Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3: Battle for Europe
Windows - 2002
Description of Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3: Battle for Europe Windows
Love, love, love this game.
I've played a lot of flight sims and this is one of my favorites. Like all of the Microsoft sims there is a lot of attention to detail with the modeling, and characteristics of the available planes, ballistics and bomb trajectories. Even dropping an external fuel tank works as a damage multiplier. The cockpits look great, the gauges look and work great and actually display relevant information, not just decals with no functionality. There is a steep learning curve if playing this in a sim mode, but everything I learned playing this game has served me in every other flight simulator (using prop driven aircraft) I have ever laid my hands upon. The manual for this game is a massive volume with specs, history, tactics and instructions for any given scenario. There are animated addendum for many of the tactics, and really diving (pun intended) into the manual will make you a better pilot. The missions are excellent, the campaign(s) with dynamic battle lines (determined by your mission type/timing/performance), and pilot experience modifiers along with terrain, historical enemy tactics, and no nonsense/brutal AA weapons make this sim a real gem. I really can't recommend it enough. The closest thing I have found that gives me the sense of WW2 air combat is War Thunder, vs true sim fans, and even that lacks comparatively in some regards - I'm quite sure though that many of the devs were fans of this title as you can recognize the DNA.
I highly recommend learning all aspects of the manual in full sim mode - such as pre-flight check, the vagaries of oil pressure, flap controls, engine stalling/restarts, landing/take-off procedures, structural limitations, bullet arc, dive bombing, and all things flight. The game is fully playable with a standard joystick, but for a full experience a flightstick/rudder combo is required. There is a lot of key mapping to remember, but another nice feature is the ability to mouse control the various levers and switches in the cockpit.
Early gameplay is HARD and the game seems un-winnable then one day you get in your P47-D or P-51 and it all just clicks - there is no panic when your monstrous Rolls Royce engine takes a few rounds, oil is splattering all over your windscreen, the prop is just sitting there doing nothing, and your training kicks in, you carefully shut down all the systems and do a mid-flight engine restart ignoring the fact you are a big, shiny lawn dart, your altimeter resembling a cooling fan - it sputters back to life, and you limp the 30 KM home by carefully converting your energy into altitude and vice versa, alive to take on a new mission. ...The massively gloating feeling of a 0.5 second squirt of .50 cal rounds shredding a BF 109 from half a KM or in the 10th of a second it passes your line of sight in an intense 4 vs. 1 jousting dogfight. ...The respectful trepidation of approaching a full flight of bombers bristling with flaring guns, hundreds of tracers arcing at you, a full escort, and friendly AA bursts popping all around you.
If you follow your training, and learn the procedure of a full speed approach, bleeding 75% of your speed, letting your dive bomber tip over, and dropping the pickle moment before gravity is about to rip your wings off, and pulling out to a safety; as moments later you hear your bomb rending a destroyer in two.... Just... the best! If you like to fly, and want the feel of a WW2 career pilot, this is the game for you.
I will do my best to find the manual and keyboard template for this game. I hope they and my gushing review will inspire people to try this truly great sim.
Review By Capt. Obvious
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