PC gamers with a passion for history along with viscerally charged dogfights are in for a treat come this fall.IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is a hardcore, combat flight simulator game that debuts in September.We checked IL-2 Sturmovik along with another 1C Game Studios release, Ilya Muromets, last week, and came away with itchy trigger fingers.

The goal for IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is to immerse gamers into the world of Stalingrad as the city was gradually destroyed by Germany's constant bombardments.

During the playthrough, 1C Games developer stressed that IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is not a mindless, flight simulation time killer. This is also a title that's swimming in history, and players will follow the historic encounter by partaking in five successive chapters that detail the tragic battle. Videos detailing the events will be employed after each chapter is completed. "What we're trying to do is immerse people in the the situation by giving them the story of Stalingrad in an accessible way," said 1C Games public relations and marketing head Anatoly Subbotin.

1C Game Studios

If you love minute detail with your missions, this title features an ambitious rendering of Stalingrad, covering 40,000 square miles. According to 1C Games developer Albert Zhiltcov, some of Stalingrad's accurate recreation comes at the hands of German aerial photos taken during World War II, and with Russia's recent declassification of select archives, pinpoint period detail was a tangible goal. The visually impressive environment was shown during our walkthrough of IL-2 Sturmovik, and while it was great to see an up close and personal view of Stalingrad, I would have loved to have seen an actual mission take place within the city.

Since this is a sandbox environment, players can either make their plane ride a difficult one or a casual experience. For example, if you choose to fly your craft under normal settings, the AI will help guide your path, and all you’ll need to do is steer the plane, have a sense of direction, and fire away. Players in need of a bigger challenge can switch to a manual mode where they will have more control of their plane’s maneuverability. The length of your campaigns can also be determined by your settings - if you’re a hardcore gamer with a ton of time on your hands, you can fly a mission that will last over an hour. More casual players can choose a shorter mission that will only take half that time.

1C Game Studios

I'm still finding my own wings with IL-2: Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad and have simply entered in a healthy share of duel in the sky missions. Finding my enemy and shooting him down is still a skill I’m working on, and within minutes I’ve either been shot down or have crashed into a snow filled landscape. My joystick responds well to IL-2, and the top notch sound design and graphics are absolute things of beauty. Since I’m not a flight sim expert, learning and perfecting IL-2’s advanced level physics will require much more time behind the cockpit, but I see the appeal of playing with a flight stick. IL-2 isn't a pick-up and play first-person shooter, the true judgment will come hours into gameplay, as players will fight and fly their way through every corner of Stalingrad. But as for now, IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is flying on a ton of promise.

Ilya Muromets may not have the ambitious breadth of IL-2 Stumorovik: Battle of Stalingrad, but it carries an intriguing premise of its own. A World War I combat sim that was developed with the blessing and aid of the Russian historical Society, Ilya Muromets spotlights the humongous and iconic four-engine bomber that served as an anchor for the Imperial Russian Air Force. "In essence, it is the prototype for all large engine, strategic bombers that came in later conflicts like World War II," said Jason Williams, CEO of 777 Studios, which partnered up with 1C Game Studios in developing Ilya Muromets.

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Ilya Muromets is much more accessible for newcomers, as players can fly through the skies with the use of their mouse and keyboard. Familiarity is also an asset for the title, as it was created under Rise of Flight's engine. "[By] being built on the Rise of Flight technology, it allows us to fast track these projects and still maintain a high quality of precision," added Williams.

1C Game Studios/777 Studios

Ilya Muromets will contain a quick mission builder that allows players to set up combat scenarios in mere minutes, and single campaigns will be modeled after actual missions flown by the bomber. Although we were given a hands-off demonstration and were restricted to watching gameplay footage, Ilya Muromets still looked impressive during the developer interviews, as it possesses the same attention to detail as IL-2.

Ilya Muromets will contain a quick mission builder that allows players to set up combat scenarios in mere minutes, and single campaigns will be modeled after actual missions flown by the bomber. Although we were given a hands-off demonstration and were restricted to watching gameplay footage, Ilya Muromets still looked impressive during the developer interviews, as it possesses the same attention to detail as IL-2.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad is currently available on Early Access now, and is slated for a September release.

Ilya Muromets is planned to arrive on Early Access in August, and is slated for full release later this year.