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EAW [old review found]

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 4:17 am     Post subject: EAW [old review found] Reply with quote

A review I wrote some time ago for a defunct French AW site, Thought I could post those ol'things here.


CPU: P133(recommended : P200)
32 Mb RAM (recommended 64MB)
Videocard : SVGA minimal 2 Mb( recommended 3D accelerator card)
DX 6
Cd drive 4*
OS : Windows 95/98/ME/XPsp2
OS: NT/2K/XPsp1 depending on the hardware/drivers, eventualy patch needed.

The game installs flawless, runs good on W95/98/XPsp2. WNT/2K and WXPsp1 can give some trouble depending your hardware/software combination, there is a patch for those OS if needed. Shame that the publisher ( ATARI ) doesn't longer host this patch, but luckely many fansites of this game will serve you.
Those fansites ( must be several houndreds of them) also host the 1.2 update, highly advised, even if the 1.0 runs steadly, you d'better upgrade the game, certainly if you run it on a newer PC. At those fansites you can find everything you want, several extra campaigns, high resolution ground objects, buildings, military objects, extra Allies planes, Axis planes, Japanese planes, Russian planes, name it, there you find it. Also different artworks on the fuselages to match the several extra campaigns. The fansites are still very active, and are consistently updated. About the higher resolutions, the game installs in 640x480 resolution, but on newer pc's the game res can easely be crancked up to 1600x1200. Any pc from PIII/800 with a good videocard can handle the higher res without problems. On a minimal configuration you can speed things up by setting the ingame resolution as low as 320x240, but that's only advisable on a 14" monitor. 1600 x 1200 is simply gorgeous. My favorite resolution is 1600x1200 on my 19" CRT monitor, gives less distorsion and real nice graphics, works best with the 1.2 update.
The first four screenshots shows the difference between 320 x240, 640 x 480, 1280 x 960 and 1600 x 1200. All further screenshots are taken in 1600 x 1200 resolution and resized to 640 x 480.

When this game was released in 1998 it was a revelation, the first release (version 1.0) had about 20 flyable aircrafts spread over the RAF, The USAAF and the Luftwaffe. All planes were detailled and with their own cockpit, the planemodels varies depending the period you choose in the game mode. Also the different wings seems to be historically correct, even if that's only important for the purist flyers amongst us, I don't bother that much, as long their mistakes are not flagrant . As said the recherchers at Microprose seems to have done some digging in the archives, the planes, cockpits, colors and weaponry appears to be pretty correct. The game has different game modes, you can create as many pilots as you want, for RAF, USAAF or Luftwaffe.
Flight shool speeks for itself, it is a whole learning curve with all fly tactics you can make yours here.
Quick start puts you directly in the middle of the action and airborne, the game puts you back in the last flown mission.
Single missions , at your choice here. All choices are open via the parameters desk.
The career takes you along the history of the different theatres, it follows history, so don't expect when flying as an ace with the Germans you can win, you can't, neither can you as German pilot win the Battle of Brittain. You can as German pilot fly as ace of the aces, you will not push the Allies back into sea after D-Day. But you can have a good gaming experience flying those WWII German fighters. Flying on the RAF or USAAF side will give you english gauges and english spoken radio messages. Flying as a German pilot gives you German gauges and German spoken radio messages.

The game is situated as the name indicates in WWII, the European war theatre, it covers the Battle of Brittain 1940, European theatre 1943 or European theatre 1944. As the US forces weren't present in 1940 you can only sign in as USAAF pilot for the campaigns 1943/1944. So you can't fly a spitfire MKXIV in the Battle of Brittain, as they were only later avaible. The spitfire IA is avaible, but this model only had 8 x .303 machineguns, no 4 x .303 machineguns and 2 x 20 mm cannons as the later models. That also means that you will have to deal with the frustrations of the pilots in those days, getting a bomber down with only machineguns ask more time and also means that you will be exposed longer to enemy return fire. Nothing better than a good covering cannon salvo on bigger targets. Even if the effective range of the cannons is shorter, a fast flyby combined with a good aiming makes big holes using 2 x 20 mm cannons. You will only find one jet in this WWII flicht simulator, the Me262a, a twin jet who was in use by the Luftwaffe at the end of WWII, very fast, armed with 4x 30 mm cannons it was mainly meant to get the Allies bombers down, faster than all propeller planes it was devasting, but you will learn that they are slow accelerators, the lesser maneuvrable, vulnerable and an easy prey whilst take-off / landing. Getting at lower speed in a doghfight with the Allied fighters makes you as German pilot in a Me262 a lame duck trying to compete with eagles. You really need to be covered by classic fighters when you haven't build up your speed.

The game will take you everywhere where in the WWII covered period air battles has taken place. All kinds of defensive or offensive flying will be expected from you. Going from scrambles to a boring convoying bombers on their long journey. All ground targets will be your goal, VI and VIIinstallations, freighters, radar installations, airfields, factories, gun emplacements, halftracks, convoys, and whilst your a busy attacking those you will have to deal with the defenders. This game is huge, huge as the waves of bombers you will have to defend or attack, several times close to 250 planes, all doing their manoeuvre, flying to survive. The outcome will highly depend of your own behaviour, set asside and let do the assailants, your mission will fail. Be involved and fly for what you are worth, that's the only way to succeed.
The take-off and landings can be hard to learn, if you don't like or master them you can go on autopilot, the game takes care of it. But you will miss a great experience, take-off and landings can be tricky, but really fun to accomplish. A must is using the jump to action key, you don't want to fly houres to get on target.

The gameplay itself is excellent, the AI in version 1.0 is good, in version 1.2 crancked up to a really good level. Only beware of some really boring missions covering the bombers on the Allied side in career mode, all the other missions are a challenge played on a high difficulty level. If you set aces in the game parameters you will get aces against you. You can give radio commands to all your crew members, and contact the home base for instructions, there is a wide variation radio commands.

And the multiplay ? To play it over the internet you will need a steady and fast connection, as usual in those kind of games, LAN is unbeatable, and the gameplay is close to extremely good. Serial between two players is possible, but I won't advise it though, better set up a fast LAN. Further advantage of LAN : the game looks for the host, if your connection is valid, the connection is made, no manual intervention needed as it uses IPX protocol. On LAN up to eight players can join, and believe me, it's plenty to fly as a group, or divided on opposed sides. The difficulty and mission parameters are set up on the host, the host PC settings overrides the individual settings.

The manual is elaborated, covering all aspects of wartime flying. From the simple looping to the scissors escape. All aspects of attacking ground targets are explained, several bomb tactics are made comprehensible. A full detailled pilot's handbook. Also the technical sheets of all used fighters is present. The backcover is a quick reference manual on his own, all the important in flight keys are clearly put on it. This manual can serve as a example to all publishers. Clear and comprehensible, with some appealing historical backgrounds stories.

To end this review: EAW is probably one of the best WWII flight simulators I have played, and still are playing. Replayability thanks to the wide support this game has is endless. It has a great advantage towards moderner flight simulators : you don't need to learn some 200 inflight keys, if you manage to learn some 20 inflight keys, you can fully enjoy this game.

My quote for this game as die hard pc flyer can only be a A+, the game fully deserves it.

Publisher : Atari Interactive Inc.
Developer : Microprose Software Inc.
Platform : Windows
Released : 1998

P-38 Lightning game resolution 320 x 240

P-38 Lightning game resolution 640 x 480

P-38 Lightning game resolution 1280 x 960

P-38 Lightning game resolution 1600 x 1200

1944 - P51 in action

1944 - Hawker Tempest V on a FW 190's tail

1945 - Me262A jet attacking a wave B24's

1945 - Me262A and me gonna hit the dirt

1944 - Incoming flight FW190's

1944 - FW190 in flight

1940 - Spitfire Ia in action

1940 - Spitfire attacking wave HE 111H

1940 - Whoopsy, engine blown up

Single mission parameters

1945 - Bf110 patrol duty

1945 - Bf110 atacking wave B24 bombers

1945 - Bf110 and me caught in B24 crossfire
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