Advantages of using Pro-Flight
A little background
The first time I got in a Warhawk and tried the default controls, I had a bittersweet feeling (add dejavu). Why dejavu? It controlled a lot like a certain XBOX game which had flying in it (can't remember the name though). It was simple, and let you pull off some useful, yet cool, maneuvers with the flick of the right analog stick. Yet at the same time it was frustrating to use. The aim auto-centers, it's not useful when manuevering in tight spaces and it just didn't give me the control that I was used to from playing Ace Combat. Plus the Warhawk is a fast, super-responsive beast screaming "Go nuts!" as compared to AC's realistic planes.
Switch to PF and you'll feel like your on a whole other level. Does it make you a pro all of a sudden? No, not even close. It's a challenge just to get yourself orientated at first. It takes a lot of time and practice to get it right. Even when you think you're good to go, there's still a lot more you can learn. Mastery will take dedication, patience and lots of silly mistakes.
|More control = More manueverability
First thing you'll notice is that you have 100% control of your Warhawk/Nemesis (for easier reading I'll refer only to the Warhawk). Turns, pitches, rolls, climbs, dives, it's all you. Even pull off precision maneuvers at high speeds.
This also allows you to pull off your own stunts and maneuvers. Come up with different evasive maneuvers to stun your pursuer or pull a fast one and take back control of a dogfight. Personally I don't like that I'm open to other attackers while doing auto-maneuvers*1.
|Powerslides versus PF turns
Powersliding is what sets a Warhawk apart from any other flight games. It is something that all aspiring Warhawk aces need to be familiar with. It lets you turn sharper and quicker than just dragging your aircraft around.
I've been experimenting and comparing both Powersliding and using the PF to make quick turns. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and in this case, it's up to you to decide which you are more comfortable with. Personally, I have taken to NOT using Powerslides.
Powerslides tend to be more uncontrollable and once you start sliding it'll be a while before you get control of your Warhawk. The time may seem minuscule but it's enough time for your pursuers to get a homing missile on you if you're in his line of sight.
PF turns give you the benefits of powerslides (quick turns) but you will still have control of your warhawk. Do quick turns in succession to confuse your enemy and/or turn the tables on him/her. The biggest problem is that there's a high chance of over-steering and you'll more than likely crash into something when you do.
|Freedom of aim
For me, the biggest perk of Pro-Flight is that your reticule does not auto-center. It's a bonus to pilots who prefer to gun down his/her enemies.
It's also the an important part of pulling off maneuvers in tight situations and getting around obstacles quickly (One part of 2. Doesn't do much alone.)
|The Right Analog Stick (the other part)
This is the biggest difference between the default flight controls and PF. Your right analog stick now gives you 360 degree control of your Warhawk on all axis.
At first it may seem like both the left and right analog sticks do the same thing and you'll probably be thinking "What the fuck? That's it?" Just dig a little bit below the surface and you'll find the lifeblood of PF. Experiment and master maneuvering using both sticks to get the best out of PF. Do that, and you'll be one slippery devil in the skies.
Like I've said, Pro Flight does not give you super Warhawk skills or automatically make you a better pilot. The price of total control of your Warhawk is a steep learning curve, long hours of practice and making mistakes ranging from laughable to downright ridiculous. Is all the frustration worth it? Oh yes indeed.
You can always be the guy with the most kills in a match regardless of your control setting but if you want to stand out among the best pilots, to reign supreme over mano-a-mano dogfights, or make a fool of a squadron of enemies, PF is calling out to you.