I have been playing Strike Fighters 2 for the best part of a decade now and, if I can be completely honest, there are only a couple of reasons that keep me coming back to it. It is not the prettiest game nor is it one that has received any significant update in many years; but, at the moment it has a key feature that no other flight simulator has: its Custom Campaigns.
They might not be the most technically impressive, or the most dynamic, but they are extremely unique. The only way I would have to explain its uniqueness would be by asking you this question: "Did you ever want to defend a fictional kingdom by participating in the largest air war in history as a mercenary?" If you answered with a yes, then you would love these scenarios. The part that I like the most about them, even more than flying, is the fact that my actions do have consequences. Whether I accomplish my missions or not, the frontline will be affected. A successful mission means that you side will gain territory, be it a city or a runway, and failing it means your enemy will gain it. There also also other missions that are run by AI that happen at the same time as yours which means that they can win or fail too.
A ramification of the way that missions are tracked is that the game tracks the combat statistics of every pilot, including the AI. After getting more than 5 aerial victories, any pilot will be considered an ace. You will see both allied and enemy aces in your tactical map as named units. What happens to them during combat matters, too. If they get shot down and die, they are gone for good; but, if they manage to eject, they will return!
On the other hand, these campaigns are the only way to play campaigns with modded aircraft. Mods are an integral part of Strike Fighters, so being able to play campaigns with them is great. I usually just fly them as a mercenary, since it makes sense for many of the aircraft that I modded. Not like there would be any other way you could justify a Mirage F1 flying for the Israelis during the Yom Kippur conflict. I wished more people actually knew about this possibility.
The Custom Campaign DLC is one that is very much inaccessible. You need to install in a VERY specific order, or it could break. Aside from the plethora of issues you could have during installation, the biggest problem this DLC has it that it has mostly been forgotten by the community. This mode has brought me a lot of enjoyment while playing SF2, and I would like to bring a bit of attention to it. If you have SF2, make sure you try it out.
About the writer:
Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000's leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities but only started being active around the mid 2010's. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as the co-founder and writer ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034