• Santiago Cuberos

Review: IL-2 Desert Wings-TOBRUK by Team Fusion Simulations

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

After a very long time in development, Team Fusion Simulations has finally released a new expansion for IL-2 Cliffs of Dover-BLITZ on August 6th, 2020. This comes in the form of IL-2 Desert Wings-TOBRUK, a very huge expansion that will mainly take you to the skies of Africa to participate on historical battles for, or against the Afrika Korps.

As usual, with my reviews I will separate this into several categories so that you, the reader, can formulate your own judgement as to whether this expansion is for you:

  • Introduction

  • Scenery and Aircraft variety

  • External and internal 3D models

  • Visual and sound effects

  • Flight and damage modelling

  • Single player content

  • Bugs, issues and the promising future

  • Is this expansion for you?

DISCLAIMER: I was given a review copy of this expansion by Team Fusion Simulations themselves, which was very kind of them. Even then, they gave us complete creative freedom over this review and the opinions that will be written are my own.

INTRODUCTION


If any game deserves to have its development story told, it's this one. It is a story of a game that was launched in a sorry state to later be fixed by a dedicated community of modders, who eventually became the sole keepers of its code and kept the project alive. The official developers moved on, allocating their full resources to their newest game, IL-2 Great Battles.

Launching in a broken state in 2011, Cliffs of Dover was naturally met with mediocre reviews. The sim was absolutely riddled with bugs, many of which made the experience quite the hassle for customers. That's where Team Fusion comes into the scene. As a group of modders, they dedicated themselves to keeping CLoD alive while also maintaining a community of fans of the game entertained with fixes and patches. This all changed when 1C Game Studios announced that Team Fusion, now known as Team Fusion Simulations, would take over development of CLoD while 1C focused themselves on the development and maintenance of the IL-2 Great Battles series.


This left two active series on the IL-2 franchise: IL-2 CLoD and IL-2 Great Battles, both are independent from each other and add-ons are not compatible between them as they both use different engines, CLoD's being the older one of the two. Please keep this in mind as it will be important later on. It is truly inspiring to see how a group of passionate individuals, against all expectations, became something much larger and I congratulate them for it. They now have managed to release Desert Wings after its development started in late 2016 with an initial release date of 2017 that got delayed little by little until it finally released a couple of weeks ago to very good reception.

SCENERY AND AIRCRAFT VARIETY

Set in the desert of North Africa, this expansion brings to life a somewhat overlooked side of WW2. From Tomahawks and Messerschmitts duking it out in the skies over Egypt to Heinkels

intercepting allied convoys on the Mediterranean Sea, it truly lets you experience this side of the war in an unprecedented way. The map is pretty decently sized with 385 kilometers square of play area for you to fly over, which is divided somewhat 60/40 between ground and sea with most of the ground areas being filled with endless desert. Coastal regions are pretty attractive with cliffs and beaches and the few cities that there are have enough detail to make them pop when you see them. Although, that being said, do not expect this to have the graphical quality of its younger brother: IL-2 Great Battles. The color pallet seems to be a bit weird which makes the sand sometimes look a bit too bright but that is not the norm. It is noticeable that the devs are pushing this game engine to its limits, at least when it comes to graphical fidelity. But if there is one thing that this expansion does better than its successor is that it provides an impressive amount of aircraft to fly with several new flyable aircraft and a lot of new variants to the already available aircraft from CLoD. There are three of these that caught my attention:

DEWOITINE D.520

Elle est magnifique, n’est-ce pas ?

This little bird won my heart the moment I set my eyes on her. From the way that it looks to the way she flies, this has got to be one of the most impressive ones included in Desert Wings. It is available in both standard configuration, and its tropical variant. While it does not boast the heaviest firepower around, it can still defend itself quite well while fighting early BF-109 variants. Additionally, just like the aircraft that I will highlight next, this is the only modern game to include this beautiful machine in a flyable state.


GRUMMAN MARTLET MK.III

Powerful, chunky and with a lot of charm. That's the best way to describe this version of the Wildcat under RAF colors. While it isn't the best dogfighter in the allied roster, it does have very good survivability when compared to some of the Nazi aircraft. Also, as far as I am aware of, this is the only modern simulator to include this bird in a flyable form which could not make me happier.


VICKERS WELLINGTON

If you want to go big, you have this. Amazing to fly and easy to operate, this heavy bomber will either be a pleasure to use or a pleasure to die on. Available in both conventional and torpedo capable versions, it brings a completely different type of aircraft to the game.


There are a lot more aircraft than these three, including a couple that I wasn't expecting such as the F