Desastersoft’s Channel Battles

Add-on for IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover 

by Guest Writer Fred “HeinKill” Williams

 

Wellington take down - Desastersoft's Channel Battles

Introduction

DesastersoftThe next (and according to the developers, last) patch for IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover will focus on solving performance issues, improving frame rates and making the game more playable for many players, and judging from the latest release candidate, it should succeed in doing so.

So this review will focus on the question, “If Cliffs of Dover becomes more playable on my PC, what can I do with it!?”

How about loading up Channel Battles, the latest add-on from third party developer, Desastersoft?

In May I reviewed one of the most comprehensive third party add-ons to Cliffs of Dover, Desastersoft’s Wick vs DundasWick vs Dundasdid not just add a whole lot of skins, objects and missions to Cliffs of Dover, it put the new content into a well packaged new campaign platform allowing the player to gain promotions, and win medals, by their progress through the campaigns. It also increased the interactivity and immersion of the offline experience by adding radio calls triggered by in-game events, which could change your objectives “on-the-fly”.

I won’t recap all the features of the Desastersoft add-on platform here. For that review: go here.

Instead, I will look at the upcoming English Language release coming from the German Desastersoft stable, “Channel Battles”, and give you a play-by-play taste of what campaigning in the Channel Battles add-on has to offer.

And the good news is, although the English language release is still a way off, and the add-on is currently only available in German, I will show you why you don’t need to wait! Don’t speak German? No problem, with the patented “Heinkill workaround for German add-ons”.

I am using Cliffs of Dover version 1.08 beta patch for the review.

The Package

I got a hold of the physical jewel case from Desastersoft, but the add-on is also available as a download. The jewel case comes with a beautiful map of RAF and Luftwaffe airfields, which you will use during the campaign, as you’ll see. Also included is a German language handbook, which if you are not German, you won’t get much joy from. But trust me on this, you don’t need it.

Packaging - Desastersoft's Channel Battles

The physical Channel Battles package with DVD-ROM, handbook, and map.

The Install

The install process is simple and straightforward, even in German.

Install screen 1 - Desastersoft's Channel Battles Install screen 2 - Desastersoft's Channel Battles
The first screen is pretty intuitive. Just click the box on the left! Same as any install program. Same here, the obvious buttons for “back”, “forward” and “cancel” where you name the program folder.
Install screen 3 - Desastersoft's Channel Battles Install screen 4 - Desastersoft's Channel Battles
Here you get the choice to install for strong “stark” PC systems (more objects and aircraft) or weaker “schwache” systems (fewer). And then the final review screen, with the choice to go back, or install.
Install screen 5 - Desastersoft's Channel Battles
And I’m guessing this is German for “Ready to Go”.

The install program then gets busy putting all the necessary files in your default Cliffs of Dover directory, and then adding a new menu option to your “Campaigns” menu: “Desastersoft Campaigns”.

Menu addition - Desastersoft's Channel Battles

A new option, “Desastersoft Campaigns” is added to your single player menu.

The install automatically updates to the latest version, which is important because Desastersoft frequently makes small updates to the missions and gameplay elements.

How’s this for customer service — on a SimHQ forum a player pointed out a glitch in one of the mission objectives in Wick vs Dundas. Within 48 hours the devs had questioned him for more information, updated the mission structure, and reposted the updated files for him to download and for inclusion in the next official update. That’s a “quality mindset”!

The Content

Channel Battles gives you the following extra content:

Desastersoft's Channel Battles - a Luftwaffe (LW) fighter campaign comprising 2 mini campaigns, starting with I/JG20 in Battle of France and progressing to III/JG51 for the Battle of Britain

A Luftwaffe (LW) fighter campaign comprising 2 mini campaigns, starting with I/JG20 in Battle of France and progressing to III/JG51 for the Battle of Britain.

Desastersoft's Channel Battles -  an RAF fighter campaign also comprising 2 mini campaigns, starting with 87 Squadron in France and moving to 74 Squadron in the Battle of Britain

An RAF fighter campaign also comprising 2 mini campaigns, starting with 87 Squadron in France and moving to 74 Squadron in the Battle of Britain.

Desastersoft's Channel Battles - (my favorite) a Stuka campaign with I/StG 77

My favorite — a Stuka campaign with I/StG 77.

Desastersoft's Channel Battles - a Bf110 campaign with I/ZG 26 "Horst Wessel"

A Bf110 campaign with I/ZG 26 “Horst Wessel”.

Desastersoft's Channel Battles - plus, each of the 4 mini campaigns in the LW and RAF fighter campaigns is playable on its own

Plus, each of the 4 mini campaigns in the LW and RAF fighter campaigns is playable on its own.

There are literally hundreds of sorties to be flown in these hand crafted missions.

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