EF2000 was released two years ago, producing a mixture of awe and disappointment: awe at the flight model, graphics, and dynamic campaign; disappointment at the bugs, faulty AI, unrealistic damage routines, and other issues. Over the past two years DID has diligently patched and added to the initial release with modules such as the GraphicsPlus and Tactom expansions. EF2000 V2.0 gathers all this together into one extravagant package that almost fulfills the publisher hype: "setting the standards by which future simulations will be judged."
The original EF2000 is reviewed elsewhere on GameSpot, so I'll just touch on its major features here. It is a simulation of the Eurofighter 2000, a multi-role jet fighter commissioned by a group of European nations, set to go online in the next century. It is a twin-engine, single-seater with thirteen hard points packing a wide array of cutting-edge smart weapons, including the S-225 stealth missile. The simulation of this extraordinary aircraft is by DID, who did TFX and is working on an F-22 simulation. It is easily one of the finest recreations of jet flight for the PC.
Version 2.0 of this landmark game is the best-looking, most engrossing flight sim this side of Longbow. Many of the crucial problems from the original have been fixed, from oddball damage assessment to tepid wingman and enemy AI. Stability has been improved overall, though some sporadic crashes are still experienced. The game now comes in both native Win95 and DOS modes, with online help available in the Win95 mode. Full 3Dfx and Rendition-based 3D card support has been added to the DOS modes, creating a flight experience like none ever seen.
The hallmark of EF2000 was its "look around" cockpit, which enabled you to look anywhere in the cockpit to inspect instruments or check your six. The problem with this was that it slowed down the gameplay, and many instruments were not very readable at the old resolution. The 3D card support smoothes these bumps and provides an interactive cockpit that is easy to look at and use. The 3D enhancements are most noticeable in the terrain graphics and special effects, which are stunning. You could spend hours just flying around the landscape looking at the scenery.
A more substantial change to the gameplay comes in the highly expanded tactical mission-planning mode. The campaign in the original EF2000 was already a leading edge dynamic system that created new missions on a constantly updated battlefield. With a new editing utility, you now have complete control over every element of the air war in this campaign. You can set the composition and loadout of the strike force, designate mission types, set waypoints and even altitude, and assign the individual targets for each group. A 3D image shows each target in a location, from buildings to units. You don't even need to fly the missions - you can just be an air commander. This is what simulations have been building to: unprecedented control over the battlefield.
More enhancements add further to the value of the package. A quick custom-dogfight builder has been included. Modem and serial connections have been added. Friendly and enemy AI is better. Weapons and aircraft performance envelopes have been completely overhauled. EF2000 is an embarrassment of riches. Realistic, good-looking, customizable, and complex, it reaches heights flight enthusiasts only dream of.