IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey Preview

The closest thing consoles have ever had to a flight simulator are watered down, arcade titles such as Ace Combat and Tom Clancy’s HAWX. Russian developer 1C is changing all of that by bringing IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey to the Xbox 360 and PS3 this year. Birds of Prey is the successor to the most popular, most realistic and most critically acclaimed combat flight simulator ever on PCs, “IL-2 Sturmovik”. Birds of Prey promises to be every bit as authentic and deep as its predecessor, despite the move to consoles. It should also appeal to a wider audience, with a wide selection of choices varying between beginner-friendly “arcade” mode and the ruthlessly realistic “simulation” mode. Icing on the cake are the game’s phenomenal visuals, which depict both the combat aircraft of WWII and massive environments beautifully.

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The production values in IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey are incredible. Dozens of highly detailed aircraft and impressive atmospheric effects are rendered simultaneously with a consistently high framerate. Aircraft also suffer realistic combat damage, gaping holes blown in wings and fuselages alike. As you would expect from a top of the line flight sim, this damage affects handling adversely. Flying an aircraft with all of its hydraulics shot out, or only half a wing, is not going to be easy. However, the varying “difficulty” modes, starting with arcade, should help to ease beginners into the learning curve.


1C promises six different campaigns, covering a variety of regions and famous air battles. The Battle of Britain, Stalingrad, Sicily, Korsun, Ardennes, and Berlin are all confirmed to be air theatres available in the game, with every feasible mission objective, from reconnaissance to interception, ground attacks and escort operations. A correspondingly large roster of aircraft are available, including every major combat aircraft used by the Americans, British, Soviets or Germans in Europe. Bf 109s, Spitfires, Hurricanes, P-51s, Yak-1s, La-5s, and many more famous single engined fighters are all flyable, along with larger aircraft like the Bf 110, He 111, Blenheim and Po-2. Upwards of forty aircraft can be piloted in the game.


Birds of Prey will also have a competitive multiplayer component, with several game modes including Dogfight, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Airfield and Ground Strike. The player count for online multiplayer has not been released, with some unsourced rumors claiming it is server based with up to 32 players per server. The acclaimed composer Jeremy Soule is providing an original musical score for Birds of Prey.


All in all, Birds of Prey seems likely to not only be the first realistic combat flight simulator on a console, but also the best one for a very long time to come. Amazing visuals, a large roster of flyable aircraft and a wide variety of mission objectives and environments should make for a great time.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey is scheduled for a 2009 release for the Xbox 360 and PS3.

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3 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. I haven’t, I played the Ace Combat 6 demo though.

    The less we talk about Ace Combat 6 demo, the better lol. It was a traumatizing experience.

    This game looks awesome though. I’m totally going to have to dogfight with friends.

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