DCS World - A flight sim that's heavy on the flying and even heavier on what the Microsoft Flight Simulator series was missing: combat.
Ever wondered what it's like to pull back on the stick of a medium-light aircraft and ascend toward the heavens with the clouds far, far below you? Ok, so this scenario doesn't apply to bona-fide pilots of course but it does still stand as a legitimate dream-bubble scenario for many would-be air aficionados. Wondering doesn't have to be the closest you get any longer however: DCS World is probably the closest thing to actually flying as you can possibly get without needing a license or endangering the lives of real-life passengers with your lack of actual flying skills. As if this wasn't enough, it's a combat-heavy simulator as well . I'll just let that sink in for a second.
More Than Just Combat
The basic, free-to-play DCS World game is modelled around simulating every single tiny, miniscule, even microscopic detail of flying the SU-25T attack jet in a multitude of combat scenarios, and my oh my does it deliver on all counts of the charges laid against it (mainly the wanton destruction of enemy aircraft in a remarkably strategic and highly detailed manner). To talk about "blowing things up" or simply "shooting up the enemy" in this way really is too unsophisticated of a description for a game that possesses such an incredible level of finesse and attention to detail ,however.
To get anywhere near the level of combat detail that is standard in the DCS World in the Flight Simulator X sphere you'd have to look at games like Combat Pilot which are designed within the Flight Simulator framework. DCS World should be viewed as sort of a central hub, a framework within which you can experience a vast array of aircraft that form part of the DCS World additional modules. The initial DCS World download (consisting of 6 downloads totalling around 10GB of flight-simulating heft on your hard drive) contains the basic experience, although basic is probably the wrong word to use here. Continue Reading
Release Date: 18th March 2013
Available on: Windows, PC Download
Play the Game
In fact, there's nothing "basic" about learning to fly in the DCS World world. You're provided with an Su-25T aircraft to experience in this free-to-play starter game, but just because you're limited to one aircraft doesn't mean the rest of the experience is truncated. The gameplay is comparable to Microprose's Falcon 4.0, though albeit a significantly better-looking version that's more appropriate for its time.
In terms of gameplay, it's a classic flight sim through and through: you've got a beginner mode that introduces you slowly to the gameplay but the only way to truly enjoy the experience is to learn the intricacies of flying a plane (which just so happen to correspond loyally with the very same intricacies involved in actual aerial combat), from take-off to landing and every kind of combat scenario you can imagine in between.
Minimum Requirements: Patience and Decent Hardware
Though the graphics are lagging a little behind by this late stage of 2014 (DCS world is a little over 5 years old now), the game still looks brilliant. The rich textures and high fidelity to real-life flight-based combat do make themselves known when it comes to your hardware however. Lower-end systems will struggle with keeping the game at a playable framerate, so it is recommended strongly that you only download this game and its subsequent modules if you know that your computer can handle it. A mid-range system with a decent processor (i5, 2.6gHz and above with around 8 GB RAM should suffice) is definitely required here.
All About the Modules
To truly appreciate the depth of the full DCS World experience you're going to have to dig deeper than the initial DCS World download. Though the initial Su-25T aircraft offers a nice taster of the kind of detail you'll experience with DCS World, that is all it is: a taster. One short glance at the DCS World Modules page and you'll see that there is a staggering 18 different modules to download (purchased separately of course). Owning all 18 will be a bit overkill for some (even in terms of sheer physical memory - these files are huge), but exploring a few additional modules is a must for serious flight sim fans.
Perhaps the most highly recommended module to own is the A-10 because in addition to allowing you to experience a different (and superior) aircraft to the free-to-play DCS World you also get to design your own flight scenarios as well as experience features unique to this aircraft.
Physics + Graphics x Aircraft = DCS World
If you're new to flight sims then you can just as easily pick up DCS World and enjoy the free starter aircraft as much as an experienced player. You've got a variety of modes such as beginner and arcade mode, each allowing you to enter into combat at different levels of skill, knowledge, and experience. The graphics are still looking fantastic even 5 years after the game's release, and as for the physics, well - the physics really tie the whole experience together and make it that much more superior to Flight Simulator X.
Many will come to DCS World for the graphics and the physics but they will find themselves staying for the stunning array of aircraft modules that they will have available to them. Aerial combat is an exciting concept no matter the execution, but DCS World's implementation within its physics-laden world is second to none, though you really have to splash out more of the modules to truly appreciate just how massive the DCS World arena truly is.
Play the Game
DCS World is developed by Eagle Dynamics .