• Review: DCS World

    Review: DCS World v1.2.5

    Thrustmaster Warthog A-10-C Joystick

    By Nigel Martin

    I have to admit, there is nothing I like more than to set the FMC in my trusty 737-800 and fly off to some exotic clime, OK albeit a virtual one. Oh yes, and the occasional VFR flight. Like you, I am sure you have a very well stocked aircraft hangar, with some serious hardware to 'fly'. Sometimes the choice is way too much. But, I have to admit to a real passion for military hardware.

    The hardware I have currently available spans from the 1940's to the present day, presented in the usual superb detail. Not being able to fly the 'real-life' hardware (more is the pity), my collection offers me a 'flavor' of military flying, however, there is one thing lacking...

       

    The ability to 'kick-butt' a tad crude perhaps, but oh boy, I have often wished for the odd missile, cannons or bomb to be 'hot' but alas, this feature in the FSX platform is not available. Actually, not strictly true, as the Combat Pilot project is still active, which remains a noteworthy addition to the FSX world.

    When reviewing these products, i.e. DCS and Thrustmaster Warthog A-10-C joystick and the Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS) unit, I was going to amalgamate the two products in the one review, but, upon investigation, that would be a gross injustice to both, so, I will separate the two, and justly so.

    Why two products in one review? Simple, the DCS World offers a dedicated combat 'world' with an amazing environment, and Thrustmaster have developed the Joystick/HOTAS Throttle units being inspired directly from the real world from the US Air Force and Air National Guard A-10-C (commonly known as the Warthog). The units being joystick, which I may add has been designed to work perfectly with the paid-for add-on A-10-C aircraft in DCS.

    I must add, the units work perfectly within FSX and other environments too. Within FSX, I was able to reallocate some options to the array of switches, hat switches, etc. which I may add worked flawlessly.

    Both the Thrustmaster units and DCS are incredible, in their own sectors, i.e., hardware and simulation. What is particularly noteworthy, the Thrustmaster HOTAS units work perfectly, having 'out of the box plug and play' (via ample length cables with USB connections) compatibility with the A-10-C Warthog offered in DCS. Not only does it just work, when you first plug in the units, the inputs once selected work, left right, up down, and all the various switches, rocker, hat, buttons etc, correspond exactly to the function when selected from the joystick, and throttle unit in the A-10-C cockpit...how cool is that!

           

    DCS World

    So what is DCS World? Let's give it its full name, Digital Combat Simulator. This platform brings together The Fighter Collection and Eagle Dynamic's titles. I mention platform because that is exactly what it is. From installation (five files, 8.87 GB) it does not provide a 'full game experience', but provides a 'hub' for using and proactively managing other module options.

    Actually, on reflection, with the free Su-25T provided it has training missions and campaigns, so, in this example, DCS World does in fact provide a full game.

    An example of this, Mission Editor, you have the ability to build scenarios add aircraft payloads, etc. The list is vast; this in fact is at the heart of DCS.

    As a 'new-comer' to DCS, I found the choices a tad intimidating, and a little complex to get a grasp. Like all new programs, it takes practice, time and patience, and of course driven by our insatiable appetite to 'fly' in this great new combat environment called DCS. This is not a problem, the quest continues, and I may add I am really enjoying the challenge.

    One thing is very clear, there really is the option, and flexibility to build some incredible missions, and campaigns as well as fly predetermined supplied missions, and campaigns.

    You can also access some supplied training missions, and formalisation flights, all being excellent. Some aircraft like the A-10-C, P-51-D and UH-1H have fully interactive training missions.

    A quick point here, I was somewhat surprised when selecting a familiarisation flight in my newly acquired A-10-C, I was treated to an 'instructor' giving verbal explanation of the aircraft and actions to follow, on the ground, and in flight.

           

    I must say, I found this an excellent feature. When in the cockpit, he covered a 'tour' of the office, and with some very effective highlighting (corresponding with the verbal explanation) allowing the selection of the correct options for you, the pilot to activate various switches accurately, and to start the mighty engines, or activate the NAV, COMS or weapon systems. An excellent addition and the audible quality is outstanding.

    Perhaps it would be unkind to call it a 'blank-canvas' but I guess a 'hub' is better. From the default, you do get some very impressive scenery, superb cloud and water detail, and it has to said, the ground detail is very convincing, with lots of AI object detail, further adding to the 'realistic' flight and combat experience.


    5 Comments
    1. Paxx's Avatar
      Paxx -
      Excellent review and spot on. While the DCS World stuff is relatively new, the DCS A10-C Warthog has been out for awhile now and merges quite well with DCS World. As mentioned in the review the A10-C Hog is very detailed and complete. A HOTAS type joystick/throttle combo (and pedals) is almost mandatory in my opinion if you want to get the full effect.

      Realism and accuracy is right up there with the old 1998 Falcon 4.0 from MicroProse and the newer Lead Pursuit Falcon 4.0:Allied Force. Get out the manual, you'll be reading it!
    1. Joob's Avatar
      Joob -
      Under the current patch 1.2.6 do not expect reliable Multiplayer, Micro Stutter free graphics, Air to Air Refuelling (SP and MP is broken), accurate ILS representation, weapon damage models & effects, air to air missile behaviour, intelligent AI etc etc etc. Eagle Dynamics are more concerned with getting new addon modules out the door than fixing the main product.

      Whilst I hate to say this... I REALLY hate to say this... But BMS Falcon is a lot more together at the moment.

      Paxx I respect your comments but at the moment I heartily disagree, DCS world is lagging behind BMS in accuracy and realism in many, many ways. Damn it hurts to stand good comments for BMS. O.o
    1. Paxx's Avatar
      Paxx -
      Runs great on my system. I LAN a diff way atm for mp. Sure it isn't "done" yet but what is anymore? I already had the hog so DCSW is a freebie for me. Truth is you are right also, but its kind of a new vs mature software. I also desire more ppl to blow out of the sky. You caught me.
    1. Legin3020's Avatar
      Legin3020 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Paxx View Post
      Excellent review and spot on. While the DCS World stuff is relatively new, the DCS A10-C Warthog has been out for awhile now and merges quite well with DCS World. As mentioned in the review the A10-C Hog is very detailed and complete. A HOTAS type joystick/throttle combo (and pedals) is almost mandatory in my opinion if you want to get the full effect.

      Realism and accuracy is right up there with the old 1998 Falcon 4.0 from MicroProse and the newer Lead Pursuit Falcon 4.0:Allied Force. Get out the manual, you'll be reading it!

      Hi,

      Many thanks for the kind words re the review, it is certainly a complex and extensive platform. Re the THRUSTMASTER HOTAS, and foot pedals... Totally agree, a must gave...
    1. Legin3020's Avatar
      Legin3020 -
      Or even HAVE!

      Nigel.
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