On Monday, IL-2 released patch 4.009 and with it the new (and free) summer version of the Velikiye Luki map along with an enhanced version of the winter map. Although I haven’t had a chance to try out the winter version, I did fly some missions over the summer edition and I think it looks great. A few impressions and screenshots!
Reasonably small but well detailed
The history of the Velikiye Luki map dates back to post launch of IL-2: Battle of Stalingrad. A map created by a dedicated member of the community that later joined the 1CGS map creation team, Velikiye Luki gave us our first new map for the series and extended the Eastern Front battle northwards an area that is near borders of Latvia and Belarus. The battle fought there was known as the “little Stalingrad of the north” and featured a similar, although smaller scale, version of the encirclement and defeat of the Germany army at Stalingrad.
A summer version of the map was requested and even considered but there wasn’t time to do it at the time. Now, several years later, we’ve seen this request fulfilled and done in a brilliant way with a great looking map that has beautifully detailed forests, farmers fields, and dotted with small lakes.
Although not using photo realistic imagery in any way, I think there’s a beauty to the way that IL-2 Great Battles does their purely artistically done scenery and Velikiye Luki is one of the best examples of that.
The only place where the map is less impressive is with the buildings. These are decidedly lower in detail than the most recent additions to the series and so their lower resolution textures and details are the only area of complaint that I have.
Nothing new but nicely done
The new map, to the best of my knowledge, doesn’t use any new technologies so the beauty here is in the artistry by the map’s creator. With its smaller scale, I feel it gave the artist time to spend hand crafting some details as the map just feels like every road, field, and lake was picked over and checked for detail.
The airbases on the map also look well detailed and appear to borrow some of the techniques that we’ve seen on the Bodenplatte airfields – albeit with a rustic eastern front approach.
I also think the artist made sure to tweak the water colours to match the region. That deeper shade of blue really works for these smaller rives and lakes (no doubt carved out of the local rock by the last ice age). I find it convincing and vibrant.
At the end of the day, this is free addition done as a passion project by the original maps creator and it’s free for everyone who owns at least one IL-2: Great Battles title. Now all we need are some cool new missions, campaigns, and multiplayer scenarios to take full advantage. Mission creators… go!