I haven’t played through the entire game, and I haven’t played it at all in over a year. On those timescales, you lose your touch, and have to devote bags of time (what I don’t have) to getting back up to speed. So, until I can post on game completion, let me talk about the features and missions I’d like to see added in a future release (I know, there won’t be one. Indulge me).
PvP: Why not? You can run up to four controllers, and even if the ‘chuck counts, you can still get two people into the game, either as opponents or as lead and wing. Maybe they don’t do it because it would double the load on the chip.
Bomber: You are the bombardier/nose gunner on one of those big flying wings. Fight your way in, control the plane during the drop, fight your way out. This would be a perfect place to have a two player option that really means something. The existing one is a joke.
CAS: Ground troops are in contact with the enemy. You have to identify your side and bomb the bad guys.
FAC: A perfect job for the Senryu. You are a forward air controller, marking targets for other fighters. Maybe you get to use your guns against ground targets, or enemy air, but your real job is to lay down a smoke round.
Bridge Busting: You have to drop one span of each of several bridges. Heavy defenses, precise drop necessary.
Interceptor: A true interceptor mission. The enemy is flying a high-speed, high altitude reconnaissance and you have to zoom right up to the top of your performance envelope and complete the mission without stalling out. Maybe with salvo mode on your rocket pod.
Side View: I mentioned this in my original review. Right now, you are limited to a broad forward view, with or without your aircraft in the picture. Don’t even think about flying from inside the cockpit. What you can’t do is visually look to the side. Yes, there’s the camera function, and yes, it will give you an almost 360 spherical view. But it’s hard to work, and hard to point (you use the joystick), and you usually find you have somehow rolled into a dive while looking around. I’d like to have a quick way to glance out the side windows, to follow an enemy fighter, or to line up with a ground target. Maybe the L/R arms of the (+) button on the controller. Yes, I’d have to give up a couple of MCMs, but it would be worth it.
Improved MCMs: Two things wrong with the MCM setup as it now stands. First, the built-in recovery period is illogical and unrealistic. If I do an Immelmann, I am going slower, at a higher altitude, when done. There should be nothing to keep me from pulling a Split-S from that position — in fact, I should be better set up for it. If I can do a MCM after flying one of those aerobatic TCMs, I ought to be able to string a couple of MCMs together. Second, any pilot pulling out of one of those maneuvers will, in general, want to be more or less wings-level. If I fly into an Immelmann with my nose high, the MCM is going to end me up in a dive, not normally what I want.
Less Cheating 1 (Teleporting): This occurs when you are getting lined up (maybe even from a TCM), and your target suddenly translates sideways a hundred meters or so, then does an instantaneous 90 degree turn guaranteed to push their eyeballs down their throat. I know they need to cheat in several of the scenarios, to continue the mission until they can get some specific bit of information over, but I really would prefer that they didn’t do it egregiously. A few by Oroshina during the Mission 7 towel fight, and the Mission 8 defector soliloquy over Shikibo are OK, but most of those in Mission 16 are cheats.
Less Cheating 2 (Slowmedown): You know the feeling. You are way over on the ‘chuck, rolled 45 degrees, and pulling g’s as you follow a Lautern bird around in a circle. Suddenly, just as you are about to get him in your pipper, you roll back to 15 degrees and your turn rate drops in half, until he’s past you and spinning on a dime, or euro, or whatever. Given that at this point you can usually punch (A) and kill him with a TCM, what’s the reason for it?
Less Cheating 3 (Performance): I have spent a number of happy hours logging the performance characteristics of all the aircraft on both sides of the line, despite the fact that I know that they are bogus. Watch the radar and note how fast the Lautern fighters turn, and how fast they move, when they want to. If the game wants a Senryu to run down your Incident, it will happen. If it wants a Fission to climb half a kilometer above its service ceiling to take down your Suiga, you’re dead. The performance numbers only apply to you. Your opponents, no matter what they claim to be, are all one aircraft — it’s better than yours when it wants to be, and dumb when the scenario calls for it.