I, along with so many others, have been fans of this sim, to the extent that it has become a full blown hobby. Falcon 4 has a superb level of detail in the cockpit and the attention to everything from the skills needed to fly to the superb dynamic campaign (that you won't find better in any other combat flight sim) make this a must have.
It was thought that this sim had had it's day when Falcon 4 Allied Force came along, as it had most of the aspects of Falcon 4.0 but with better graphics and the added Balkans theatre of war as well as the Korean one.
But now, following the release of Benchmark Sims excellent and free revamp of the sim(and I really do mean free with no catches), Falcon 4.0 has been reborn. It is absolutely brilliant with massive improvements in graphics and sound and detail. The community of modders have already added extra theatres to the Korean map, with Israel, Aegean and Balkans open to public use, with others being made too.
The muliplayer experience is superb and I have been involved in events in the last few months when we have had 70 pilots on line in the same campaign, including AWACS and air traffic control.
All you need to use BMS is the orginal Falcon 4.0.
It fully supports Track IR 6DOF and I recommend a decent hotas joystick and throttle set up, such as a Saitek X-52.
This is one for those who want to feel like they are flying an F-16, not just steering it and for those who enjoy planning missions in order to achieve victory.
Falcon 4.0 is a couple of years old now, and it's still the best modern military flight sim out there. Apart from the fact that it still looks nice (napalm at night is particularly attractive), the thing that sets it apart is the campaign - unlike other contemporary sims (except for Microprose' WW2-themed 'Air War Europe') you're flying missions over an ongoing war game, and if you blow up a bridge, it stays blown up until somebody fixes it. Unlike 'F-22 ADF', say, you don't get the feeling that you're playing a series of disconnected missions - you're actually fighting in a big war, and you can make a difference. Out of the box, it's very buggy, but there are hefty patches (18mb - ouch) and a thriving online community to solve that. I can't comment on the flight model, as I've never flown a real F-16, but it all seems much less forgiving that other sims. If you fly low and slow over an armoured column, for example, you *will* be shot down. In a way, the realism is off-putting, as sometimes you simply can't dodge an incoming missile, or ground fire - whether you think bad luck has a place in a computer game is a matter of opinion. The manuals are big and thick but not much help, being badly laid-out and structured, with information hard to find. If you don't know the difference between the various GBUs you have to flick through page after page of screenshots of HUD displays. It's not officially on sale any more, but you can find it second-hand, and it's well worth getting.
Though famously 'buggy' out-of-the-box, so long as you have an internet connection (or a friend with one and a CD writer) for the free patches this is now a stable, 'best in class' product - just be prepared for a steep learning curve (though this can be graduated using the simplified modes available). This is a simulation, not an arcade game, but more than worth the extra effort to learn. The technical accuracy is first class, the training missions (backed up by the excellent, weighty manual) are well engineered and the campaign is fully dynamic, with the war being fought in real time by the AI as you play so it's never the same twice. You can dogfight singly or in teams, against AI pilots or other players online, or practice against an endless supply of ground or air targets to get the weapon handling practice in. One-off missions and mini-campaigns can be generated using the built in tool, or downloaded from numerous sources on the 'Net. In fact, since this title was dropped by Hasbro after taking over Microprose, it has gone from strength-to-strength with support from technically minded users (who have fixed left over bugs and added new functionality, such as the ability to fly other planes) and iBeta (who have upped the realism and incorporated other users upgrades into a single, tested patch) - and all for free! That's how popular this sim is! Whether for single player, where the dynamic campaign raises replayability to new heights, or multi-player online, where squadrons of Falcon 4.0 pilots await your application to join, this is not only the best flight sim on the market but, with many manufacturers leaving the sim business due to development costs, it is likely to remain so for years to come. Stop reading this review and buy Falcon 4.0 now, I really believe you won't regret it ...
This is quite simply the best flight sim out there. By buying this you don't just get the contents of the box (yes including the big manual) but access to countless other enhancements that makes this an up to date and evolving game. Different aircraft cockpits, ability to fly in different aircraft, or even in different parts of the world (a whole balkan and Gulf world are also waiting out there)have been created by skilled and dedicated users. The devotion and extras out there will mean that this is a game that you will keep on playing - I have been for over 4 years now! The bonus is now the hardware is good enough to make it really fly! Buy it today - the variety of missions, the quality of the graphics and the in flight chatter with wingmen make this the one that other flight sims are trying to beat.
Although buggy on its initial release this product has matured with all the available patches and mods into the ultimate combat jet sim on the market. With all the new mods you can even fly other aircraft, download new cockpits and even new terrain (Balkans). This is trully a worthwile package since the manual is extensive (600 pages), there is a dynamic campaign for ultimate replayability, you can design your own missions or download these from the net, there is the usual instant action and of course about 25 training missions, an tactical reference encyclopedia and much more. This is the most realistic F16 sim on the market and widely acknowledged to be the best sim around period.
This game is superb in almost every respect, the graphics, the flight engine, the game play (if you want it) the information that comes with it (Huge book plus loads of online help). The only downer is the regularity in the scenary looks a little bit artificial, otherwise brilliant. If you are a budding fighter pilot, buy this now!