It has been a long
while since I actually enjoyed a flight sim or flight game. I can
count the flight style sims or games on one hand that impressed me
enough to actually still enjoy playing. The folks at Eagle Dynamics
with the latest edition to the DCS (Digital Combat Series) have put
forth such a fine piece of soft ware. There can be no confusing a
combat flight simulator and an air combat game ever again. If you
have had, any doubts what so ever. Then my friends and fellow
impulse gamers let me introduce you to DCS A10C Warthog.
During this review I
am going to be spouting off some of the impressive things this
simulation, well….simulates, and also explain why with more than a
little patience the game flight mode can reward even the average
gamer with some kick ass hog driving, tank killing action.
Be there no doubts in your minds though. With every button and
switch in the cockpit of this simulated aircraft being clickable and
darn near as I can tell, every system represented and workable, the
simulation is aimed squarely at one target group. The flight and
combat flight simulation crowd.
Using the number pad to look around the cockpit, and then using the
mouse to hover over any of the controls, a tool tip pops up showing
what the switch, button or dial is. Better yet, they are all
animated, so using the mouse, you can press, switch, or turn dials
and adjust and work all of the aircrafts systems.
When we are talking
about the cockpit controls and readouts, I am talking an
overwhelming array of controls. Even use of the radio systems is
simulated and the player must be dialed into the correct frequency
to speak to wingman and support craft.
DCS A10C Warthog faithfully creates the Multi-Function Color
Displays (MFCD), GPS-guided weapons, (Maverick, JDAM, WCMD, and
laser-guided bombs), and an integrated countermeasures system, and
These multi function displays show data from various aircraft
sub-systems (DTS, TAD, DSMS, TGP, MSG, STAT, and video from Maverick
missiles). They give the pilot/player information and are the way to
input data as well. The panels have five buttons on each of the four
sides of the display. Each button does a different function
depending on what display is up. These multi function displays
assist the pilot/player in getting the job done.
Simplistically speaking these displays can show a tactical
situation, and to bring up weapons stores and give a visual check on
what is left in ordinance. In addition, the displays show navigation
as well, showing a map and flight path. It can also get information
from other craft and mark targets for easier acquisition.
Even if the player decides to fly in the game mode, which is
somewhat easier than simulation mode, still the massive workload on
the player can be overwhelming at times. Thankfully, the programmers
saw fit to include a feature called Active Pause. As the name
implies it pauses everything but all of the dials and switches and
views still work. So one can stop the action and take a better
tactical look at what is going on, and hit the right switches as
Graphically the game
is impressive if you have the ponies to run it in full detail, for
those that find this game taxing the machine then you can run things
in low graphics detail and still get a descent experience. There is
civilian traffic to contend with as well as roads, power lines,
terrain, clouds, and the glare of the sun during the daylight
Whatever level of detail you choose to run the game, I have found
thus far excruciatingly long load times. Even if we set the machine
up to load the bare minimum at the start of the computer so as not
to have much of anything running in the back ground.
That aside, the game is a top-notch roller coaster ride, and
detailed simulation of military combat missions.
DCS A10C Warthog has several different ways to play.
What the simulation has to offer are several robust missions, first
there is The Mission Generator. It is designed to generate a mission
with just a mouse click. It draws from 100 locations around the
Black Sea map. With various forces templates and different
variables. This alone ensures some heavy replay value. Players can
also add some extra touches with the variables. Such as changing the
difficulty, the weather, season, time of day and size of forces, all
of this can be touched up from the Mission Generator.
Then of course, there is the campaign. Which includes several
missions, all are single missions though linked together.
For those that just want to jump right in and try to blow stuff up,
there is instant action. Entering instant action, there are several
different scenarios each with a different level of difficulty.
Players start in the air, fully loaded and ready to rock. Enemies
start out on the easy end of the difficulty on to more challenging
targets such as bridges and targets that are defended by anti-air
defenses. These Instant Action missions are actually perfect to use
There is also,
Create Fast Mission. The feature is interesting and can be a good
source of challenging surprises. This throws the player into the
middle of a randomly generated combat mission.
If this was not enough already to add replay value to an already
impressive package, the designers also saw fit t include a Campaign
Builder. This tool gives the player a chance to link together
Players actually get a chance to build a campaign with some
semblance of a fluid even battlefield. Building missions, players
can place point values on objectives. Completing the mission, the
next mission is determined by the point value. If you can get used
to building missions let’s say a point value is not met so the
mission is a fail, so later on down the line the player would have
to go back after that target, what if there has been enough time for
the enemy to move more defenses into the area now? The Campaign
Builder opens up so many possibilities to some one with the player’s
ability to create interesting missions.
There are also
Mission replays; this is just a sort of recording saved as a Track
File. Players can watch their mission and see how things went from
an outside the cockpit kind of thing. Sort of like a visual data
recording of events.
The designers made sure that this met expectations with their number
one fans, the simulation community. In so doing they have created a
game that has massive replay value. It is not all just taking off,
flaying around and attacking stuff and then landing, sometimes the
mission throws things at you and it makes it even more exciting. I
actually had a malfunction where a bomb was stuck on the hard point.
I tried to drop the weapon on a target, dodging anti aircraft
gunfire, I lined up on the bomb run jinking the craft violently to
dodge the rounds coming my way. Tried bomb release and got a
malfunction. The weapon did not drop. I had to dodge the Missile
launch, come back around, and try a different weapon. It is the
possibility of this sort of thing that make a mission unpredictable
and oh so more exciting.
In these hard times when gamers have to decide what they want to
spend the hard earned money on, if flight combat is your thing, or
you wanted to try it out and see if it is your thing. DCS A10C
Warthog is the combat flight simulator for you.
It is a large learning curve with just as large returns.
Have fun, play games