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Posted on Jul 31, 2016 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Wings Over Flanders Fields Expansion 3  Game Review

Wings Over Flanders Fields Expansion 3 Game Review

Rick Martin

By Rick Martin

Publisher: OBD Software Games Price $39.99

Passed Inspection: Completely immersive, control over difficulty levels, amazing graphics, realistic flight models and AI, more flyable aircrafts than any other WW 1 flight simulator

Failed Basic: No multiplayer

OBD Software continues to expand on its award winning World War I flight simulator Wings Over Flanders Fields with this 3rd expansion to their simulator.

For a complete review of the game and its first two expansions, see:

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/wings-over-flanders-fields-pc-game-review.htm

While many enjoy playing the graphically gorgeous but solitaire impaired Rise of Flight, Wings Over Flanders Fields (WoFF) gives the players a fully immersive world to play around with. Covering from 1915 to 1918, WoFF with this 3rd expansion now features 83 different aircrafts including trainers, scouts, two seaters and heavy bombers — Nieuports and Fokker Eindeckers to Albatroses, Be2cs, Se5as, Gothas, Zepplins and Spads Oh My!

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WoFF 3 is not just a flight simulator but a fully crafted dynamic World War I environment with role playing elements in that you can track your pilot’s progress or lack thereof.
While not wishing to simply reiterate what I have stated in the above cited review, this review will look at what this 3rd expansion adds to the WoFF experience.

The first thing the player will notice is the improved graphics architecture. While the graphics of the original WoFF were stunning, WoFF 3 dramatically improves on all manner of in-game graphics. Aircraft textures are now at a higher resolution. The unpainted wood on the side of the Albatros now looks even more beautiful and realistic! The fabric on aircrafts now has a more organic feel and the cockpits look even better.

When an aircraft gets hit, as will often happen, the damage is more realistic and detailed. When the pilot gets hit, as happens also, you may some of your own blood splattered around you! You hear the fabric tear, the wood splinter, the engine sputter and growl and even the wind sounds change as it blows through new holes in your damaged aircraft. It’s not for the faint hearted. In addition, hits on other aircrafts are rendered with more detail and you can even see when the pilots or observers get wounded or killed!

Also, balloons react more realistically when being shot at. And they are more deadly when your aircraft is too close to one when it goes up as the picture I’ve attached shows. My beautiful Spad VII was destroyed and my pilot killed when the balloon he was busting exploded before he could put enough distance between him and his target.

In addition, the weather models are greatly improved with more realistic looking and acting clouds, rain, thunder and snow storms, and beautiful dusk, dawn and night time conditions. During the early morning or in the evening, you can see lights from the towns and airfields unless they are under blackout conditions.

Mission generation has also been tweaked in that when you chose to start a mission in the air, after all the aircrafts have taken off, instead of on the airfield, the mission parameters don’t change as they used to in earlier versions of the simulator.

New aircrafts have been added to the virtual hanger and include the Fokker D.III biplane, the deHavilland D.H.4 two seater and the 150 HP Bentley engined Sopwith Camel.

The aircrafts have more paint jobs (skins) which accurately reflect all the squadrons that the player can either fly for or encounter – French, British, Canadian, Australian, American and German squadrons. In addition, specially painted aircrafts are also reflected in the game mechanics. Now WoFF features over 400 different skins on just the Albatros scouts alone! The aces fly aircrafts which are totally accurate for the time period so watch out for the Flying Circus! During one flight when I was flying for the British, I encountered two brightly painted Fokker Dr1 triplanes – from the paint jobs I could tell they were the Red Baron and his brother! Needless to say, I flew quickly away from that potential hot spot – unless I was very lucky, I knew how it would end for me.

Additionally, the wizard programmers at OBD Software have also made the game more novice friendly. Now players can set the difficulty level to novice and even to allow the player to never be shot down. This should please the casual fliers and it is also a great way to learn the controls of the various aircrafts without having to die and create a new pilot all the time.

New campaigns and squadrons have been added to the game. 2 seater American squadrons have been added. These squadrons primarily utilized that work horse of WW 1 two seaters, the D.H.4. It was the D.H.4 which my grandfather worked on at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio during the Great War.

As I stated in a previous review of the earlier releases of WoFF, this is a simulator which feels like a role playing game. While you can set up and play specific fights or re-create famous air battles, the guts of the simulator is creating a character and then flying with him until either he retires from combat, is forced to retire due to injuries, gets captured or gets killed. In the campaign mode, the game forces you to think like a real person flying a real aircraft. Do you press home your attack, even though you are bleeding from a head wound and your aircraft’s engine is leaking oil and making horrible noises or do you take the more practical rout and fly back to base while you still can? In order to get a confirmed kill do you break from your orders to escort a bomber and attack a two seater approaching your field?

In one game, I was trying so hard to shoot down a stubborn two seater which must have taken over 30 or 40 hits from my machine guns that when it crash landed in a field, I found myself strafing it and its crew on the ground out of complete frustration. I felt guilty afterwards but that’s war, right?

In order to immerse you in the world of 1914 to 1918, WoFF features newspapers from 1914 to 1918 which keep you updated on what’s happening in the larger campaigns. Additionally, when on the ground at your field, you can hear church bells ring, dogs barking and other atmospherics. Also, beautiful new musical scores have been added to the game by composer Matt Milne who composed music for the other WoFF releases as well as Rise of Flight.

I can’t speak highly enough about this 3rd expansion to Wings Over Flanders Fields; it’s a classic! This expansion adds so much more value to an already great piece of software. WOFF is the one computer game I keep going back to over and over again for over 6 years! Now, I have to stop writing this review and fly one more mission. I need one more kill to make my Se5a pilot an ace!

Armchair General Rating: 99 %

Solitaire Rating: 5 (from 0 to 5)

About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

Rick Shot07-31-16-16-55-53

shot down an ACE

The Red Baron has Rejoined our Squadron

horrible weather soaking me

horrible weather soaking me 2

Shot06-11-16-10-10-55

Shot06-18-16-09-30-51

Shot06-11-16-10-10-07

Mission 2

wingman shot this guy down

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5 Comments

  1. Everything about this Sim is absolutely right. But the Author did not said anything about the heavy technical Problems with the old CFS3 Engine. The Game stutters very bad in late War Campaigns, even with very low Graphic-Settings. I can not share all those enthusiastic Comments, as I am playing WOFF since it’s Release in 2013 and I was not able to get this Game running smooth and liquid since today. The Game itself is fantastic, but the Technical Background is simply horrible.

    • The work that OBD has done on the graphics overcome many of the limits of the CFS3 engine, and the appearance is so good that you wouldn’t sense the underlying engine at all. I have a career in August 1918 running on an i7 with an older GTX680 card, and I have experienced nothing of Mr McClane’s problems. I echo Rick Martin’s suggestion to check with OBD tech support, who have been unfailingly helpful.

    • The work that OBD has done on the graphics overcome many of the limits of the CFS3 engine, and the appearance is so good that you wouldn’t sense the underlying engine at all. I have a career in August 1918 running on an i7 with an older GTX680 card, and I have experienced nothing of Mr McClane’s problems. I echo Rick Martin’s suggestion to check with OBD tech support, who have been unfailingly helpful.

  2. I have not experienced any problems of that nature. I’m running a Windows 7 – 8 core box with a Sapphire Graphics Card. Maybe OBD support can help you out? Have you contacted them?

  3. Hi Rick

    Thanks for the awesome, detailed review. And ta for mentioning the music. WoFF remains the most enjoyable of the 328 commissions and projects I’ve had to date. Expressing an entire world war, and the sacrifice of millions into a few hours (3) of music, remains the most challenging and personally fulfilling project I have contributed to in my 11 years in the entertainment industry. More teams like OBD should be making these amazing in-depth games, and thanks to reviewers like you, the sacrifice of an entire generation, is put front and centre, and thrills a new generation more removed from those real-life experiences, than ever.
    Matt Milne.

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