It may have slipped past, unnoticed in the patch notes, but I want to make sure to get some attention for a very fun Scripted Campaign for IL-2 Battle of Bodenplatte. ‘Wind of Fury’ is a free Scripted Campaign featuring the Tempest Mark V and after completing a play through I can say that it’s very fun to play. Although you don’t have to choose between buying it or not, I still thought it’d be fun to do a short review of the campaign and let you know what it’s like.
A ferocious wind
‘Wind of Fury’ follows No. 486 RNZAF Squadron from the fall of 1944 through to January of 1945. The campaign’s early missions see the squadron move up to the recently captured airbase at Volkel. This base would become it’s home base for the next several months as the Allied advance ground to a halt along the German border.
Being familiar with 2nd TAF and Tempest operations, I can say with a fair bit of certainty that ‘Wind of Fury’ captures the various stages that the squadrons went through with detail. Most missions are of the ‘tactical reconnaissance’ nature – RAF parlance for combat patrol. Tempest squadrons were frequently employed in the role to sweep for enemy aircraft, trains, vehicle convoys and just about anything that moved. Once sighted, the Tempests would nearly always immediately attack and then either continue on patrol or return to base. Although many of the missions have that mission type as the setup, none of them are ever the same and there are definitely twists along the way.
Each mission comes with, as is usual, a written piece about life in the squadron and how things are going along the front. These are meticulously researched and include all manners of historical detail. The loss of the unit’s various commanders in action, the rough and bombed out nature of Volkel airbase (represented both visually and in written form), and the sometimes long stretches where the squadron didn’t see much action or fighting with the Luftwaffe. It’s all contained there in the written form. It all comes together to tell a story and I love that about these missions.
Fun and sometimes challenging scenarios
A lot of the scenarios are very fun setup’s that let you fully use the Tempest in combat. Sweeping for enemy trains in one of the early missions was really interesting. So was a later mission where some low flying aircraft are spotted prompting the squadron to attack, only for fighters to bounce from up high.
The campaign’s author, BlackSix, aims to make his campaigns accessible to a wide variety of players and so ‘Wind of Fury’ is not the most challenging of campaigns. That said, there are definitely times where you will be challenged and will have to make the most of the Tempest Mark V.
A lot of Luftwaffe pilots at this point were coming to the front lines with reduced training curriculums and the campaign reflects this with some AI pilots seemingly being more rookie in nature. The fun part comes from the sprinkling in of Ace pilots, representing those Luftwaffe veterans with sometimes 50 or more kills still fighting on.
One battle with an Ace AI was truly impressive showing how IL-2’s AI has progressed. We fought to near draw until the AI decided to try and dive away from the fight and no aircraft can do that from a fully prepared Tempest Mark V at full power. The end of that battle and my final kill of the campaign was done at a screaming 450mph, in a dive, where the last of my bullets on target caused a sudden explosion. It was a thrilling end to a very fun campaign.
A few notes
If I were to find a few issues with this campaign I would point out just two.
First, although definitely historically based, it is worth noting that the early part of the campaign is much easier than the later parts. Later on you’ll face the newest Bf109K-4’s and Fw190D-9’s and even a few Me 262’s but early on the Tempest holds clear advantage over the Fw190A-8’s and Bf109G-14’s. I hesitate to add it as criticism so consider this a note that you’ll see the difficulty ramp up over the course of the missions. By the time it does, you may feel more confident in the Tempest’s capabilities anyways.
Second, the missions do occasionally feature larger numbers of aircraft including a couple of times where the B-25D AI aircraft make an appearance. This is fun but it may slow some of your systems down (the dreaded ‘time dilation’ effect where the sim runs more slowly). My five year old Core i5 6600 CPU struggled at bit at times – but it’s due for an update anyways.
‘Wind of Fury’ is a very typical Scripted Campaign in the list of available campaigns in the series. That is in no way a bad thing as this campaign matches its free and paid counterparts in both length and quality. Mission design is excellent, historical research and detail is excellent, and the overall playability and fun factor are all here.
Most of you know that the Tempest Mark V is at the very top of my favourite aircraft of all time list and it together with a few others are a special joy for me when flying in the sim. That the sim now has a campaign dedicated to its operation is all the more special and when it comes to us, for free, at the same quality level as BlackSix’s other campaigns, I can say with certainty that everyone should check this campaign out if you own Battle of Bodenplatte.