Eagle Dynamics recently allowed me to preview their newest modules for DCS world, the beta versions of DCS: UH-1H Huey and DCS: Mi-8 Hip, so here are my thoughts!
Helicopters are not my forte, and they never will be. They don’t make life easy for you, and I’m pretty sure they will immediately try to kill you as soon as you take your mind off of the task at hand. However, as a complete “noob” to realistic helicopter simulation, I decided to dive right into the deep end, with the most realistic of them all.
These simulations are realistic, incredibly realistic; to the point that you would have to be qualified on type to notice any mistakes. Ironically, the closest I can to flying a Huey or Hip is a similar feeling of a numb posterior after a particularly long flight. With all the basics of helicopter flight mastered, taking either for a spin is a pleasure.
She’s still a joy to fly even with my Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS X (if somebody were to get me the Thrustmaster Warthog, I’d be forever grateful). As with any title from Eagle Dynamics, BETA or not, there are beautiful flight mechanics. You only have to look at the applause the plethora of other titles by them have received to see how well each and every detail is modelled. From that single point, great things are expected from Eagle Dynamics. Fortunately, they don’t disappoint.
Part of the allure with this simulation, for me anyway, was that it was so in depth, so dependent on skill and procedure, forcing you to think like the brave pilots that have used the Huey and Hip in combat. You have to keep your eye on the sink rate, engine RPM, rotor RPM, while looking where you’re going and evading fire. It’s not a forgiving simulator by any means; it only takes a second of concentration lapse to over speed the rotor.
That’s not to say that this game won’t cater for the newer players, there is an option to turn on ‘game’ flight mode; eliminating some of the steep learning curve and letting you fly around care free, making it a whole lot easier to line up a strafing run. While I’m not a fan of this mode, I can guarantee that your average Ace Combat or HAWX jockey will be able to have a lot of fun with it.
While the Huey and Hip are separate modules, there are a lot of similarities between the two. Even to a relatively inexperienced pilot like myself, it’s easier to tell the difference between the two airframes. The Hip is a lot more sluggish, for example. Differences aside, however, these both helicopters can perform a similar role of Anything from Close Air support to Casualty evacuation. Both of which you will be experience in either helicopter!
Unfortunately, there are a couple of things that set the simulator back; namely the environment and opposition available (Especially for the Huey). The Huey and Hip are basically a really big add-on to DCS World, which is set in Georgia. While it might be nice to have Vietnam for the Huey, it’s not essential. The Hip can easily get away in this setting though. Not very authentic for the history geeks, however an exciting and challenging campaign does help you forget the geological misfortune and help you focus on the flight and combat mechanics which really make the game.
Overall, it’s hard to remember that this is still only the beta stage for Eagle Dynamics’ UH-1 Huey and Mi-8 Hip. Subtle improvements are being added and bugs ironed out (not that I’ve seen any), my only wish is for the developers is to include some form of variation to the setting. That, I think, would make this game a “must have” item for people right around the world.