After a few rounds of Heroes and Generals I was given the opportunity to become a pilot and fly around the battlefield. Obviously, I took said opportunity!
I will admit that it took awhile to get used to and there is no tutorial offering you controls but you can find them here (or on the wiki)…
|Fire Weapon||Left Mouse Button|
|Orbit Plane In 3rd Person||Right Mouse Button (hold)|
|Use WASD As Flight Stick||CTRL (hold)|
So after crashing a few times I go the hang of it, I would never say I am good but I got the hang of it. I also realised there were two jobs that you had to do. Kill planes (“dog fighting”) and bombing the opposition. Although I will say both of these are made very difficult by fog.
I am actually looking at trees, buildings and a landscape that is approaching awfully quickly. This made shooting down planes or bombing enemy tanks a pain. It would have been easier if the infantry were assisting better but more on that later! An image below shows what I should have seen…
Before we get onto the gameplay aspect of flying I would like to say just how pretty this game is (again! see our original post here). Lens flare, impressively realistic looking clouds, explosions all mixed with the droning of your aircraft make it an immersive experience. I was also impressed by the attention to detail; when you brake the vents at your exhausts flare out. A small animation but much appreciated!
I will admit this is the part I enjoy more and the part I am better at. Finding other planes is fairly straight forward as the image below shows that they stand our quite stark against the sky.
So, you have spotted your opponent and now you need to get behind him (or her!). Which seems relatively easy as avoiding enemy planes seems to be a tricky endeavour. Unlike modern aircraft you only have a machine gun equipped to your plane so you have to score a heck of a lot of hits to bring down your opponent. The planes fly as you expect WWII planes to fly. Which is to say they are nowhere near as responsive as in games such as Battlefield or perhaps HAWX (the original not the second). So avoiding opponents is tricky… a few riskier moves involving aiming directly up, braking and stalling which will cause your chaser to overshoot and you can get them… unless you fall out of the sky! Otherwise, twisting, turning and flying dangerously (between smoke stacks, trees and the like) seem to be your best option.
Unfortunately as you don’t kill your opponent quickly they have plenty of time to exit their aircraft. Which means you shoot down the enemy plane with no kill points and no extra vehicle kill points. This is a real pain as chasing down an opponent takes a while and you gain no reward!
The other job of the pilot is to take out the enemy tanks and vehicles. This however is easier said then done! As you race across the skies it can be difficult to spot tanks, vehicles or infantry and when you do often you’ve flown by and have missed the opportunity to bomb them.
Unfortunately not enough people here take the time to spot enemy vehicles. It would be far simpler to bomb tanks if a friendly red “enemy spotted” guided you! It would even make bombing runs possible in foggy conditions. The bombs have a gratifyingly large area of effect however.
Although your plane (understandably) only holds two bombs which take an age to resupply. You can however after achieving the tactical bomber ribbon (level 4) unlock a perk to gain more bombs.
Aside from planes you have a more general foe. The anti aircraft guns that always seem to be in the hands of your opponent. When your plane goes down and you bail out you are left (unless you have bought or changed weapons) with a knife. That is it. I did manage to stab and kill the first guy I came across but that was certainly beginners luck! On my final flight (your squad runs out of spawns very quickly) I approached an anti air gun to get my revenge only to find it had no more ammo!
Unfortunately the high rate at which fighter pilots are expended means that many of the matches you participate in will end rather quickly as you can no longer respawn. If this happens you don’t receive any battle credits for your participation.
We’ve enjoyed our experience flying but as you can read above there are still some issues to work out!
(P.S. Having a mouse with changeable dpi / sensitivity helps no end when flying your plane! Our top tip!)