Though Black Shark 2 may sound like a title that would indicate a game that is set at the bottom of the ocean, DCS World Black Shark 2 is a game that instead allows you to take to the skies. Eagle Dynamics' Digital Combat Simulator is known throughout the flight sim community as one of most detailed and comprehensive platforms in which you can experience a multitude of different aircraft models, and in this case it is the Ka-50 Black Shark attack helicopter. So take to the skies in the typically high-detailed framework of DCS World, but this time with all of the attacking and aviation capabilities the Ka-50 attack helicopter provides.
If you have ever played any of the Flaming Cliffs games such as the original or Lock on: Flaming Cliffs 2, then you'll be aware that you're in for quite a detailed experience here. Very little can prepare you for the level of detail that you'll experience in DCS World Black Shark 2 however: it's a significant step up in almost every single department you can think of.
The Helicopter Itself
First it would be best to cover the actual vehicle you'll be piloting in DCS World Black Shark 2. This module is dedicated to simulating the flight systems of the Ka-50, as well as the entire experience from entering the cockpit to being in the air and landing once again (and a whole load of combat in between). The helicopter is the exact same one that was the central vehicle of the original DCS World: Black Shark, only with a significant number of improvements (covered in more detail below).
The Ka-50 is a high-performance helicopter that possesses both day and night-combat capabilities. The weapons it possesses are just the start of the fun - think anti-tank missiles, unguided rockets, A2A (air to air) missiles, various bombs, and mounted guns - as Black Shark 2 also involves unprecedentedly detailed flight model as well as high-fidelity instruments modelling, avionics systems, and weapon systems. Also take notice of the incredible 3D model of the cockpit, with every instrument present down to the last detail including the hydraulics, fuel, electrical, and weapons systems.
Whether or not you've played the original Black Shark is irrelevant in terms of how detailed you're going to find the Black Shark 2 simulation. Everything from the avionics systems to the damage model is intricately detailed. If you have played the original Black Shark then you'll notice a whole host of improvements and additions that make this simulation worth owning.
There are the smaller improvements of course, such as improved aesthetics and graphics (HDR, low-level terrain improvements, dynamic shadows in the cockpit) as well as the cockpit itself being largely improved compared to the original Black Shark. You'll even be able to perform take-offs from and landings onto ships that are pitching/rolling, increasing the challenging nature of an already-difficult simulation.
The larger changes are what make the Black Shark 2 model worth purchasing however. These include an updated mission editor that allows you to create your very own mission, allowing you to be in charge of the variables so that you can tailor the experience to suit your every whim. There is now a fast mission generator that allows you to craft you own missions but in at least half the time of the regular mission editor. Previous players will also note the inclusion of new and improved AI units on the ground, in the sea, and in the air - these all make the brand new campaign (based on the Russo-Georgian War, a conflict you can learn more about at Foreign Affairs).
Graphics, Sound, and Conclusion
The graphics were touched upon previous in brief, but the improvements will be most significant to those that have played the original Black Shark before the Black Shark 2 update. The 3D cockpit model was always detailed but in Black Shark 2 is stunningly so: the textures, the instruments, the pilot, and just about everything you see looks much better than it did in the original. Notice the night-vision segments also look seriously good and generally just better than before, particularly with the increased detail in the cockpit and the instruments contained within. The sounds are also reportedly improved, though the difference is barely noticeable.
What you get when you upgrade from the Black Shark to the Black Shark 2 module is a whole host of improvements that will make the experience better and hopefully make you feel like it was worth the money. The extra cash is certainly justified by the addition campaign, the improved modelling, the fast mission generator, improved AI, and drastically improved graphics. As if this wasn't enough for your money, you can also experience the Ka-50 in a multiplayer environment thanks in part to compatibility with the previous Lock On: Flaming Cliffs. In all, t he Black Shark 2 in DCS World is sublime and worth every penny spent on it.