Should be awesome because: Theoretically, the heady duel of plane-on-plane is a dizzying, tactical ballet. A maelstrom of free-flowing, multi-directional one-upmanship than thrives on action, reaction, bigger-picture thinking and precision aim. These are the things that great multiplayer FPS is built around, so to remove the ground and replace it with total, improvisational command of space, at the speed of sound, should be a flawless fit.
But unfortunately… The problem with moving through the sky at Mach 1 is that, without real-life g-force, it doesn’t actually feel very fast at all. Look out of the window of any passenger plane you might find yourself on. What do you see? A large expanse of distant, static clouds and never-changing blue. Couple that sense of non-speed with the distances air battles are usually waged over and, particularly in modern-set, more ‘realistic’ games, you’re looking at a whole lot of time spent lining up two small dots, firing, repositioning, and repeating.
Notable exceptions: Star Fox 64’s ‘all-range’ levels, for keeping aerobatic combat close-range and accessible, and War Thunder for getting the arcade/realism blend juuuust right. And Afterburner Climax, of course, for just taking the shamelessly linear, explosive rollercoaster approach.