With the second world war in the worlds of video games, most of the time it explores the European theatre from D-day to the Russian front, and games that deal with alternative history of what if the Nazis won the war? Like the latest Wolfenstein games, and Nazis being the ideal villains it seems like a comfort zone for the worlds gaming developers. But the Pacific front however is underused in my books with the last notable game that used the front was Call of Duty World at War way back in 2008.
When Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China by the folks down at ACE Maddox in Sweden dealt with the pacific front I was quietly pleased, and as it is a flight simulator as well which was a welcome surprise as I have not really played many flight sim games at all it was nice to be reacquainted again. So, Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China deals with the First American Volunteer Group (otherwise known as the Flying Tigers) and its adventures in defending China from the Japanese. Which was built from pilots from the Air Corps, Navy and Marine Corps, from the early days from the aftermath of Pearl Harbour to the Battle of Burma, the RAF are also present with Hurricanes and Spitfires as well.
This is the campaign in a nutshell with the campaign following the career of the AVG. so there will be dogfights and staffing runs and bombings aplenty which on a normal difficulty can be cleared if you’re a competent flyer and don’t fly into cliff faces like I did – a lot, a day’s work really. But for a campaign it a nice simple tasty cheeseburger – nice and juicy to stick your teeth into.
There are extra game modes as well to put some time into with “challenge” mode which has mini missions to work your way through which are a nice distraction, or if you are feeling creative you have the Dogfight game mode which you can pick what you can go up against, so want to go up against a squadron of jet fighters then knock yourself out. It’s nice to have a mode to dream up the little challenges. To amuse yourself right up to the moment when you crash into a tree or get shot down when you close to the finish, if you are a bit hopeless at flying and want a care free environment to sharpen up your skills before taking on the emperor himself in a P-51 there is the “Free Flight” option if you need a little bit of training.There is multiplayer as well with a handful of game modes though not a lot of variation with deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag. One downside though is honestly the online servers are vacant which is a bit of a disappointment. All-in-all there are other options to delve into if the campaign wasn’t enough. Now, we come to the gameplay itself, now there are two control types, “Arcade” which is a more simplified control scheme which is easy to understand and can keep you in the air much easier compared to pitch/roll which is more manual which for me is a preferred option as cocking it up is much more likely.
One little niggle for me is the camera controls which has a delay before resetting so if your trying to find a target you’re really not looking where you are going. But overall, flying about in both controls schemes is genuinely nice to fly about and shoot down japs in the air and on the ground with machine guns bombs and rockets. You also have ability to slow down time if you want to fine tune your aim which is good during a hectic moment as the AI is competent and will put up a good fight and will try and shoot you down.
Graphics is a bit of a mixed bag; the planes look nice but stuff on the ground though in a flight sim isn’t a major priority but does look a bit rough and could have been smoothed out. the UI does it job but it can be cluttered when there is a large number of bad guys around you which when out of camera view has a red icon on the sides, this could have been simplified as there is a mini map so nearest bad guys could have been a better solution. Sound is all right, though some of the music tracks are a bit cheesy for my taste. Build quality is good with no major game breaking bugs or glitches to report from my play time.
Available on PC and Xbox one for between 12 and 15 pounds which is a little expensive for the game in my books, however there hasn’t really been a decent WW2 Flight Sim that I can recall for this generation of consoles. So, if you’re yearning for one then it can fill that market for you.
Overall, Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China is a good game with effortless fun controls catering to both sides of the skill tree. Competent and challenging AI, and with fun gameplay to boot and a nice addition to the flight simulator series. Though there are niggles with graphics and camera controls being a bit frustrating, but as flight simulators are rather vacant in this generation of consoles so Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China is a standout choice if you like calling yourself Biggles or Algae.
Flying Tigers: Shadows Over China
A fun and fast flying game, with historical accuracies in a arcade setting. Not quite a Tom Clancy's Hawks.
- Beautiful graphics
- Highly adictive
- Wide variety of missions
- Can be buggy
- Needs a little polish here and there
- Needs a little optimization on the controls