. I needed download third party iso mount software, i used WinCDemu. After mounted the images and installed the game, googleing "no cd microsoft flight simulator 2" i got the file. It runs perfectly,
Desertfox 2018-02-16 1 point
Recently moved and cannot find my Nr. 2 disc for Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator, War in the Pacific. The first disc is loaded into my laptop, an older model Lenovo ThinkPad. I am looking for a copy of or a source for the data on Disc 2. Also have recently replaced my old Joystick with a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro X3D Having trouble with the other Flight Sims working with it. Any suggestions?
jp 2018-02-09 -2 points
After downloading this file and setting it up, you can complete it by introducing "NoCD Crack".
GBC 2017-10-05 0 point
Downloaded the flight simulator 2 pacific theatre, it was supposed to be an iso file, burned it as an iso but would not work on win 7 32 bit pro, I have the original game cd's except the disk 2 has a crack, disk one will load but without the second disk I cannot go another further.
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