Realistic flight sims are hard to come by, and for a long time hard-core flight sim fans have had only Falcon 3.0 and a few others to turn to. Well, Falcon just got blown out of the sky by Ivan. Developed in Russia, SSI's Su-27 Flanker is one of the most elaborate and realistic flight simulators ever released. It's also tough to master and very unforgiving, and you'll have to spend some time to learn to fly it right.
Sukhoi's Su-27 is one of Russia's front-line air superiority fighters. Its state-of-the art features include a complex fly-by-wire system, great maneuverability, jam-proof radar, helmet-mounted target designator, and standoff look-down/shoot-down capabilities. Plus, the well-designed air frame and set of engines give it good stability and the ability to perform some awesome maneuvers.
Su-27 brings the Flanker to life with detailed, clean graphics (though some might call them plain), showing all moving control surfaces and providing some sweet explosions. Flight modeling is second to none, with handling characteristics that feel like the real thing. Enemies are smart, and the network of SAM batteries and enemy aircraft that oppose you on any mission make for some thick action.
Missions are controlled from a stark main menu based around a map of Crimea, where the action takes place. You can edit all mission parameters (loadout, wingmen, even threats), making for a high degree of control over each mission and allowing you to create your own scenarios. The interface is somewhat cumbersome and clunky, but it's worth spending some time to get to the meat of Su-27.
When it was first released, Su-27 was plagued by bugs and problems. These have been fixed in version 1.1, which adds numerous features as well as head-to-head play. This review is based on this version, and it makes Su-27 the best flight sim in town. At the risk of provoking cries of heresy! from flight sim nuts, I'd say it's better than Falcon 3.0. It's that good.