Update: My review is finally out! Read it right here.
It went completely unnoticed by me, but on Feb 21st the team behind the gliding flight simulator Condor - The Competition Soaring Simulator released Condor 2 - The Complete Soaring Simulator! What can we expect from it?
12 Years Later...
Virtual glider pilots rejoice: Condor 2 is out! Almost 12 years (I think?) after the original release there is a new and updated glider-focused product out there. In all honesty: I didn't expect to see it within this decade.
What can we expect?
The first Condor's weakness was the old graphics engine on DirectX 7. Well, Condor 2 has DX11 - and it looks pretty good! Real-time cockpit, terrain, and cloud shadows add that visual depth to Condor which I praised about P3Dv4. You can watch some videos of this in action over here: http://www.condorsoaring.com/about/
Judging from the videos, graphics aren't super mind blowing, but nonetheless pretty and way better than the original Condor's. And we all know that graphics aren't everything. It's predecessor did everything else very well already, so I believe we're looking at a worthy successor here.
The Package You Get
Condor 2 is shipped with a map of Slovenia, which has a 30m mesh resolution. That is quite decent. Compared to Condor 1's 90m resolution it's a whole lot better actually. Judging from videos and screenshots the landscape visuals seem a lot nicer as well, with the overall color theme being less bright. Slovenia's scenery also boasts 2048x2048 textures, which is much higher than the originals 512x512.
According to the website, Condor 2 comes with seven different gliders, each of them of a different class. Four more are offered for 7.99€ or 11.99€ per plane. They plan on releasing one of them each month, starting this March. Additionally there's four tow planes, and they plan on releasing more for free, which is pretty hype for variety.
All of this - aside from the DLC of course - is included in the 49.99€ price tag. It's not a whole lot of content, even tiny compared to something like FSX/P3D, but the fidelity of gliding and weather mechanics is likely to make up for it.
Personal Opinion And Expectations
Despite the relatively small number of planes, I think it will be enough to keep me busy for quite a while. I enjoy learning a single plane more than many at the same time. If you do get bored however, the DLC planes' pricing is very reasonable for a flight simulation at $12. That's much lower than what a P3D add-on usually costs ($20 upwards), and judging from just Condor 1 they're likely much better, too.
Reading their website I initially assumed we would be able to use old Condor scenery, which is false according to Condor Club. Scenery has to be made for either version and Condor 2 is not backwards compatible. Still, there's already five or six freeware sceneries available, with many more to come!
One thing that's very annoying to me: Their sales partner limits the download period to 14 days, otherwise you'll have to buy an extended download period. Don't like that business model at all, but that's how it is. Just make sure to back it up on a thumb drive or something, maybe your Dropbox. It's only a 620MB installer after all.
I will certainly buy it once I have some time available for trying it out. It's looking very good. I'm excited! Now if only I had friends who also fly gliders...
Title image composed from condorsoaring.com/news