Publisher: Mad Catz / Saitek
Being an avid member of the FS community for perhaps more years than I care to remember. I recall being constantly amazed at the myriad of "extras" we could purchase for enhancing the flight sim experience, and often muttering to myself, "what next?"
We, the flight sim community have taken to FSX for our own wants and desires, IFR, VFR, Live ATC communication via Squawkbox, (free downloadable program allowing live accurate ATC interactive communication), or just firing up FSX, and having a "play" around. Do you know whatever your fancy, good on you!
Personally, I enjoy IFR flights into Europe from the UK, and UK VFR, with accurate navigation, with Squawkbox, "live" ATC which is excellent and truly enhances the experience for me, this adds a "real" dimension to my flights.
I have however, whilst flying some of my military aircraft from the "Nigel Martin Hangar" wondered what it would be like to have a career in the military as a pilot, and be fully immersed in the training, combat and fly some awesome hardware.
I have to admit, I have tried some previous military FSX add-ons, and stand-alone products but very quickly have been removed... Why? They either resembled arcade type games play, or the flight dynamics were way off. I do not want to sound perfectionist, well actually yes, I want perfection, why not, we pay for it.
Right, onto Combat Pilot, enough rambling... I was privileged to be contacted by ThunderHawk Studios, the developers of Combat Pilot, to play a part in the beta testing process (albeit a very small part!). I jumped at the chance, not knowing a great deal about the product, but certainly it fired up my interest.
Talking to the ThunderHawk Studios CEO, who incidentally was a US Marine Officer, fully appreciate, and have empathy with his, and his team's drive, enthusiasm and quest, in developing a military aviation program to be used utilising the FSX engine.
I really must mention the production team, of which I have spoken to most of them, share the passion, and dedication, which has resulted in Combat Pilot being presented in incredible and accurate detail, ground-up at every level. Sounds like one excellent recipe.
It is not therefore, any surprise that this program has taken six years in the planning and developing, and let me tell you it shows from the initial game play I have been experienced.
The word "revolutionary" has been mooted, and do you know, I agree, it is... Why? Well I guess if you use X-Box, etc., it is common that a monthly subscription is paid to enter the game with multiple users, and engage in interactive game play but it's new to flightsimmers.
With the demise of the use of multiplayer option in FSX, due to GameSpy withdrawing that facility, Combat Pilot becomes somewhat of a trail blazer.
Combat Pilot has an up-front cost, ($49.99) for the download, (first 30 days live access free) which will include key US bases, rendered in the most incredible detail, plus aircraft.
You will then pay a small retainer monthly payment, which will enable you to immerse yourself in the combat platform. This is where additional value kicks in, there are some awesome additions being planned to be introduced. From the outset, you will have weapons available, but very quickly after that a myriad of other facilities, locations, and theatres of war hardware will follow.
As the updates and additions are introduced, it will be like a new add-on which ordinarily you would have to pay for, but with the small monthly fee, all the additions will just be automatically downloaded when you start the game. I have witnessed several updates, and they are seamless.