IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey Impressions

We take a look at this World War II flight game at E3 2009.

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Many games are being shown at E3 2009, including IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, a new console game based on the cult-classic PC flight-combat simulator. Birds of Prey will let you jump into the cockpit of 12 different Allied fighters and bombers and take on some of World War II's most crucial air battles.

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Who's Making This Game: 505 Games, a European publisher that does not appear to be affiliated with Oleg Maddox, the creator of the original PC game.

What the Game Looks Like: Birds of Prey is actually a very good-looking flight-combat game that seems to have very realistic modeling for both its various fighter planes and its environments. The special effects for explosions, machine-gun fire, and smoke contrails behind rockets also look good.

What There Is to Do: You play through six Allied campaigns along both the Western and Eastern Fronts of World War II as an Allied pilot in the British, American, or Russian air force. The game has 50 missions that seem to offer a good variety between sky-borne dogfighting and close-to-the-ground bomber missions.

How the Game Is Played: Birds of Prey has both an exacting Simulation mode in which your planes are tougher to handle (and become extremely difficult to manage once your plane gets damaged) and can run out of fuel, as well as a much more-forgiving Arcade mode that has easier handling that lets you perform barrel rolls and loops much more easily.

What They Say: Birds of Prey will offer both a highly realistic and a more-forgiving arcade experience in a World War II game modeled closely after the real-world battlefields and engagement rules. There will also be competitive multiplayer in the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PSP versions, though the details aren't yet clear.

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What We Say: Birds of Prey is a good-looking game, but it remains to be seen whether it will be too hardcore for the couch audience. The game is scheduled to ship this fall.

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