F-15C for DCS World focuses on ease of use without complicated cockpit interaction, significantly reducing the learning curve. As such, F-15C features keyboard and joystick cockpit commands with a focus on the most mission critical of cockpit systems.
Release Date: 30th April 2014
Available on: Windows, PC Download
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DCS World F-15C Review - A step beyond the free-to-play SU-25T and then some
DCS World of Fun
New to the flight simulator world? You'll probably benefit from at least consulting the flight manual of the standard SU-25T aircraft in DCS World first, if not downloading the free-to-play DCS World game in its entirety. DCS World goes beyond Microsoft's Flight Simulator by taking flight one step further and introducing almost every facet of aerial combat you can think of. You no longer have to be satisfied with simply take-off, tame flying, and landing: DCS World lets you experience some technically brilliant and realistic combat whilst being at the controls of a variety of aircraft. One such aircraft is the F-15C, an add-on module to DCS World that's so incredibly detailed that it warrants its own review.
Set the Scene
Just to briefly set the scene for those that don't yet own DCS World, this particular flight simulator is much like any other you've likely experienced before. The DCS World initial download is free and comes with the SU-25T aircraft for you to hone your flying skills on, but the beauty of DCS World is that it has almost 20 additional modules for you to download at a relatively low extra cost per module. Each of these modules contains a different aircraft as well as a variety of extras and add-ons that make it well worth the money and then some.
DCS World's unique physics engine, highly detailed flight controls, and range of aircraft make it a rather obvious choice for anyone wishing to get involved in a flight simulator that goes beyond just regular take-off, flight, and landing - DCS World (the initial download anyhow) is after all free of charge and offers some pretty entertaining and overwhelmingly (at first) detailed combat-based flight action. The F-15C module is under discussion here and it is a mere 144 megabyte download once you've got the 8 gigabyte DCS World download on your computer.
F-15C - Getting Familiar
Firstly, you're going to want to familiarise yourself in quite a bit of detail with the flight manual of the F-15C aircraft which is available on Steam. Though there is an in-game tutorial on the original DCS World (not for the F-15C standalone module unfortunately) to get you initiated, you'll soon come to realise that the level of detail and the number of variables involved with flying this particular aircraft (though this does apply to any of the aircraft in the DCS World series) requires a genuine understanding of each of the components of the aircraft.
This deep level of understanding/knowledge that is required lays in stark contrast to a general or rudimentary knowledge that you can get away with in more arcade-style games such as the fighter jet flight in Battlefield 3.
F-15C - The Aircraft
So, wouldn't you like to know what aircraft you're flying beyond its name? Well, the F-15C is an all-weather tactical fighter comprised of a twin-engine setup; the aircraft has formed a significant part of the U.S air force since 1976 and was manufactured by McDonnell Douglas, a company that has since become the world-famous Boeing that we all know of today.
The aircraft's layout is somewhat different to that of the one in the base DCS World module. The most obviously difference in appearance is the addition of several different screens in addition to the standard HUD module that you will see towards the top of your field of vision. As you can see this aircraft simply looks much nicer than the SU-25T aircraft in the base DCS World game. Of course the textures other visual nuances will vary from person to person depending on their graphics settings, but for many the F-15C will be a very welcome change from the base module, particularly if you have been playing said base module for a while and have decided to treat yourself to the F-15C module for a change.
If you're experienced with DCS World's base game then you will immediately notice in addition to the above cosmetic changes (on account of this being an entirely different aircraft of course) that controlling the F-15C feels much more realistic. You can't simply taxi around the runway area at high speed whilst turning sharply like you can in the SU-25T - the increased realism in the physics will make you pay by rolling the aircraft over and ending your flying career very quickly. This also applies with the airborne physics as well as when you're landing the plane. Don't go applying the landing brakes and hoping for the best because this module will once again punish you for it.
Flight simulators are notorious for having somewhat of a challenging learning curve, particularly for those that are accustomed to bare-bones flight games that can be found online in flash form. This is because most simulators - this includes DCS World - involve taking control of a seriously hefty collection of flight controls that are activated/manipulated by a large number of keyboard commands. Remember: this is a flight simulator, and not a relatively shallow arcade-game experience where all you have to do is step on the "gas" and fly in the right direction across some unchallenging territory (as is the case in the flying portions of games like Call of Duty or flash games like TU Unleashed.
While the F-15C module for DCS World is no cake walk when it comes to learning how to fly the aircraft, the guys at Digital Combat Simulator have strived to strike a balance between incredible detail and ease of learning. You can read all day about the relative simplicity of the module but in practise this simply means as little interaction with the cockpit as possible. You'll still have to remember a great deal of commands (take-off requires that you start both engines, close the cockpit, take off the wheel brakes, ensure that the throttle is controlled properly, and of course making sure that you've turned everything on in the first place).
For the more advanced flight simulation fanatic you've got the Advanced Flight Model (AFM) and also the Professional Flight Model (PFM). Both are significant steps up from playing the game in the standard (and heavily computer-assisted) flight mode. The AFM (seen in the SU-25 aircraft for example) makes for a rather realistic experience that involves more challenging flight dynamics and simply requires that you are more proficient with handling the increased strain on your flying skills. Players will notice the difference between the Standard Flight Model (SFM) and the AFM during procedures such as landing, which is much more challenging and requires much more skills than in the SFM.
The PFM - and this is a model that is included in the F-15C module - is another few steps up from even the AFM, involving even more dynamic physics calculations that translate to the player needing to actively utilise each of the flight systems and apparatus in the aircraft. You'll also need to pay more attention to things like the engine systems, fuel systems, the electrical systems, and the hydraulics. If you want the most realistic experience then the PFM will provide this, though be warned that you must be seriously experienced in the flight simulation world in order to thoroughly enjoy the realism and challenging gameplay that this model entails.
To ensure that the F-15C aircraft can be enjoyed to the fullest extent by players, this module possesses the usual heft of content that can be found in the base DCS World game. Players looking for fast-track their fun can choose to create a fast mission where you set some parameters and can indulge immediately in missions such as a cold start and takeoff as well as different combat operations like firing the various weapons such as air-to-air missiles and utilising the BVR (beyond visual range) combat systems. There are two pre-created missions available: Clean Sweep and No-Fly Zone. You can also activate the campaign for some more in-depth play.
You can enjoy multiplayer in the F-15C module as you would in the base game, though you'll need a swift internet connection and will need to at least meet the recommended system requirements if you're going to enjoy online play. The mission editor also allows you to create scenarios with your own parameters; it does into some serious detail so you'll not be short of fun provided you're willing to dedicate the time to creating your own missions.
It's pretty easy to conclude in a positive manner about the F-15C module of DCS World. After all, you've got an aircraft that's capable of Beyond Visual Range combat that can fire air-to-air missiles as well as discharge its guns at enemy aircraft - this makes the combat scenarios extremely entertaining. The AFM and PFM flight models allow for players of varying skill and experience and as for the aircraft itself, well, it's a pretty stunning experience to fly it. There are more features to pay attention to in the cockpit but the simpler flight mode allows you to only worry about the very essentials of flying and combat.
There is a drawback to the F-15C module however: training missions, or should I say lack thereof. In the SU-25T base module you are treated to a series of guided tutorials whereas the F-15C Module lacks even integrated videos (unless you're playing the Flaming Cliffs 3 F15C Eagle). This lack of guided tutorial makes learning the different flight procedures very difficult unless you're already very experienced. Aside from this, the F-15C is a seriously realistic and depth-filled experience.
Our Rating: 87/100
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DCS F15C is developed by Eagle Dynamics .