Target Not Acquired
For those of us a bit more experienced with flight sims, arcade mode may seem exceedingly easy. The jump to Realistic, or certainly Simulation may prove frustrating more often than hoped. While tracking a target it's quite difficult to outmaneuver him while not losing enough airspeed or lift to stall. In that sense, the indicators are almost a hindrance. If you've played many space simulators or modern fighter simulators, you're likely accustomed to seeing a blip dart up and to the right, and yanking back the stick hard to the back right. In a prop plane, that'll certainly send you spinning toward the ground. If, on the other hand, you have the indicators off and see a prop plane zoom by you, you're likely to respond accordingly.
As with the real thing, dogfights can also be exceptionally long and drawn out. While tracking a single plane you'll both be dodging and looping for a lengthy period of time, and you'll spend substantial periods of that time scarcely unable to get the enemy within your sights long enough to fire a shot, or, when you do, you'll mostly be blindly shooting at air, unable to hit much. In Arcade mode there's a good bit of target assistance and increased damage from your guns making the kill easy, but in Realistic and Simulation, the complex damage models mean you'll miss far more often than not, and when you don't, you'll nick their armor for a good while before it starts affecting their ability to control the plane.
In one of the lengthier dogfight missions I spent about 20 minutes per plane for several enemies. While I expected my end of mission report to cite my accomplishment time as poor, it instead gave me a proud “Average”....this means that over an hour of pushing and pulling the stick trying desperately to get an enemy in my sights is actually considered to be the expected gameplay experience. This isn't a slight against the game for doing anything wrong, mind you. It's the sign that it's actually accurately simulating the way the planes handle quite realistically. In real life, only the top of the famous aces had kill totals over 100 spanning their careers, consisting, usually, of several wars. In this game you'll be shooting down two dozen or more in a single mission, so it's clear you're taking on the career role of an ace pilot. It should be rather time consuming to acquire all those kills.
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