The beauty of Sturmovik is that it can be as hardcore or as simplistic as you like. If
you want to go for full realism and control every part of your plane, you can. If you
want to tumble around in the clouds shooting Nazis and doing barrel rolls, you can.
And it looks incredible. Honest to goodness, jaw on the floor incredible. Unlike most
flight sims (including Clancy's H.A.W.X) that see the ground disintegrate into a blurry,
pixelated mess when you fly near it, Sturmovik retains its high-res visual fidelity
whether you're miles above sea level or buzzing across city rooftops.
Then there's the clouds. Oh, the clouds. They're fully 3D and you can go above and
below the cloudline. In the Bastogne level it's grim and grey below the cloudline, while
above there are blue skies and piercing sunlight.
It's an awesome effect, and also of use tactically. You can actually hide in the clouds
and lure enemies into the haze to pick them off. It takes a special game to get us
excited about clouds, and IL-2 Sturmovik is that game.
The game has three modes of play: arcade, realistic and simulator. In arcade most of
the plane's intricacies are handled for you and enemies have markers over them.
Realistic makes flying a bit more complex, but it's simulation that's really insane.
Enemy planes aren't flagged so you have to learn their shapes to avoid shooting
down your allies in the busy skies. And as well as going forward you have to
constantly keep the plane straight, all from the cockpit view.