Patch 4.006 is a consequential patch for the IL-2: Great Battles Series as it adds new content and makes some serious under the hood changes to the series. Here are some first impressions of the new patch and what it has delivered to us.
It’s a Yak attack in pairs
The Yak-9 and Yak-9T are the biggest highlight for me in this new patch as far as content is concerned. A refined version of the Yak-7, the Yak-9 and the up-gunned and heavily modified Yak-9T add a couple of new Russian aircraft to the mix while the rest of the series is pushing towards more Western content.
Fitting into the Battle of Kuban campaign with historically present Yak-9 and fictionally present (though active elsewhere) Yak-9T, both of these are available in single and undoubtedly in multiplayer soon if not already.
I’ll have more to say on them soon including a Yak series round-up and some interesting performance comparisons. For now feast your eyes on some screenshots.
Deferred shading is a subtle game changer
While some may find little difference between the new and the old, others will see a lot of different details coming out in the new aircraft in IL-2 4.006. Deferred shading is the biggest change to the rendering system since maybe the release of Battle of Kuban or even earlier.
The new rendering technique makes cockpit glass reflect more accurately and has improved the look of aircraft showing off their details in a far better light than we’ve ever seen before. Even the darkened sides of aircraft facing away from the sun that were always a bit washed out now feel like they have a subtle shine and life to them.
The glossy almost glassy look that some aircraft had is replaced by a far more subtle and diffuse reflection. It gives the aircraft a bit more of a worn look without being needlessly over the top. It really looks great on highly reflective aircraft like the P-47.
It also looks pretty good on aircraft without the bare metal skins. I don’t think this Fw190A-8 has ever looked better than this screenshot that I took earlier. Again, even the darkened sides of the aircraft now seem to pop more than they did before.
Also available are new anti-aliasing modes. FXAA is a faster option while MSAA is a higher quality option. FXAA doesn’t look as good on my setup but then it was intended to be a faster anti-aliasing method. MSAA looks stunning if you have the hardware to support it.
Finally, among the various visual upgrades, there are some really nice reflection effects. The sky is now reflected on cockpit gauges and dials. It’s a bit hard to see in this screenshot but you can see the subtle effect on the slip indicator in this Spitfire IXe.
A small but really nice effect that’s seen an update are bullet shell casings falling out of the aircraft. They were semi-transparent before but they now appear as they probably should have from the start but were hampered by the rendering technologies available before. Here they look magnificent.
Water reflections are also significantly improved now. They look best in motion but it is really impressive the way the water now picks up nearby objects and features like the sky and clouds. The developers report that these updates are just the beginning of what deferred shading can do for them. I can’t wait to see what they do next!
New single player content, 4K skins and damage model updates
I haven’t had a moment to even look but patch 4.006 ships with a lot of new single player content.
- Kaiserschlacht and Spring offensive are the expanded versions of the same campaigns released earlier by the Syndicate mission building group
- Lightning Strikes is a 25 mission P-38J-25 campaign for Battle of Bodenplatte by IL-2: community member Jaegermeister
- New quick missions for tanks including Tank Duel and Tank Skirmish on all maps (that I’ve seen)
There’s a few dozen other updates included in the list too beyond all of this new content and revised rendering techniques. Of particular note, Flying Circus aircraft have seen their damage models further updated and if the patch notes are anything to go by, we won’t see the aircraft lose their wings spectacularly after a short burst of machine guns.
I haven’t had a chance to test but that will be something next on my list
There were also new 4K skins for a couple of aircraft and they look magnificent. The La-5 and La-5FN really pop (and I will feature them in some future updates) while the He111H-6 and H-16 now have impressive details that they didn’t have before. It makes them feel like new aircraft have been added to the series… really good work here!
I haven’t even had a chance to look into the SU-152 heavy assault gun. At some point I will be going over that and a lot more Tank Crew content. Stay tuned for that too!
A few problems
While most people are seemingly having a good time with the patch and some even reporting higher frame rates with the new rendering system, a few are having some troubles. It seems AMD graphics cards in some specific versions may have some very unusual rendering bugs.
See the IL-2 forums for examples. Hopefully the developers will be able to find a solution for this soon. It’s not entirely clear which cards are affected yet but its not all AMD cards.
Also, if you have performance problems out of the gate. Make sure you close out of the application and start it up again. Sometimes IL-2 likes a good reset after a patch update.