There is a price to pay for this attention to detail in performance and you are going to need a well specified processor and graphics card to get the most from this game. It is recommend a Pentium 4 and GeForce 4 combination, or equivalent to get full satisfaction from this game. Anything less and you have to start compromising on the in game detail settings, or accept stuttering frame rates. There are 18 aircraft that you can fly in the game, plus many variant models, though there are some notable omissions. While you can happily take control of a Spitfire, Me-109, P51 Mustang, or Junkers 88, you won't come across a Flying Fortress anywhere in the game, which considering the theatre of operations seems strange. Criticisms aside, there is still plenty to enjoy. The flight models are excellent, especially when you switch on the realism settings, with each aircraft having distinct characteristics.
The missions are well thought out, as is the campaign system, which enables you to gain access to more aircraft as you progress and acquire skills, which can improve your tolerance to G-forces for example. Combat Flight Simulator 3 is a worthy addition to the genre. It has enough to keep long time flight-sim fans entertained and is also accessible enough for novices to pick up and play.--Jason Weston
As a US Army Air Force, Royal Air Force, or Luftwaffe pilot in Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3 you fly in the historical framework of the tactical air war in northwest Europe starting in mid-1943, but there's a significant difference. The skill and perseverance you and your squadron or Staffel bring to each battle can alter the tactical situation and the timeline of the campaign. This open-ended and flexible campaign means you can influence events, alter history, and extend the timeline to add new technology to your arsenal. How you handle these tactical and technological advantages will determine the outcome.
New features include: enhanced campaign play sends you on involved tactical missions in a campaign where success or failure can move the front line, influence the quality of equipment available, and even change the outcome of the war. New collection of 18 aircraft featuring crewable bombers (fly medium bombers and take control of the bombardier or gunner position), stunning 3-D cockpit detail, accurate performance and damage modelling, medium bomber operations, WWII state of the art aircraft (including the first jet fighters). Custom graphics engine powers super high detail ground attack targets and improved scenery with enhanced 3-D modelling and texturing Cooperative multiplayer missions and free-for-all dogfights via the Internet and LAN. Reactive world: areas of the campaign world will trigger events, spawn aircraft, generate flak and so on, in response to your presence. Role playing elements: pilots have qualities such as Bombing Skill, Vision, and Health. Strategy: you make decisions that influence how the war is fought, where to put the pressure on the enemy, and what aircraft improvements are crucial to the war effort.