Review: IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey


Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Genre: Flight Sim
Platform(s): PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: September 8, 2009
Compatability (PS3): 1MB Mininum Space | HD 720p | Network Players 2-16
Compatability (Xbox 360): 4200KB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Online Multiplayer 2-16
Rating: 8.0

IL-2 Sturmovik is a type of Russian plane used in WW2. Did you know it was the single most produced military aircraft of all time? No? Don’t get worried that you’ve totally missed the sequel because you haven’t. There were some earlier games exclusive to the PC but apart from that, no sequel. Anyway, IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey is a WW2 flight sim from 505 Games. It provides solid gameplay that is easy to master with no nonsense controls that provides a fun experience.

IL-2 Sturmovik has an extremely long single player campaign which is bolstered by training and single missions as well, which will keep you amused. The campaign doesn’t have an original story but just a real life one which makes for a great story. Pretty much of all Sturmovik story is something that has happened in the war from the Battle of the Bulge to the Battle of the Korsun-Cherkassy Pocket. The experiences of the soldiers are told well by extracts from the pilots’ diaries. The extracts themselves are narrated by Joss Ackland which is well done and it feels like your granddad is telling you, its fine until he does other countries accents. It really sounds weird, an old English accent speaking in a Russian or American accent. This really ruins the diaries and makes them silly. The historical accuracy and the diaries of the pilots really make for a great atmosphere. It also has some really nice old WW2 movies and goes really well with the narration. This really reflects in the gameplay especially with the music, which is composed by Jeremy Soule. It makes you feel that you’re in an aerial battle.

An aerial battle.

IL-2 is a big game in many ways the length of the story, the size of the maps and of course the amount of planes in the air at once. You’ll find your radar swarmed by different dots and squiggles of the planes all fighting there own little battles. This also adds to the feel of the game. The planes at your disposal are a large number and you will find that pretty much every mission has something new. From the slow and heavy bombers with a massive arsenal to the light and fast fighters with maybe just a machine gun. Of course the actual planes are real life models like the Spitfire and the Sturmovik which is fantastic. This is well balanced and you’re given the right plane for the right job most of the time. The missions themselves are quite short and sweet which allows for different places and planes for the player to see. The downside is there won’t be much variation in the objectives, it will probably be bomb something or protect someone. This is a major problem and you will find yourselves wanting to stop playing and do something else. Another problem is the secondary missions which are totally pointless. You have the option to continue the mission and get another mission which most of the time is “leave the battlefield”.

So you’re going through the air listening to your comrades telling you who you’re objective then suddenly you get “incoming bandits”. You lock on and aim your shot, then … well that’s the game isn’t it? There’s not much to the core gameplay to IL-2, it’s a flight sim, you shoot planes and try not to get shot yourself. Which you can’t complain about. You have a squad which helps you out a bit and you have three levels of difficulty. It’s hard to kill a fighter and it’s easy to kill bombers. There is one thing that I like about this game that isn’t common about other flight sims. The actual machine gun is the only weapon for shooting down planes and it actually takes some skill to take down an aircraft. If you have an objective to kill five fighters it would take you some time to do so. This is because you only have a machine gun. This one weapon changes the whole game and makes it what it is, a good flight sim. You do have two other weapons but they are for the bombing missions which are quite linear.

Surroundings are not that impressive.

This game is a bit similar to Call of Duty. You have a lot of similarities, it has the same setting (WW2), you control multiple people from different countries, it has the same stereotypes for the characters and it feels the same. Something that it hasn’t got in common is the multiplayer. The main problem with the multiplayer, is itself. This game wasn’t designed for multiplayer. It’s like placing 2 bots on a map with equal ability and let them fight. Whatever skill level you are, you still get an endless battle which no one will win. I would avoid the multiplayer all together and stick with the singleplayer. There’s enough to keep you busy.

IL-2 has made an impressive debut on consoles and is definitely one to rent at least. With massive aerial combat and great WW2 coverage, this game is definitely good with issues such as the online and the linear gameplay which is hard to overlook. If you’re a fan of flight sims and have the slightest interest in WW2 you should simply buy IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey.

Reviewed by phillipsmy – September 20, 2009

Visuals aren’t essentially impressive, but there is a lot of detail in the plane models.
Game sound effects are remarkable. Very good gunfire and engine sounds.
An almost satisfying experience which is very repetitive at times. A lengthy and enjoyable single-player campaign.
Final Score




  1. hi
    i cant beat hornets nest ive tried over twenty times or more can you help

  2. hntgvsh

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