Falcon 4 with 108us, SP3, FF2, and BMS is truly remarkable, IMO! I have nice looking terrain, weather effects (i.e. rain and clouds), canopy effects (i.e. reflections) and a really, really nice looking clickable cockpit. And it runs GREAT on my rig (Dell 1.7GHz / 512MB RAM / 32MB ATI Rage 128 Ultra)!!! Unfortunately, I can't run the LO-MAC demo (video card?).
So why in the heck would I EVER play PSF again?!?!?
Well, because for one thing, Falcon is freggin' complicated. Holy crap! I have all the manuals laid out on the kitchen table and the wife tells me it looks like I'm studying for a test. Another thing is that while the game does run smoothly with maxed graphics (except Pilot Bubble at 3) at 1024x768, I do get a slight hesitation during a campaign, especially during a thunderstorm. Also, my frame rates sometimes go down just enough to tell (slightly below 20?). This is with Windows Me - XP gives me a slideshow. Also, I can't use the cool Aeyes $11.00 1600x1200 hi-res pit, though Panther's free 1024x768 F-16 pit looks really sharp (as does the one I upgraded from SP3, FF2, or BMS).
The occasional hesitation and FPS slowdowns are not bad at all and is still completely playable, but ANY hesitation is annoying to me now. PSF has spoiled me on super-smooth frame rates ALL of the time at max graphics. I reckon' I could turn down the Falcon graphics just a tad, but I HATE doing this (reminds me of Flanker - always tweaking the darn thing).
Actually, the fact that Falcon 4 w/patches looks as good as it does on my rig and runs like it does is incredible to me! Simply incredible! I don't need a game with such dated graphics as PSF/OIF like I thought I did. I don't believe that a graphics facelift to PSF would affect my frame rates at all, seeing how good Falcon 4 / FF2 / BMS / etc. looks.
BUT, there's that very big Falcon 4 learning curve! I was overwhelmed with PSF when I started playing it a few months ago. Falcon 4 is in another league IMO, and will possibly take me a year or longer to fully understand it completely (if I ever do). Is the effort worth it? I think so, seeing how much thought and effort was put into this game overall, and most importantly, how active the fan base still is. It's simply incredible, and I bet anyone who's mastered this game is having a whole lotta fun!
Will I keep playing PSF? Yup! Again, I'm spoiled by the consistently high frame rates, and NEVER having any hesitation during play. PSF is also ALLOT less complicated (though not THAT simple) and for me right now, this makes PSF allot more fun! I reckon' PSF will become for me what I thought JetFighter IV would be, the no-brainer FUN game. Now JetFighter IV (and especially V) seems silly to me, while PSF is still very...respectable.
I guess what I'm saying is that PSF isn't leaving my hard drive any time soon (if ever). Getting my feet wet with Falcon makes me appreciate that I have a game as good as PSF to "relax" with. Now, if only Pretzel could give us a thunderstorm in this game...
P.S. It took me about 48 hours and allot of coffee to properly complete the Falcon "dance". You have to REALLY pay close attention to all of the "steps". After successfully completing the dance many times over and with all possible scenarios (F4, F4+108, F4+108+SP3, F4+108+SP3+FF2+BMS, etc. etc.), I backed up each installation using a Norton Ghost image. Hopefully, I'm done dancing. Whew! .