One of the more ignored genres on consoles is Flight sim, or anything to do with flying. It’s a niche genre that’s for sure, and while I haven’t partaken much in the 30 plus years of gaming I’ve had, it’s not to say I don’t enjoy them. If done right, they can be immensely enjoyable, and provide a good few hours of entertainment. Step forward Ace Maddox with Flying Tigers: Shadows over China. Before I got to grips with it, I was intrigued and curious as to how well this would play, and whether the still shots did the game justice. Let’s find out.
First point to mention, is that this game is based on the exploits of events that transpired during the early years of World War 2, between Allied Forces and the enemy over in Asia and the surrounding areas. An elite flying squadron of pilots, that displayed tenacity, skill, and resolve to help win the battle that raged over in that part of the world. So naturally, there are Chinese, Japanese, Indian, American and British pilots and their flying machines to assume control of during the game. What’s even better about Flying Tigers, is that the game has full voices parts for the pilots, just to give it an added sense of urgency during dogfights, stealth missions and the like. What some may find a tad disturbing is the use of racial slurs, which back in the day was considered the norm, and I don’t believe that it’s been used by the developer to highlight not promote the use of racial language. It was a casual thing for many to use when talking about people from far off countries, and as such, I feel it’s been added to create a more authentic experience rather than because they hold these ideals. So for this reasoning, I won’t be picking the game apart for its use, and we can move on.
First up, we have game mode options. From free flight, which allows you to casually soar the skies in any mission you choose, with a choice of weather and time of day, to challenge whereby you seek to complete set missions which offer zero value achievements, online play and finally the campaign. The latter is where the bulk of the content lies, and before each of the games dozen missions, you get a text dump explaining the details for you. It’s worth a read, as it happens to be a part of history. Especially interesting if you’re a war buff. So it’s here I begin.
The opening missions are simple enough to get you used to the flight and combat controls, with the very first mission being the tutorial. One point to note, is that the controls are highly sensitive to the touch, so if this is something that may bother you, I’d recommend doing what o did, and lower the stick sensitivity option within the menus. Otherwise, flying can be a satisfying experience in Flying Tigers, and whether you opt for cockpit or an outside view is entirely your choice. I prefer the latter if you must know.
Each plane offers different weapons which you need to complete the various missions, and sometimes you will find yourself handed a different plane during the segments of each mission. First objective may give you a bomber, and the next you may be involved in a bullet ridden dogfight, and each objective is displayed on screen so you won’t end up confused as to why you’re suddenly flying a totally different plane. It’s useful to listen to the chatter as well, as this also helps in case you missed it. Targets will be highlighted throughout the game, but only if you’re close enough. I over heated my guns a few times before I realised I was wasting my time.
Visually, Flying Tigers is impressive, and although some textures on land may appear a bit washed out on closer inspection (Please note that I crash landed to find this out), the game has received a fair amount of attention in this department, and all planes look good and frame rate issues were non existent for myself. Explosions look great too, and it’s all rather pleasing when you single-handedly take apart an entire squadron before any allies can contribute to the mid air explosions.
Flight mechanics as mentioned before are highly sensitive, but reducing that makes the game far more enjoyable and manoeuvring through the skies becomes less of a hassle and more manageable. Increasing air speed or decreasing to your liking is also an option. Shutting the engines down by decreasing your speed too much does indeed cause a crash landing. You can thank me for this little nugget of information. Yes, I am a rather silly person. It’s an obvious end to the experiment, but many of us do these sort of things. Like attacking an ally or stepping in fire in video games. We are all guilty at some point in video games.
The sound effects and musical score is spot on for me. The end credits track was rather enjoyable, as was the sounds of gunfire smiting my enemies, and bombs to eradicate ground troops. Not that I get to excited about destroying all those who oppose me. Voice acting was exceptional for me, and even though some racial slurs have been used, please don’t forget the opening paragraph regarding my thoughts on this. It in no way makes me feel as though the developer intended offence with it.
So, how many hours will Flying Tiger provide you? Well, after playing through the campaign once, and completing all challenges, I was just past the 7 hour mark before adding around 2 hours into the online component. This to says that the asking price of £15.19 is well worth it. If you’re just after achievements, then as far as Flying Tigers goes, you will at least enjoy playing through the various game modes for all the achievements even if it’s not your thing. The list itself isn’t too hard either. But destroying 10 enemies in 5 minutes may take a few attempts as once their health is low, they resort to evasive manoeuvres to stay alive. So quick reactions are a must here.
Would I recommend it? Without question. Already I will say this could be one of the games that would make my top 20 list for 2018. A bold statement I know, but I’m confident that there will be gamers who will easily recall Flying Tigers come December. A lot of effort has been invested, and it’s immensely fun to play. The price is right, the quality of the game is worth noting too. Go grab it and do yourself a favour if it’s caught your attention.
Overall Score 9/10
Developer: Ace Maddox
Publisher: Ace Maddox
Release Date: 13th January 2018
File Size: 3.54GB