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Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China Review
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Introduction:
Flying Tigers: Shadows over China is an arcade dog fighting game set during WWII in China, Burma and India. The game is based on a group named the “Flying Tigers”, who were a group of US pilots battling China throughout the Second World War. The operations that you are tasked with throughout the campaign, follow the experiences of real operations that took place in WW2. The game mainly has 2 factions which are the Allies and the Japanese, however period you can only play/control the allies within the main campaign. Although in other game modes such as arcade you have an option to fly Japanese aircraft.

Graphics:
When initially opening the game, you are faced with a variety of options of how you would like your graphic settings to be. I give huge credit to the developers for this as it makes the game more playable and accessible for the lower spec PC’s. When I first got into the actual the game, the graphics were not exactly 4K, I noticed the ground textures such as trees and grass aren't brilliant. However overall the game isn't bad looking, it is manageable considering the games price. When talking about the Aircraft's on the other hand, what can I say other than amazing, to me they have really caught the aesthetics of a WW2 aircraft, looking reasonably realistic. During gun fights, I was particularly fond on how the bullet’s shot from my aircraft left huge holes in enemy aircraft. A small detail like really adds to the gaming experience, however explosions on the other hand had a 8 bit feel to it, which really took away from my experience. To conclude the graphics match the price tag of the game, I got the feeling of the WW2 vibe however some areas such as explosions took away from my experience.




Game modes:
Flying Tigers offers several game modes you can play both online and offline. The first game mode your introduced to is the Campaign, as I mentioned earlier the missions you are challenged with are actual operation US pilots were tasked with, which I really appreciated. However, the campaign itself doesn’t really have a story line to it, it mainly covers individual operations, although I don’t mind that it could leave some players confused as you could go from a battle in 1947 back to 1945. Right now, there are only 8 missions within the campaign, however im sure after reading some threads they have future plans to release more. The next game mode is the Dog fighting mode, this mode can be played either online or offline. This mode allows the user to choose any aircraft they want to fly, then you choose what Aircraft’s you want to battle, as well as what map you want to battle on. The last offline mode is free flight, like Dog fighting mode you choose what Aircraft you want to fly, what map you want to play, What the weather conditions are and who you are battling against. The name almost sums up what the mode is about. Throughout each game mode there are only 2 difficulty settings, Normal and Hard. Onto the online mode there are servers which can hold up to 16 players, unfortunately the multiplayer seems to be completely dead, only one server came up on the server browser and it was completely empty.

Gameplay:
Flying Tigers is very much an arcade dog fighting experience. Obviously, the game is centred on air-air combat but there are also ground and naval targets in some of the missions. I must say, combat is a lot of fun, especially when you’re chasing enemies while being chased yourself. All of the aircraft feature at least one forward facing gun and some have backwards facing guns controlled by AI apart from some scripted events. As well as guns there are also bombs and torpedoes used by some of the aircraft to take out the ground and naval targets I mentioned. The main reason this game is more towards the arcade side of things rather than simulation is due to the game’s controls. It’s also an arcade game due to a slow motion ability that you can use (and recharge as it doesn’t last forever) during combat, I had a lot of fun messing around with this ability and it does also make it easier to hit targets which frequently comes in handy.




Audio:
When first opening the game, the audio is very loud, I would suggest changing the master volume as soon as you get into the main menu. From personal experience when shooting my 1st bullet it scared the life out of me. However, after playing the game for a while the audio is crystal clear, defiantly reflecting noises from the WW2 setting (air raid sirens, bombs, shooting etc.) Lastly the voice acting in the game is all done reasonably well though there were a couple of times where I was left wondering if the correct accent was used. One thing worth mentioning is that not all the dialogue lines for the missions are in the game yet since it’s still in Early Access but I imagine these will be added in later updates.

Controls:
The first thing worth mentioning is that you’re given a hell of a lot of choice in the game for input devices. You can either play with just a mouse, a keyboard and mouse, a game pad and even a flight stick/HOTAS setup. The main thing which makes this game so much of an arcade game, which I personally don’t like, is the limitations in terms of aircraft manoeuvrability. You can’t bank the plane more than 90° maneuvers that you can do in other games. The devs have explained that this limitation is there due to limitations with the camera and also to stop us “fiddling with controls unnecessarily” (whatever that means) but the devs have said we may see these limitations removed at some point in the future so fingers crossed. With the most recent update one of these limitations has been removed from the game hence I’ve removed it from my review, hopefully the other one will go too. Other than that, issue the controls are great, the planes all feel as responsive as they should (obviously a large bomber is less responsive than a small fighter aircraft).

Conclusion:
Worth a buy, however I would suggest waiting for the game to potentially go on sale as I don’t feel it’s a game that you could get 100+ hours from. To Conclude Flying Tigers is a great arcade dog fighting game with good graphics, quite a few different aircraft and plenty of content already. If you enjoy dog fighting games, there’s no question you’ll enjoy this one too and it’s only going to get better as it progresses through Early Access.
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