DCS world offers quite a few modules that really add variety to the game. The engine and flying dynamics are a sight to experience just by themselves. I didn't really know what I was jumping into when I bought this game. I've played Microsoft Flight Simulator x, X-Plane 10, Wings of Prey, and IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946 for a few years now. But all of a sudden had an "itch" for a modern military flight simulator with an up-to-date game engine. If you're in the same boat, or unsure if whether or not you want this game, then please keep reading.
Flight dynamics- Easily one of the coolest features in this game. Every aircraft has a different "feel" to it. It's still a bit of a shock to fly one particular aircraft for so long, and then swap to another. DCS offers view modifiers when flying this aircraft. The player can experience positive and negative G forces (in the game of course), while straining their body to turn in on a MIG for an air kill. But be careful, straining the aircraft too hard can cause aircraft issues from instrument failures, to having it's wings/rotors completely ripped off in a realistic fashion. I can't tell you how many times I've been "downed" for blacking out pulling hard G's.
Engine- What first caught me off guard starting this game was the engine limitations. At first I thought the map size covered a very small section of Georgia, then after learning how to pull up the map...I was in shock. It covers roughly 80% of Georgia, spots in Turkey and Armenia, and approximately 150NM into Russia...and yes, this is all one map! Not only is the map pretty large, but the graphics themselves are stunning. Not the "best graphics I've ever seen", but it's probably one of the best that you'll get for a combat flight sim.
AI- The complexity that goes into how the AI handle ground vehicles and aircraft are simply amazing. And you're not stuck on a single difficulty setting, You can tune EACH INDIVIDUAL aircraft/vehicle,infantry, or whatever to suit your abilities! The AI will react to whatever you do near or at them accordingly. You spin up your GAU and lob a few rounds near a tank, they'll get the hell out of there. You see enemy AIs flying over a friendly SAM, the SAM will prioritize air threats and act based off of threat level. They see a wingman go down, they'll probably buzz out for the day. Just one of the many things you'll encounter against AI.
Custom missions- I was so excited to see that I had the option to create my own missions/campaigns. The ability to make the combat environment more dynamic by the minute really adds immersion to the game. I can't say that I've found an online game so far that was playing a default mission from the game. I can't say that I wasn't excited to have the option to watch a bomber drop 16 Stand-off munitions against a single SAM unit.
Attention to detail- Usually when it comes to flight sims, there's one thing that lacks from anyones expectations, and that's the detailing. I'm defining attention to detail as a graphical representation of minor details within the engine. Details within the cockpit are phenomenal! The glass on the Instrument panels reflect the surroundings, the sun beaming into the cockpit reveal microscopic scratches on the outside of the cockpit as well as the metal panels surrounding the pilot. The heavy breathing of the pilot when making difficult maneuvers. The list goes on!
Active developers/community- The devs update this game to FIX known issues within the games, before they consider adding anything new, and this is a big thing for me. I'm tired of seeing other devs pushing updates that focus on new features without fixing the previous features of the game. So far updates have been rolling in between 1 and 2 month intervals, which honestly is a good pace for this game. Aside from the devs themselves, we have the community. The user downloads page on DCS's website is full of downloadable content, whether it's a new skin, texture mod, or a whole new
campaign for the players to enjoy. There's also tons of multiplayer servers up-kept and ran by the community as I write this. A polite and professional group of individuals to say the least.
Complex- I would honestly not recommend this game to someone who has NEVER played a flight simulator before, UNLESS you want to experience a challenge of reading tons of pages of information on how to fly the aircraft. However, there are ways around this, such as having automatic start-ups, and basic controls for flight. If you just want to learn how to do maneuvers in an aircraft, then you can always revert to the mission editor and create your own mission to start in the air...without air or ground threats if you prefer that. This game would also be impossible for newer players if they don't have a joystick of some sort. Playing using only your keyboard and mouse, or a standard gamepad controller will not do you any good.
New Aircraft- I'm not saying new aircraft themselves are a bad thing, it's just how they release it. For some reason whenever a new aircraft goes beta for DCS, they start by selling it on their website, and not steam. Before they had the option to redeem keys bought on their site to steam, but has been removed since then. This puts the DCS community at a slight disadvantage, because now there's less DCS enthusiasts testing a new feature for it's main release. Which in turn, may hold the slight potential of having bugs slip through the cracks for release. But that's just my opinion.
Terrain- Yes the world is huge, and has endless flying space, but my main snipe is that the hills/mountains are too "sharp". They don't even have a gradual incline/decline to them. It's hardly noticeable from a higher altitude, but CAS aircraft/Helis would be able to notice it quite easily.
All in all, DCS: World's pros easily outweigh the cons when it comes down to playability. I have no doubt in my mind that flight simulator enthusiasts who crave a modern day flight simulator will get to experience a game that will fulfill that satisfaction of Air superiority.