I bought this sim on Steam in October 2020 for $AUD 35.95, that's about 1/3 the price we've been conditioned to pay for games. So my expectations were not super-high despite it boasting the IL-2 pedigree, which was the gold standard for prop sims back in the 2000's.
My expectations were about to be subverted!
Despite the horror stories I had read, my HOTAS Warthog controllers were easy to set up. Yes, it would be nice if the interface notified you of double entries, that's for sure. But I only wanted a basic setup, so within 10 minutes I was flying.
Apropos of configuration - it's super convenient and quick to hit Esc in flight and go map a function to the keyboard or HOTAS. This is great. I remember the groanfully bad days of having to exit the sim entirely to remap a control. Alt-Tabbing out to add an axis or function to the HOTAS via TARGET didn't cause any crashes either, so that was a bonus.
I quickly decided to uncouple the Thrustmaster Warthog Throttle's throttles and use the right for throttle, the left for prop pitch and the large wheel on the right for elevator trim.
I mapped gear and wheel brakes to the nearest toggle switches and I was good to go. All that left hand work could be done by feel, enabling me to keep my head on a swivel with TrackIR, which worked wonderfully well out of the box.
I found myself craning my neck to see up and over my shoulder, and leaning to see past the canopy rails. Fantastically immersive!
Sightseeing is great fun and I was reminded that the IL-2 series had enormous numbers of trees and buildings, and complex terrain about 15 years ago, while managing to deliver good frame rates.
There are so many easter eggs in the missions, and it's relaxing just to go on a free flight and look around.
The lighting effects and atmospherics are spectacular in aerial shots, achieving a photo-real quality.
At this point I only have about 6 hours in this sim, which puts me 3 missions into the RAF campaign. The MiGPit Mk.VI is running it like a dream at 3840 x 2160, and if the frame rates hold up in more complex missions I can only give this my highest recommendation to anybody hankering after intense BOB action!
Oleg Maddox and the team at 1C have carved out a major swathe of the flight sim space. Due to other committments I'd been away from it since the release of IL-2: Forgotten Battles , and I look forward to exploring the rest of their enormous flight sim fun-land!