Jane's Longbow 2 is an ultra realistic helicopter simulation made in 1997 of the Apache attack helicopter. It is a game that has an excellent flight model, realistic avionics, great radio communications, and complex missions. This realism makes it a sophisticated and fun game to play. It is widely called the king of helicopter simulations. It is a title well deserved.
It has about everything you could want in a helicopter simulation. Realism and enemy aircraft intelligence are customizable. You can select a flight model from very realistic to arcade like realism. The flight model is so realistic it is like that of Microsoft Flight Simulator. The helicopter's climb and dive rates are slow. You cannot swiftly get into and pull out of a dive. The helicopter will lose altitude rapidly if you roll 90 degrees and keep it there for very long. You cannot fly upside down, or you will quickly crash into the ground. Acceleration and deceleration are slow. The helicopter will veer sideways to the left or right at low speeds. You can also move fast sideways, more so than in Comanche Hokum. This is useful for bobbing sideways out of and into a barrier. For those who prefer a simple flight model, the arcade like flight model is very simple to fly. You simply ascend, or descend to the desired altitude and point to the direction you want to go.
The game features much more than an accurate flight model. It features excellent communications to fill you in on what is happening, what jobs you need to take over, and who needs help. The missions are also complex and interesting. They are in fact so complex as to require several flights and many aircraft to complete the mission. Jet airplanes such as the A-10 Warthog may also participate in the mission. It is interesting to watch the different tactics, roles, and strengths of the different aircraft as they fly the mission.
The radio communications also seem like they are very realistic in terms of what they say. It feels as if someone is watching the battlefield and then reporting the intelligence as it comes in. They say things like we have noticed troop or vehicle movement in grid x. They also say a lot of please be advised messages such as aircraft detected in grid x. It is also nice that the flights announce the waypoints as they pass them.
The cockpit avionics are also very detailed. You have a realistic radar display, targeting optics display that are quite accurate as to the actual helicopter.
The flight model is very exceptional. You even are not allowed to dive too quickly, because it will put too much of a load on the blades spinning around. Very impressed that the loads on the rotary wing blades is simulated as the wind passes through it.
Best of all the battles are interesting. The missions are well designed. The terrain is bumpy. There is a lot of vehicles on the battlefield and therefore a lot happening on the battlefield. When I have read the mission objectives, I find they are very interesting sounding missions.
The AI is very good for the enemy vehicles, especially for the enemy helicopters. They hide behind cover, even to the extent of hiding behind a trench in the ground, so as to avoid your missiles.
It is also nice that you can build rank with many levels and realistic titles. This is interesting in and of itself.
But acquiring vehicles once they are exposed is too easy. You can destroy too many vehicles too quickly. Which is not the case with Gunship! Which makes me score this game less than Gunship!, but reluctantly because of its many realism features. I definately like to keep Longbow 2 near the top of my playlist.
But I have yet to try the Azer 2000 Longbow Campaign download. This campaign has state-of-the-art air defense systems, so it says. This may change my mind about Longbow 2, because it will make surviving air defense more difficult-even if the lack of terrain makes you able to lock on and fire at them quickly.
Overall Gameplay: 8.7