Posted: November 28, 2014
I have been flying Cliffs of Dover for well over 400 hours now and I cannot recommend it enough. If you like World War 2 history and have an interest in flight simulators, look no further: this is the game you’ve been waiting for. You will relive the Battle of Britain like you have never seen it before. You will find yourself crammed into a claustrophobic cockpit and fight for either the Royal Air Force, the Luftwaffe or the Regia Aeronautica Italiana. If you are an aviation buff, you will be pleased to find an impressive selection of aircraft used during the battle, even less known aircraft like the Boulton-Paul Defiant, the Supermarine Walrus, the Short Sunderland, the Dornier Do-17 or the Vickers Wellington. Of course, not all of these aircraft are flyable yet but the iconic planes like the Spitfire, Bf.109, Hurricane, G.50, Blenheim IV, Ju-88, He-111 and Br.20 can be flown. You can fly online with up to 100 people, which makes for very impressive battles with friends and foes.
The story of Il-2 Cliffs of Dover is a long and complicated one. When Ubisoft and 1C Game Studios dropped support for the game, a merry band of volunteers decided to create a free mod in order to fix the many issues Cliffs of Dover had back in the years 2011 to 2013. They became known as Team Fusion, and they keep modding CloD to this day and are slowly expanding the game to a whole new level. Sound mods, graphical fixes, performance improvement, flight model adjustment, new flyable aircraft, additional war theaters… these guys transformed this sim from the buggy-and-barely-playable-piece-of-junk mentioned in early reviews to what we have today. The difference between pre-mod and after-mod is mindblowing and it is the only way to play this game, trust me.
The strength of the game is that it is a happy medium between the complexity of a study sim like DCS and the accessibility of an arcade sim like War Thunder. You can jump into a cockpit and fly like you’re really there. You need to keep your engine temperatures (oil and water radiator) in check by maintaining proper RPM and manifold pressure settings (which are controlled by prop pitch and throttle controls) that should come with any cheap joystick you can buy on the market. Just like in real life, your aircraft will be prone to stall, spin and attempt to kill you if you do certain types of manoeuvers. You will learn how to takeoff and land by maintaining proper rotation and approach speeds. You will also learn how to navigate using either a magnetic compass or a gyro compass, just like they did in the 1940’s. You can also do high-altitude bombing with the real bombsight and autopilot controls if you like more advanced stuff. And if you think this stuff is too hard to learn, have no fear. There will ALWAYS be someone to explain these things to you if you ask for help. How do I know? Well, simply because I gave up on this game three times before Team Fusion finally modded the game and I asked for help on the ATAG forums (more on that later). These guys taught me everything I know and it is my pleasure to train new guys on a regular basis.
Cliffs of Dover wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for the efforts of Team Fusion, but I must also mention something else about CloD. There is a sense of fellowship in its online community that is unique and has no equal anywhere else. ATAG, also known as the Air Tactical Assault Group, is an online community where it all started. ATAG hosts the most popular online server and their forums are THE place to go if you want to learn how to play this game. There is a virtual Flight School where people request lessons with volunteer teachers. People can join Virtual Squadrons, discuss History, create multiplayer events, online campaigns, and have lots of fun on Teamspeak (which is a must if you want to fly online and coordinate with your fellow pilots). Whether you are a flight sim veteran or someone who has never even seen an aircraft, there is always place for you among the skies of Dover. If you like competition, you will find in multiplayer some of the finest virtual pilots with thousands of hours under their belt. If you want to learn how to fly from scratch, you will find someone to teach you the basics, from how to start your engine and get your butt off the ground to advanced techniques on how to shoot down enemy planes in flames. Guaranteed.
Overall, Cliffs of Dover is now living up to its promises and it is a real blast to fly. There is nothing more intense in the history of gaming than trying to shake that Messerschmitt off your six o’ clock. The next Team Fusion patch will include (for free) a new theater, new flyable planes (among them the mighty Wellington bomber) and all sorts of new goodies.
And If you don’t believe me, here are some videos of the game in action.
The Killer Angelshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNBEK49_isc
The Beginning of the Endhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6u4JxgE2S4
W for Wimpy – The Vickers Wellingtonhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMqw4b6HJ3Y
No. 71 Squadron Chronicleshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Adj4kcbgTkw
Band of Blennieshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fHIsTyu5Bk