European Air War is a combat flight simulation created by MicroProse in 1998. European Air War is the sequel of 1942: The Pacific Air War by Microprose. The stock standard version simulates the Battle of Britain, and the Allied Air offensives in Western Europe during the Second World War in 1943-45. The game remains popular among flight sim enthusiasts and has spawned hundreds of fan modifications.
The Pilot Career mode, allows the user to take the role of a pilot in the RAF, Luftwaffe or USAAF and play in any of three time eras, the Battle of Britain in 1940, the Allied Air offensives in 1943, and the Air offensives before and after D-Day until the end of the war in 1944-45.
During a Pilot Career player actions will directly affect the progress of the war, including delaying or bringing forward the invasion of Europe. Players may also rise up the ranks, starting as a non-commissioned officer to full officer commanding a fighter squadron (or staffel) and assuming responsibility for the men and machines under your command. As a squadron commander a player can select the rosters and weapons loadouts for use in missions, selecting between disposable fuel tanks, rockets, or bombs to assist in completing assigned missions.
The AI in European Air War is highly flexible, with several difficulty settings that can be altered by the user to ensure the game remains challenging for a long period of time. AI pilots within your squadron can be controlled by the user in Quick Start and Single Mission options, and gradually become available as you get promotions within your squadron in a Pilot Career.
The "stock" out-of-the-box standard game has 20 flyable and 10 non-flyable planes. This number has been vastly increased.
Stock aircraft that can be flown include, for the British, the Hawker Hurricane I, the IA, IXc and XIVE models of the Supermarine Spitfire, the Hawker Typhoon, and Hawker Tempest. The non-flyable aircraft for the British is the De Havilland Mosquito.
Flyable aircraft for the Americans include the P-38H and P-38J models of the P-38 Lightning, the P-47C and P-47D models of the P-47 Thunderbolt, and the P-51B and P-51D models of the P-51 Mustang. Non-flyable aircraft for the Americans include the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator, and the B-26 Marauder.
Flyable Aircraft for the Germans include the Bf109E, Bf109G-6 and Bf109K-4 models of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the Bf110C and Bf110G models of the Messerschmitt Bf 110, the Fw190A-8 and Fw190D-9 models of the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, and the Messerschmitt 262. Non-flyable aircraft for the Germans include the Heinkel He 111, the Ju-88A and Ju-88C models of the Junkers Ju 88, the Junkers Ju 87B, the V-1 Flying Bomb, and the Messerschmitt 410.
Each aircraft has different characteristics and abilities, often requiring different tactics to defeat. Knowledge of both the abilities of your aircraft and your enemies' abilities are essential to success in an engagement.
Fan-made modifications have allowed European Air War to expand to cover almost all of World War 2 and beyond.
Hundreds of skins are available and many new flight models can be downloaded. Full modifications of the game cover many theatres, such the Pacific, Summer and Winter Russian Air Wars, North Africa, New Guinea, China, Korea, Night Warfare, and many more. Several modifications focus on specific operations, such as the Battle of Britain, Battle of the Bulge, Normandy Landings, Midway, Operation Torch, and the European War from 1943 on.
Modifications have also allowed the player to fly many aircraft previously un-flyable in the original game, including B-17s, He-111s, Ju-87s, Mosquitos, B-26's, B-24's,and several others.
Playing online utilises the IP (Internet Protocol) system, with players intending to join requiring the IP address of the host and then connecting to the hosts computer directly. This system is generally reliable and does not suffer from MMP (Massive Multiplayer) lag.
Many new skins and modifications are also in the pipeline, and members are continually working to remove bugs in the original game and improve it. Online play has also been greatly enhanced due to the creation of programs that allow the player to manage the many skins that are available, such as Online Air Wars (OAW). This allows multiplayer missions to have less transit time to and from the target, and allows game management of over 150 different aircraft and skins. It also allows for each player's game to be compatible with the other players, ensuring there are few problems with one machine having addons. Nevertheless It is recommend having one copy of EAW for multiplay and one for single play.
Several online squadrons remain in existence that players can join.