To be honest, the game shines in single and multiplayer missions, not in campaign mode. One of the biggest complaints that I had with all of the IL-2 series was the relative lack of single missions that shipped with the game. Add on packs like TLD and Case Blue tend to fix this problem, albeit at a price. I am not saying that Forgotten Battles should have shipped with close to 1000 missions (including multiplayer missions) but the relative lack of missions overall really turned a lot of people off. The dynamic campaign was important, don’t get me wrong, but the single mission aspect of the game is to me just as important.
I haven’t really found too many single missions that I have had a problem with. In general the missions are a great balance of action and playability. The missions run well for most mid to upper range machines and the dogfights are very enjoyable. Most of the missions are air to air combat types (well the ones I played, I haven’t played all 1000) but there are enough ground attack missions available to allow for some variation. In fact, the number of missions is pretty impressive and should keep an individual quite busy for some time.
I won’t get into the AI or the flight models, they are the ones that shipped with IL-2 Forgotten Battles so there is no point of trying to rehash the good and bad points of the AI. I had no problems getting Fall Blau to run with Pacific Fighters so anyone who has a combined install of the games should have no problem. Of course the game does not run with the stand alone version of the game.
I do have one complaint concerning the single missions in the game. While the missions are very well made there is no description of them in the single mission page. Single missions in both the German and Russian folders are all under one folder and are named FighterGermanxxxx.img or FighterVVSxxx.img. There is no real description of what the mission is or what you will be flying. The multiplayer missions are a little better, most have some kind of one or two word description of what the mission is but not much more from there.
In essence you have to open up a mission to get an idea what is going on, then decide if you want to fly that particular one. It is a clumsy system that takes a lot of time, time that could be easily fixed with a description of each mission type. I am not sure if this can be fixed in a patch now or not but something should be done (I don’t know, pdf maybe) to describe what each mission is in the game. It seems a lot of work done on the missions was wasted by not having a description of each one. In the grand scheme of things it is a minor gripe but an irritating one.
Multiplayer is relatively stable in the game. Uther and I have flown a couple of missions in TLD and Fall Blau and most of the missions are pretty evenly matched up. The online missions vary from fighter and bomber missions and allow for a large number of options for both co-op and team play. The mission descriptions are also scant unfortunately, something that should be resolved. Otherwise a potential host has to dig into a game via the mission builder to get an idea what mission they want to fly.
In addition you have the chance to fly all of the single missions as multiplayer games. You can fly all the missions, but only as coop missions and not VVS vs Luftwaffe. The other thing that is wrong with the online adaptation of the single player missions is the inability for the host to switch planes. While this is correctable in the mission builder the idea of having to open up over five hundred missions and adapt them so the game host can fly a Stuka or IL-2 is irritating. If this is patchable this should be fixed so that the game host can fly any aircraft that any other player can fly.
So, what is my overall opinion? Well, it is a very good add on for those folks that like to fly for the German side and it will give a lot of enjoyment for those players. If you are a dedicated Luftwaffe flier then this addition is a very good choice. There are a lot of missions for Russian players as well but it is harder to recommend it to them without a few changes, especially in the campaign structure.
If you only had twenty bucks and had to decide between The Last Days and Case Blue I would personally tell you to pick up The Last Days. Some of the problems with The Last Days not withstanding TLD is still a better overall deal as far as campaign setup, overall number of aircraft skins and general fit and finish. If you have the cash there is nothing wrong with getting both, the number of single missions is amazing. I would heartily recommend it if I just knew what all of them did before being forced to open them.
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Test System Specs
- Dell Dimension 4600
- Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz (HT)
- 1GB 400MHz DDR RAM
- 80 GB Ultra ATA 100 HD
- NVIDIA 6600 GT video card
- Creative Audigy 2 sound card
- Broadband cable connection for online play