In 2002 I learned about IL-2: Sturmovik and the forthcoming IL-2: Forgotten Battles follow up. Having been a fan of games like Aces of the Pacific, Fleet Defender and F-15 Strike Eagle III and not having flown a flight sim in a while… I was interested. The Eastern Front focus at that time seemed difficult to get through at first but the new game had style. It still does fifteen-years later!
An oldie but a goodie
IL-2: 1946’s online multiplayer popularity has dropped off sharply in the last couple of years but up until that point you could still easily find scores of fully populated servers. As it is you can still find them on weekends and in truth its still relatively well played.
Games like War Thunder have taken players away with its graphics and accessible gameplay while IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad and DCS: World War II have gathered up other pilots interested in the more realistic gameplay options.
Compared to modern titles the graphics are becoming quite dated and the flight model and damage physics are a few generations behind anything that IL-2: BoX and DCS offer today. But it does still work!-Its what we considered cutting edge not that many years ago and it still holds up reasonably well today.
Of course, the ability to switch between the Pacific, North Africa, East Front and West Front is still a huge plus. Equaling the sheer breadth of the IL-2 experience in DCS or IL-2: BoX is impossible though given enough time these too will gather up more theaters of war.
Does it still have a future?
IL-2: 1946 continues on. It has strength in its low cost ($9.99 on the Steam Store) and continued development from mod teams and the officially sanctioned Team Daidalos.
Patch 4.13.4 is currently out and interest is now turning towards what is coming next with 4.14.
Sita, one of the Team Daidalos developers, posted on the forums earlier in August with a bit of news that the team was focused on two bomber projects for the next patch:
For now no any official news … we slowly working forward …
in nearest plans we have two bomber plane which now in focus … one of them is Greif He177 … very interesting and Big Bird! … hope you gonna like it when it will be finished…
I’m not sure what the other is but the MBR-2 floatplane may be in the offering as well.
Of course IL-2: 1946 already has hundreds of planes including some superb third party works like the B-24D which became flyable a couple of years ago. It’s a shame in a way that these have come so late to the product as their impact on multiplayer would have been intense over the years. Adding the Pe-8 was also a huge moment for the series adding in a fully detailed heavy bomber for the first time.
With the He177 now on the way too, things are getting interesting for this old but venerable sim. Does it have a future? It’s not going to see significant rapid pace development but I think the answer is unquestionably: Yes!