Not sure how many of you in here tried Wargame: European Escalation, which was a fantastic war simulator made by an Indie French company called "Focus Interactive".
However, Wargame: Airland Battle is coming out in a few weeks, and having tried the beta, I've got to say, it's absolutely fantastic.
Here are some screenshots:
This game is filling a childhood dream of mine, of being able to us an F16 in an RTS game. I can't believe it's taken 15 years, but it's finally happened.
The air combat is spectacular, and more realistic than anything I've ever seen before. Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRMH887q3Bo
Aircraft do not stay on the field for a particularly long period of time. Unlike every other unit, they are called onto the battlefield from an off-map airbase, where they must quickly complete their mission, then leave before they run out of fuel. Aircraft have varying speed based on type: http://www.wargame-ab.com/?rub=aircraft
Certain aircraft are designed only to destroy other aircraft, then you have bombers, and of course "multirole fighters" which can do the job of both. What makes it so cool (surprisingly) is that it's over so quickly. In a dogfight, if a missile or volley of machine guns connect, the fight is practically over. It's such a different experience than what you're used to seeing in RTS games, where "air battles", if they even exist, are long and drawn out endeavors.
Here are some pictures of the Armory, where I can view detailed statistics about each unit in the game, filtered by Faction and type (these are taken from my own machine):
The "deck building" system of the game is also one of its coolest features. To build a deck, you choose a side from "NATO" or "PACT". Each side includes various countries with their own units, strengths, and weaknesses: http://www.wargame-ab.com/?rub=sides
You can build a deck using ALL the units from each side, but you get deck "bonuses" if you limit your units to a certain country, a certain selection, or a certain time period (so before 1980, for example). If you use all 3 bonuses in tandem, you will be extremely limited, but you also get the biggest benefit. (So for example, I could use American-only units, of the "Marine" category, that were all made before 1975)
So in addition to the HUGE selection the game offers (over 150 planes alone, not including the units of all other types), you also get to make neat, specialized decks based on limited selection which can be, if used correctly, even BETTER than decks which have access to everything A warning to those considering buying the game while still in beta:
There is no single campaign or computer AI added to the game yet, it all takes place in multiplayer during the beta. Both of those features will be added by launch.