DCS Black Shark 2

I picked this up on a Steam sale this week for $10 and would have been better off buying more beer instead. Compared to the original DCSBS, this game is a letdown in several areas. The current retail price on Steam is back up to $39.99 (the same price on the DCS site which also offers the BS1 to BS2 upgrade for $29.99). The game simply is not worth that amount of money for what it brings to the table in terms of improvements to the original game.

The game is fully integrated into DCS World in that (for Steam users) there is no outside menu selection to get to BS2: you have to start DCSW and then select BS2. It does not work this way for the A-10C module as that exists outside of DCSW and can be launched as a completely separate game on Steam. BS1 had the Steam overlay and you could take screen shots and upload them to Steam, in BS2 (and apparently all of DCSW) there is no screen overlay and no Steam screen shot support.

BS2 comes with a Starforce ProActive scheme and a 10 “machine” activation limit. Why in the hell a digital purchase through Steam requires DRM and an install limit is beyond my understanding.

The new version of Black Shark has a slightly larger map, two more paint schemes, a slightly better looking cockpit (although textures were reused from the first game), a new campaign and a new mission set. That really is all I can say positive about this version.

On the downside (for Game mode users), there is a bug in which if you start from the ramp and go through the auto-start sequence, the UV-26 flare system is inoperable. If you start on the runway or in the air (no auto-start involved obviously as the aircraft is already wound up) the dispenser works. How the hell this was missed in Q/A is a question I would like to ask (apparently several have and no developer has chimed in yet).

Also in Game mode, the missile and cannon auto lock functions are slightly off: now missiles will fly straight into the ground just in front of the helicopter, or make it to a stationary target and strike just in front of it. Many times the cannon fire lands anywhere but on the target, and if it does the rounds (AP or HE) appear to have no effect. I can unload an entire supply of ammo on one tank and it not even begins to brew up.

For those of us who just want to come home, take off and blow shit up (with a beer of course) this game is a failure compared to the first one. It may be OK in Simulation mode, but I do not have a TrackIR to aid in targeting and the process involved in game (even with a mid-range stick and throttle) to identify and destroy a target with missiles is too complex for me to bother with as a casual gamer.

I wish I could take the visually more appealing cockpit in BS2 and put it in BS1, then trash this abomination altogether. I really, really want to like this game but I just cannot in its current state.


The game is fully integrated into DCS World - Don't Leave Home Without It.


I couldn't even get through the mission editor most times without lag and texture popping issues.


There is no easy way to find the other pilot photos as there was in Black Shark 1.


A win for the series: messages indicating aircraft readiness while performing an auto-start sequence using compressed time.


Another win for the series: the ABRIS and PVI-800 systems are now in synch with each other from go.


A massive failure and bug for the series: If using the auto-start sequence from the parking area, there are no countermeasures available...


I have to reach around and flip some freaking switches (so much for the auto-start sequence).


A minor win for the series: rear view mirrors so you can see if your rotors are really turning.


This is the worn black paint scheme, I will admit that now, but damn if the textures are not ugly.


More than 50% of my flight time against multiple targets was spent engaging tanks that were invulnerable to missiles or cannon fire. I expended eight 9K121 Vikhr missiles before emptying my entire container of AP cannon ammunition against this single target, with no damage to show for it.


...except to me that is.


Flaming Cliffs!


Original Black Shark: Your chosen pilots name was displayed in the debriefing data.


New and Improved Black Shark!! They couldn't be bothered with such details...


Yep, it still sucks.

3 comments:

  1. I take it you didn't like it then Ranger :)

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  2. Hey Phil, that was a bitter post I will admit. Disappointed with the product that came out. While I am taking the game in small doses, it is tough to get by indestructible enemies.

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  3. Ha Ha I loved the post Ranger. Refreshing to see someone ranting.

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