//bigwords: DRACHEN AGE
//strap// Take off with two pairs of wings, land with
one? You’re probably playing RISE OF FLIGHT. By Tim Stone
It’s several years since I read Flying Fury, James McCudden’s account of his time in the RFC, but one passage remains lodged in my memory. McCudden is heading home after downing a Hun plane, when he notices blood on his windscreen. He assumes he’s had a nosebleed. It’s only when he gets back that he realises the crimson splashes are on the outside.
You won’t find horror like that in Rise of Flight. Here the brutal honesty is confined to the physics, damage models, and virtual cockpits. Russian outfit Neoqb have created a fleet of fake Fokkers, Albatrosses, Spads and Sopwiths that deceive the inner-ear as consummately as they deceive the eye. I’ve flown every WWI sim since Red Baron and never experienced anything quite this raw, exhilarating, or believable.
The first air warriors perished in numerous hideous ways and RoF lets you try most of them. Burn alive after taking a petrol tank hit, drop to your doom after shedding your wings in an over-eager dive, break every bone in your body after spinning out of a turning duel with a Dr.I. Piloting these wiry war machines is actually pretty straightforward, even with realism options like engine management active. The challenge is flying them at their limits while some bedroom Boelcke riddles your tail with sizzling lead.
Multiplayer is at the heart of the sim and currently most of the servers are ‘full realism’ and crawling with canny aces. The good news is half those aces are going to be on your side. Until Neoqb patch in a dogfight mode all scenarios are team-based.
Sadly there are a few lice nestling in the seams of this exquisitely stitched sheepskin flying jacket. Louse number 1 is the DRM. To fly RoF, even alone, an active net connection is required. ISP playing silly buggers? Oak tree KOed your phone line? You’re grounded old son.
Louse number 2 is the spartan single-player facilities. Call me old-fashioned but I like my sky sims to come with configurable dogfight generators and enveloping dynamic campaigns. A mission editor, a sprinkle of single sorties, and a campaign engine that randomly generates its challenges but doesn’t encourage freelancing or foster a sense of squadron, doesn’t quite cut it. If you demand a rich, colourful career mode, stick with Over Flanders Fields or the venerable Red Baron II, or wait and see what external DCGs the community cook up (there’s already one in the works).
You may also want to hang back if you like your hangars well-stocked. RoF ships with just four flyables: the Fokker D.VII, Spad XIII, Albatross D.Va and Nieuport 28. Extra birds like the iconic Camel and Dr.I cost a fiver a time.
Ah Oleg, how we miss thy generosity.
Has all the ingredients required for sim greatness except
the strong SP campaign.
//Need to know:
What is it: The WWI equivalent of IL-2, but with more
realism and less planes.
Influenced by: IL-2, Dicta Boelcke
Play it on: Dual Core CPU, 2GB RAM, 512MB 3D card
Alternatively: Over Flanders Fields (not reviewed)
Copy protection: Log in to fly
//Expect to pay: £24
Release: Out now
Multiplayer: 32 players