A solid idea with solid execution. A little rough around the edges and far from perfect but a definet good step.

User Rating: 8 | IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey X360
All said and done Sturmovik is a good game. It has many good factors and many reasons to come to keep you interested. However it does have draw backs and they can be frusterating at times, to say the least. During the game you will mostly be dogfighting and shooting down bombers and what not. The main problem with this is that there really is limited variety. On this note however, the flight mechanics are fairly solid, planes' guns are satisfying to shoot, they feel responsive and deadly and this is good. Unfortunatley the combat is not always this consistent. I can respect a wish for realism however it is infinetley frusterating when you can move two inches without stalling and the enemy planes seem to have infinetly superior climbing turning and diving abilities. Some planes handle well (sturmovik) but many simply feel frusterating (P-51) , like they stall to easily and won't turn sharp enough. It is noteworthy enough to mention too that the xbox controller does not seem up to the minute pitch changes that are required to turn in combat so i suggest a flight stick. If you can over come this initial frusteration the flight itself becomes challenging and enjoyable.
In the game there are three difficulties. Arcade is the easiest and makes it impossible to stall and gives you a bullet lead assist. Arcade is fairly easy. Realistic mode ramps it up a bit, allowing you to stall and takeing away the aim assist. This mode is probably the best in my opinion. Finally there is simulator mode. I did not care for this mode at all, i think it is awefully pulled off, a terrible fit for this game and horribly frusterating. My first problem with it is that it doesn't show you were enemy planes are anymore. More unfortunatley still though is that planes, even if they are directly infront of you, are meerley specks on the horizon (that is without camo) and practically impossible to see. Although asuming planes were actually visible it really wouldn't matter much as you would never know where any planes were that weren't actually directly in front of you. Yes it is possible to look around but the controls for doing so are broken, nonresponsive and annoying. Basically you are stuck looking directly in front of you or diretly behind yourself, looking out one of the your sides is neerly impossible. The fact that you can't see enemies, have no idea where they are and the broken controls add up to form one broken mode that really doesn't fit with the rest of the game.
Assuming tha that you are playing one of th efirst two difficuties you shouldn't have much trouble beating the campain if you want to. You can set up infinite continues and when you die you don't lose any progress assuming you have any continues remaining. This makes the campain dissapointingly easy. Actually you will probably only fail a mission if you completely neglect the objective or the game glitches.
Mission objectives are usually fun and simple. Although sometimtes they are a bit unclear. Although ground attacks without bombs is reallyy frusterating because targets are so small. Objectives usually include highlighting a group of enemies and telling you to kill a small percentage of them, i though that really lent itself to realism when you don't have to destroy 100% of the enemy but meerly a small portion. It makes you feel like you are a very small part of a very big war. Sometimes your help isn't even required and you comrades can handle it. On each mission you will be accompainied by a few wingmen. You can give them orders but for the most part they do what they want. Like i said you will most likely never fail any mission however the game glitches, and often... this means that you will have to restart the mission to get the objective to activate or the next sequence to happen and lose all of your progress (happened to me about a dozen times in my first playthrough).
The graphics are really good, bullet holes, smoke, torn metal and textures all look good. Sometimes the framerate freezes but this is usually a small inconvinience. Also some visual oddities (machine guns look wierd when they fire). sound is broken unfortunatly, wingmen's comments and objective descriptions are occasionally silent...
Throughout the game you will have the chance to unlock planes, weapons and information but it doesn't tell you how to unlock anything, or even what planes you have to unlock which is frusterating. And while you can unlock weapons and planes it is impossible to cumstomise what planes or weapons sets you take into the campaign or the single missions.
All being said this is a fun game for anyone who like good flying games and doesn't mind the occaisional frusterating moment. This is a step in the right direction for consol flying games but it definetly has room for improvement.