Thanks to the free trials that Eagle Dynamics has been running over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been able to check out a DCS World module that I have been looking at buying for a while now. The DCS: Fw190A-8 is the first Axis fighter to match-up historically with their Normandy focused scenario and it’s also the newest WWII aircraft to come to the series (at least until the P-47 arrives). Here are my thoughts and a mini-review of this module.
Highly detailed inside and out
The thing that strikes me about the Fw190A-8 when you compare it to the other WWII warbirds that have been released, particularly the Bf109K-4 and Fw190D-9, is how much detail Eagle Dynamics put into this module. The extra polygons and texture work inside and out is exquisite and is certainly up to the latest standards that we’ve seen from their art team.
I was particularly impressed with the damage states of the aircraft. When hit by fire, areas such as the cowling are partially blown off revealing some of the engine details below. It looks great!
Step into the cockpit and it’s the same story here. Highly detailed texture work and 3D modeling are extremely impressive here.
Gauges are sharply rendered and no matter where you look you can read all of the text. It’s dripping with the detail that sometimes goes unappreciated but when you really look at it in detail you can really appreciate.
Historically relevant, useful in multiple roles
Something that has bugged me about DCS: WWII for a long time now has been the focus or the lack of it on producing a specific battle of World War II. The aircraft set has, for a variety of reasons, been all over the place. That’s left the balance between aircraft to be somewhat askew both from a performance as well as a historical perspective. The Fw190A-8 is the start of what I hope is a concerted effort to make more aircraft from the summer 1944 time period available to fly. The aircraft is a fine match for Normandy and their new Channel map too.
The A-8 is versatile by World War II standards. In standard configuration the Fw190A-8 is a capable fighter with all of the typical historical traits. Excellent roll rate, sharp handling, impressive firepower, good visibility in most angles. and just enough speed and performance to keep up with the Spitfire IX and more or less with the P-51D Mustang. This version of the Fw190 is of course slower than the Mustang in most areas but it still can fight it well with the right tactics. It’s also great at intercepting formations of B-17’s available in DCS World right now.
Then there’s the ground attack abilities. The Fw190A-8 has the ability to carry a four pack of SC50 bombs, or a single SC250 or SC500 bomb on the centreline rack. This is a good punch for a WWII fighter and it makes the A-8 a credible fighter-bomber.
Eagle Dynamics has floated the idea of bringing onboard the heavier armored and even more capable F-8 and G-8 as part of this module in the future. It’s something that the developers of IL-2 have already done with their A-8 and its a smart move that expands the variety and usefulness of the type.
A bit of a frame rate hog
Most DCS World modules work about the same for me with a constant 45-60fps on the regular. DCS World 2.5.6 open beta has been plagued with memory leaks and other issues so I’m not ready to entirely blame the Fw190A-8, however, it is a bit of a frame rate hog. After asking within the DCS World community, I’ve learned that I’m not alone in this either.
What the cause for such a loss of frame rate is a mystery that I was never able to solve in the 48-hours that it was avialable. My first flights with it were with frame rates in the teens. Later I was able to get it up to the mid-20’s with a reset. Although the cockpit is very detailed, so is the DCS: F-16 and that runs well – even in 2.5.6 which seems to be more sluggish than prior versions.
It feels to me like there is an underlying bug that is causing this problem that needs to be solved.
I really liked my time with the Fw190A-8 in DCS World. The aircraft modeling is great, it looks spectacular, the flight model feels nuanced in all the right ways and measures up to the usual high quality that we see from other Eagle Dynamics aircraft. It’s also a really fun type to fly! That it’s the appropriate aircraft for the time period makes me all the more happy. Combine those things with the flexibility of the A-8 being used for everything from bomber interception to ground attack and I feel like the aircraft has a long of bang for the buck built into it.
My only reservation is about the low frame rates. For that reason I’m having a difficult time recommending it right at the moment. I know not everyone has had this issue but I’d love to know that this problem is solved before I personally put it in my hangar – because I’d really like to!