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
Its not all bad though: for starters the graphics are generally very nice, especially the planes, weather and clouds. The engine includes dynamic lighting effects too (I suspect this is a prime suspect for the 'stuttering' effect though). Sound is OK.. not exactly mind blowing, but it occasionally surprises with some nice, immersive sounds (prime example is the creaking of you planes airframe as you pull excessive G). Flight modelling also seems generally hard to fault, with things like torque and gyro effects present, and the ability to change fuel mixtures on the ground.
Given that the core of CFS3 is a good flight sim, the developers then seem to have gone out of their way to make it 'seem' like an arcade game. Gunnery seems too easy and dogfights seem to take place at much too long a range, also there are a variety of unrealistic 'radar' type devices and 2002 style jet-plane HUD overlays active by default (although it is possible to turn them off). Locked in a knife-fight with a German BF-109, I was in a Spit taking pot shots at the enemy from about 550 meters range. The only confirmation I had that my bullets were hitting at that distance was a text alert on screen. After taking a few hits he dissapeared from view (I lost him) and I was informed sometime later that he'd 'Bought the Farm' (in the words of Chuck Yeager).Read more ›
The faults with this game have already been covered in other reviews. Personally, I found performance (on my high-spec machine) jerky and difficult, and after many hours of tinkering was still not really any further forward. Microsoft have issued a patch which fails to address any of these particular issues. The main problem lies in the terrain engine, which seems to be woefully ineffective, and when so much time is spent at low-level it makes gameplay and graphics very disappointing.
The aircraft models are generally superb, as are the damage effects. The clouds are the best I've ever seen, and the terrain from 10,000 feet and above is convincing enough. But low down it is rubbish, with low resolution fields, etc. and buildings sporadically grouped together as towns. Not good. The ground war is represented by small groups of German and Allied vehicles that are miles apart. There is little or no sense of any kind of ground battle that you are supporting.
The idea behind the campaign is that your mission success or failure affects the frontline of battle. This is on shaky ground from the start as the Americans and British just don't really co-operate, with either nation launching an invasion of Europe all by itself.Read more ›