Forgotten Battles doesn't make the sort of huge impact that the original game did, but it's generally a very worthy successor.
Released in 2001, IL-2 Sturmovik was a remarkable game, thanks to its unusual focus on WWII's eastern front, its great attention to detail, its gorgeous graphics, and its interesting selection of planes. The game's developer, 1C: Maddox Games, began working on an expansion pack, but along the way the expansion grew to become a full-fledged, full-priced sequel. But Forgotten Battles really is just like an expansion, since it's built around the same basic game engine, covers the same topic, and shares a massive number of features with the original IL-2. While Forgotten Battles isn't the true sequel you might have hoped for, and it suffers from its share of problems, there's a still lot to like about it.
Forgotten Battles includes all the planes and maps from the original IL-2, though it jettisons that game's missions and campaigns. Getting to fly all those fascinating planes again is definitely a point in Forgotten Battles' favor. Losing the original campaigns is actually a good thing, too, since IL-2's clunky campaign system was one of the game's few significant weaknesses.
For new challenges, Forgotten Battles offers 20 new single-player missions and 10 multiplayer missions. You'll rise to meet varied challenges, like defending a vital bridge, escorting IL-2 ground-attack planes over the Gulf of Finland, attacking ships with torpedo bombers, and more. This time around, you'll get to fly not only as the Soviets and Germans, but also as the Finns and Hungarians. As a bonus of sorts, you'll even get to fly as the Americans in one mission, in which you attack a Hungarian airfield. Solid enemy AI means you should get a challenge no matter which mission you choose. While the missions are varied, they do suffer from some problems, like extremely long load times and occasional stuttering during a mission when the game tries to load or process even more data.
In addition to these missions, you'll find a full mission editor and a quick mission builder that lets you set up varied air-to-air and air-to-ground engagements. With the quick mission builder, you can choose the types of planes that you and the AI will fly, the skill level of the AI pilots, the starting altitude, the weather, and more. Unfortunately, you'll get to engage in these quick battles over just three maps--the same old ones from the original IL-2, in fact.
Along with the new individual missions, Forgotten Battles has a revamped campaign system that dynamically generates missions. You can choose to fly for the Soviets, Germans, Finns, or Hungarians, and you can choose the year and general region where your campaign starts and what basic type of plane you'll be flying.
Unfortunately, the campaign system suffers some of the same problems found in the original IL-2, as well as some of the problems found in the new single missions. First, you'll have to sit through some ridiculously long load times. Then you'll often find yourself reaching for the time compression and autopilot keys to travel the 100km or more from your airbase to your target without dying of boredom. Your mission objectives and status aren't always as clear as they should be, and the AI wingmen can behave oddly, dropping bombs kilometers away from their intended targets. While the combat engagements themselves are thrilling, you get precious little sense of actually taking part in the epic conflict that played out in the East. All you get are some bland, terse, and poorly written mission briefings with simple messages about losing a couple of planes on the last mission or having Lieutenant So-And-So join the squadron. Missions within a single pilot's career can also play out too similarly, though overall you'll get a lot of variety if you try all the different career tracks available.
You can also head online to play and in a variety of cooperative and competitive modes. Online play is one of Forgotten Battles' greatest strengths, especially since it features some exciting new maps, including a dramatic mountainous map that provides all sorts of tactical interest. But Forgotten Battles' multiplayer does have its share of problems--specifically, you have to use Ubi Soft's clumsy matchmaking software and deal with occasional lag and disconnects, not to mention the minor bugs that appear throughout the game.
No matter what sort of missions you choose to play, you'll encounter a huge assortment of fascinating planes, most of them flyable. You'll find numerous variants of workhorses like the Soviet IL-2 and German Bf 109 fighter. You'll pilot the famed Stuka dive-bomber, American-made planes like the P-47 Thunderbolt supplied to the Soviets through the Lend-Lease program, and the British-made Hurricane in Finnish service. You'll roar through the skies in the famed German Me 262 jet, preying on lumbering bombers and startling enemy fighters. Overall, the variety of planes you'll fly or fight against is really impressive: the game has everything from early-war biplanes to sea planes to the enormous German Zwilling used to tow huge transport gliders.
- Player Reviews: 7
- Game Universe:
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey (X360, PS3, PSP, DS),
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover (PC),
- IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946 (PC),
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Pe-2 (PC),
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Fall Blau (PC),
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles - Ace (PC),
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles (Gold Edition) (PC),
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Operation Barbarossa (PC),
- IL-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles (PC),
- IL-2 Sturmovik (PC)
- Online Modes:
Competitive, Team Oriented
- Number of Players: