If you have never heard of WOFF before now then don’t worry as neither had I up until a matter of days ago.
Well, I had heard mutterings of “Wings does this” and “Wings does that” on forums here and there but I had never really known what they were referencing.
As this title seems to fly under the radar, probably due to a lack of radar technology during WW1, I will do my best to give my honest first impressions after having flown, quite obsessively, for a few days.
Hopefully it will prove useful in helping you decide whether the sim is for you based on it’s strengths and weaknesses.
” What it lacks in some visual aspects melts into the background as you grow to love your aircraft, your character and your squad“
Having heard about WOFF over on Requiem’s IL-2 Discord I immediately checked out their website. My immediate impressions were to tread carefully, the website seemed a little dated though after scrolling down the home page for a brief moment I read some of the reviews;
“WOFF brings the 1914-18 air war to life more successfully than any of its peers.”– PC GAMER
“dynamic, utterly compelling, and incredibly immersive”
“..one of the greatest flight simulations ever made”
..Pausing the simulator mid-flight is, at times, like looking at an oil painting…simply breathtaking!”– Flightsim.com
So, it seemed, there is clearly more to this than just a slightly tired looking (when compared to DCS World or MSFS) remake of MS Combat Flight Sim 3.
So I thought “Sod it!” and dropped a cool £50 including tax and took the plunge.
Fast forward a few days and I am so thrilled at my purchase that I just had to write about it.
The Good Stuff
- The Aircraft – Of which there are around 80 PLAYER FLYABLE types spanning German, French, British and American nations. They are all very diligently put together and a joy to fly. If you are coming from other sims then the cockpit experience is going to be slightly underwhelming graphically but sit tight and you will find out why that doesn’t even matter!
- The History Lessons – This sim packs a ton of facts and information about WW1 and the air war of that period.
- The Photographs and Videos – Brief loading screens display beautifully captivating colorized photographs from the Great War and the occasional video plays, which seem to be relevant to your position in your campaign.
- The Dynamic Campaign – Oh, did I say campaign, yes WOFF BHAH 2 has an outstanding dynamic campaign engine which is very configurable to your needs. You can opt to fly Historic mission types which can see you flying several Recon missions where absolutely NOTHING happens except flying and weather. Or, if you want a bit more variety you can switch this off and the engine will generate some more exciting mission types to keep you interested. Personally, as I am new to the Sim and want to see what it is made of, I am currently flying in 1917 with Historic types off and I have had some serious action so far.
- The A.I – Wow! Dogfights have never felt tighter or more claustrophobic. The AI pilots, governed by several factors like experience, moral and even vicinity to their home base will fight you and your squad vigorously and relentlessly. I recently had to bug out after sustaining damage and as I approached the nearest airfield for an emergency landing I found several squad mates were doing the same. The AI really acts like a person would and looks out for it’s squad mates but, more importantly, it’s own “life” too.
- The Weather – Yes, the weather is very well simulated, or at least it’s effects on the aircraft. The visuals are limited but they get the job done. Rain is torrential when it has to be, “Cloud fog” can be enabled to simulate the effect of being inside a cloud with limited visibility. You also have goggle dirt, rain and most times, blood splatter to contend with. You even have an option for historical weather so you could easily re-enact famous encounters quite accurately.
- The Scenery – Some of the most convincing scenery in a sim to be quite honest. I mean, down low the buildings and trees etc. are very basic looking but once you are up in the Sky, where most of your time will be spent, looking down over Northern France is really quite something.
- The damage system – Very well made, you have to be careful not to overspeed or stress your aircraft in a turn fight and
ifwhen you take some lead you will need to employ your best piloting skills to keep yourself from tumbling from the Sky like a wet rag.
- The sounds – The sounds are excellent. From engines to wind to the creaking of your aircraft’s structure as you pull ever increasing amount of G-force through the turns. Watch out for the snapping and cracking sounds as your flight controls stop responding properly!
- The Ambiance – Pronounced “Om-be-awnse” in your best Upper Class English accent. Damn this sim has the immersion factor. What it lacks in some visual aspects melts into the background as you grow to love your aircraft, your character and your squad. Losing squad mates is a painful blow and likewise taking down an enemy craft is a massive fist pump moment.
- No Multiplayer – Some may see this as a positive as it has allowed the developers to concentrate solely on developing an intuitive AI to fight with and against.
The Not-So-Good Stuff
- The UI – If you are familiar with Falcon BMS then this will be less of an issue for you but the UI is dated. It is low-res and clunky and at times seems to do whatever the heck it wants. But you don’t spend a massive amount of time here and the low-res aspect disappears when you launch into the sim engine to begin your flight.
- The Clouds – Yes, them clouds gotta go. Veterans of flight sim will be well accustomed to the old billboard style cloud textures which we all hoped would be a thing of the past since the advent of volumetric clouds but as this sim is DX9 based it seems like they are stuck with them for the time being. They can pop in and out occasionally though at other times they can be quite convincing and, as per the review above by flightsim.com, it can feel like flying through an oil painting at times. Not the worst billboard clouds ever, for sure!
- The controller setup – This is a controversial one as for some it will be a walk in the park to use the very capable keybind software supplied by Old Brown Dog to get you up and flying but my experience was a little traumatic. I fly with the Thrustmaster T16000 Hotas + rudder setup and had to contact tech support who supplied a profile to use with Thrustmaster’s TARGET software which enabled me to configure the rudder “slider” as a “Rz axis” to allow the keybind software to read the rudder pedals properly. Like I say, many of you will not encounter this as it is quite specific to this HOTAS and I think maybe the CH rudder pedals. There was an initial panic as I suspected I would be stuck without rudders in a sim which pretty much relies on rudders! Hat’s off to their tech support team though as they had me sorted the same day.
- No Multiplayer – Some may see this as a negative.
That’s honestly about all the bad stuff I can say about this sim and I think you will agree that the Good outweighs the Bad ten-fold.
If this period of aviation is of interest to you and you can substitute your desire for volumetric clouds and ray-tracing for Historical accuracy, fidelity and immersion then I strongly recommend you buy into this sim. Who knows, if OBD gather enough support they may even be able to bring about some of those things in the future.
If you prefer WW2 then maybe check out Wings Over The Reich, which is WOFF’s sister product and built on the same technology.
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And now for some screenshots, most of which I pinched from the forum until I can build up a decent collection