So I’ve taken a break from gaming for about 6 months. Mostly I’ve just been bumming around on my MediaPC in the lounge with Cities Skylines. I’m moving house in a few months so I’ll have faster internet and more room around the PC. Right now things are a bit of a mess so I’m not gaming.
I’ve purchased some DLC campaigns before. On the Black Shark I’m only on mission 2 and I’ve heard that there are some issues that prevent it being too fun – being shot by the AI through trees for example.
However this Red Flag campaign has pulled me into hours of flying in comparison. The campaign itself relies on a lot of reference material that is bundled in. You get a folder of PDF’s that brief each mission. If you can’t be bothered reading it you should expect to get caught out by some gotcha, like SAM locations or restricted airspace. The maps and storytelling in the briefings are pretty detailed but engrossing.
One note I’ll say is that the briefings aren’t perfect. For example, the UHF frequency listed for my flight comms has been listed incorrectly a few times. 250 MHZ instead of the briefed 251 MHZ.
Getting into the campaign is gentle. You start in mission 1 of 10 simply transiting into the area. This gives you a first look at Vegas and Nellis airbase. The second mission is a longer, standard familiarisation flight, but all along the flight there are custom radio calls describing features that you’ll memorise during the op.
The simulated operation itself is based around action in the Crimea. Russia is planning to invade and the U.S has sent in air support. When intel suggests that the Russians are activating their ground forces to invade a preemptive strike is launched in Mission 3.
By mission 3 the training wheels are off, you queue up to launch from Nellis behind fast jets taking off continuously with full burner. Once in the air you fly in a busy air space coordinated between SEAD, CAP, Interdiction and Sweep flights. If you run in too early you’ll be caught out. If one of the other flights fails to succeed you’ll have to deal with what’s left.
As an A-10 I’ve been heavily reliant on the other flights to knock down migs and clear out sams. Once that’s occurred I’ve had enough wiggle room to push, fence-in and hit convoys of artillery, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. The new graphics engine makes this a site to behold. The desert is left smoldering with glorious combat and flares look about as realistic as I’ve seen in a game.
I’m currently up to mission 5 out of 10 with medals and victories to show for it. One wingman flew too far past an objective and got knocked down by a SAM. Serves him right.
Not everything is perfect with DCS World 2 alpha just yet. ATC is probably the biggest feature needing development right now. Also, quite a few aircraft seem to want to turn the wrong way at waypoints, so they circle around more than they should. That said, the DLC campaign is great fun and replayable at $10.