According to Eagle Dynamics and Heatblur, the DCS: F-14 is going to be free to play this upcoming weekend. Here are the the details and some helpful guides on how to get started with the DCS: F-14 this weekend.
Available this weekend
Starting Dec 27th at 10:30 PST and going until Dec 29th, the DCS: F-14 will be available in the DCS World E-Shop and on Steam. For that limited time, the DCS: F-14 will be free to fly for anyone to try out and have a full experience with.
This is the second time that I can recall Eagle Dynamics doing this kind of thing with their previous efforts revolving around the DCS: F/A-18C Hornet and the DCS: Persian Gulf map. I suspect that the previous free weekend really helped to open people up to the new modules and so I suspect that this will have a similar effect for anyone sitting on the fence about the F-14.
The module can be accessed by the module manager within DCS World. That should enable you to install and download the F-14 assets before restarting DCS World and taking the F-14 out for a spin.
Any time I mention a guide for DCS World, my go-to automatically starts with Chuck’s Guides which are some of the best available guides to get you going or for reference with any DCS World module. If you prefer to read your guides, these are the ones for you and the guide for the DCS: F-14 is great.
Of course, video guides are also a helpful thing and so here are some choice guides that may help you get started:
After I wrote my early impressions review of the DCS: F-14 (the full module is not finished yet so its hard to call it a review), I kind of lost touch with the F-14 and ended up flying other modules for a while. It wasn’t until just a couple of weeks ago that I started back with flying the F-14 and needed to learn how to do everything over again.
I am really glad that I did because after a crash course, I was up and running on the F-14 and feeling a lot better about my piloting skills with the jet and how to take it into combat. I still have some weak spots and can’t be considered and expert on the module but that may put me in a better position to speak to anyone out there considering flying this module but feels intimidated by the complexity and the old school nature of the F-14.
The DCS: F-14B is actually easier to manage than I originally thought. Although it is an aircraft that demands that you know quite a bit about how to fly it, once you get there, the systems are actually not quite as hard as I thought and a lot of that has to do with having the two person crew. Far from a burden, Jester AI is very well thought out and Heatblur’s implementation of it makes Jester feel about as real as you can get without putting a proper human back there.
Jester manages things like radar, countermeasures, one of the two radios, and more. You can tell him what you want through a very effective commo-rose system and for the most part he does his job really well. Jester does sometimes have difficulty tracking targets although some of that has to do with the nature of the AWG-9 radar system as well. Still, Jester’s job is to help you track and target aircraft and then you do “that pilot sh*t” (that he’s fond of telling you to do) to put weapons on target. It’s quite a lot of fun!
My goal with the F-14 was to make myself combat capable with the goal of flying on the Hoggit servers. I ended up achieving that after flying some training flights and I finally took an F-14B out from Al Dhafra Air Base on the Persian Gulf at War server.
My goal was to fly north to Khasab on the northern tip of the peninsula and provide CAP support for the aircraft trying to operate up there. There’s typically intense exchanges of fire up in that area and it’s the perfect place for a heavily armed fighter like the F-14 to go.
After getting locked up by an SA-6 on the inland side of the area, I headed out to the coast and flew above Abu Dhabi and past Dubai before making my way up the coast. No more problems with SAM’s but definitely problems with enemy aircraft as I quickly found myself in a complex fight with retreating Allied fighters and encroaching enemy fighters.
Phoenix missiles were locked onto a pair of Su-27’s which I know one was shot down while the other disappeared and I don’t know if it was also shot down or simply returned to base damaged. I didn’t have time to check because suddenly a pair of F-4 Phantoms were on to me.
After shooting a Phantom down with an AIM-7 Sparrow, I got into a tight dogfight with another F-4 where my AIM-9 failed to track (going after flares dropped by the AI) and then ultimately needing to switch to guns and engaging the F-4 that way. Another bandit splashed.
Taking a moment here to appreciate how Top Gun-esq it is to “switch to guns” on an F-14… Anyways…
It was at this point that another F-4 Phantom had closed to range and unleashed a barrage of AIM-9’s at me. One detonated far behind, going for one of the flares launched by Jester, but another struck the F-14’s tennis court sized fuselage. I was able to limp towards Khasab before the engines finally died and refused to restart. With no safe space to belly land… it was time to ditch the mighty Tomcat. Eject!
Three enemy bandits confirmed shot down and one unknown for the loss of an F-14 Tomcat. Not a bad way to start my online combat time in the F-14 Tomcat.
A few final thoughts
Heatblur’s F-14 is nothing short of a work of art combining completeness with fidelity of modeling and artistry that few other modules can touch. That they were able to do this with the F-14, a legendary aircraft of both movie and combat fame, and put this together in such a complete package is nothing short of impressive. Though no official campaign is included yet (two are planned), the single player training and combat missions are more than enough if you just want to get going in single player. Multiplayer, as detailed above, is a blast as well.
The DCS: F-14 is a complex aircraft to manage and it doesn’t have a fly-by-wire system that lets you get mishandle it (the F-14 will bite back) but it is a fantastic aircraft to experience in DCS World and with it being free this weekend – I think it’s worth checking out. It may not be as difficult to approach as you may think either with Jester AI in the back seat making things a bit easier.
It’s also on sale for 20% off for the first time in the modules’ history so if you really like it, there’s never been a better time to get flying the DCS: F-14. It’s a really fun experience!