IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | DS
IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey box art
System: X360, PS3, PSP, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Gaijin Games / 1C Company 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: 505 Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 8, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-16 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Those who are truly brave can unlock the far more substantially challenging realistic mode and then the absurdly hardcore-tough simulation mode through the tutorial section. These advanced options ramp up the physics and finicky-ness, consequently making it harder than hell to keep your bird airborne much less actually make a dent in the sizeable Nazi forces you're meant to destroy.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot

Things like slowdown from gunfire, stall warnings, and jostling the controls too quickly are among many other elements that you have to take a lot more seriously. Attempting to climb too quickly or turn too sharply will send you into a tailspin that's tough to recover from. Most players will want to stick with arcade mode, but the hardcore flight sim fans will appreciate the attention to detail and authenticity found in Birds of Prey's advanced options.

Taking to the skies, you'll find the many different planes you can hop into have a solid level of detail to them. Your plane winds up riddled with bullet holes and trailing smoke when you get shot up, and watching bogies fly apart in explosive blasts from well-placed streams of gunfire is awesome. Three different views (third-person, first-person bombing run, and cockpit) offer some great variations in perspective that are extremely helpful during missions. Smoke, explosion, cloud, and lighting effects are impressive during some of the bigger over-city battles. Flying down kamikaze-style at building top level (even going so far as to trench-ride the streets of Berlin like in Star Wars) reveals a lot of nice visual details. The graphics aren't the best we've seen in console flight games thus far, but they more than do the trick and there are some highly impressive moments found here and there. On the audio front, the dialogue is superbly done, and your radio chatters constantly with update reports on what's happening.

Advertisement

It doesn't take long to blow through the campaign on a first pass, though going back to test your mettle on a more advanced difficulty setting and playing through additional unlockable missions is worth exploring here. A handful of online multiplayer modes let you engage in dogfights, bombing runs, team battles, and other challenges. However, it's tough to find enough other players to go up against, and some server wonkiness muddled numerous attempts to dive into the online fun. Despite that, Birds of Prey shines brightly as a solo endeavor in large part due to the extreme level of authenticity and attention to getting the flight mechanics just right.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
Though you'll run into some occasionally mediocre moments in the skies, everything is nicely polished.
4.8
Control
Arcade mode sports extremely cool maneuverability, and the hardcore sim modes offer the level of realism über-fighter jocks will crave.
4.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Heroic voice work enhances the overall sound and environment.
3.7
Play Value
A solid campaign goes by too quickly. There's some replay, multiplayer, and extra missions, but it's not as robust a package as you'd expect.
4.2
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Authentic World War II atmosphere.
  • Engage in more than 50 thrilling missions from famous historical battles over Eastern and Western Europe and fly historically accurate aircraft.
  • Flexible difficulty level system, from arcade to realistic simulation.
  • Thrilling multiplayer mode support customization - choose the color scheme of your plane and install your choice of weapons.
  • Cutting edge, highly-detailed visuals, realistic sound and original music from Jeremy Soule.


  • Screenshots / Images
    IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey screenshot - click to enlarge

    X
    "Like" CheatCC on Facebook