OK so I've got through quite a few different a/c and mission now.
This sim is more IL-2 than LOMAC or Falcon. Dogfights are the order of the day most often gun fights as the missiles miss, a lot.
You need to manuver carefully behind your enemy to get the early sidewinders to work and even then they might not. It's a good thing though you'll be turnin n burnin, boomin n zoomin no worrying about A-pole, F-pole, dragging or engaging multiple targets BVR. Most of the time you'll be burners on trying to drag off your enemy or diving in on him if he's not looking.
The flyables are all american a/c from the best time of jet combat IMO, you get the raw power of the phantom or the agility of the A-4 the flight models aren't a patch on IL-2 or LOMAC but they convey a decent feeling of rightness for the aircraft they portray. The Phantom for instance is great if you can keep the speed up, it doesn't turn fast but you can BnZ with the best in it. It's hard to stall or spin but if you really abuse the A/C the FM will still bite you, again nothing like as good as IL-2 or LOMAC but decent.
A couple of handling characteristics really stand out:
1.You can get "behind the curve" in the big wing a/c like the phantom, meaning you get too slow to keep turning effectively, you'll lose the turn fight and you have no more energy to speed away until you come out of the turn or dive away. You gotta stay out of that zone in the big a/c.
2.You can roll or you can pitch up/down, doing both at once near the limit will start to stall out your controls and basically you turn slower. Engage brain then turn.
The default graphics are ok, the new pits look good as do the a/c models but the terrain is a bit boring. I installed the "Strike Fighters 2: Vietnam Air and Ground Expansion Pack" which includes new flyable a/c new terrain and updated missions etc. Overall the new mod takes the sim to a new level, it actually looks good. An example:
However the same mod also comes with some graphical glitches and strangeness, the trees clip through the fog effect sometimes:
Not really a huge issue for me but some may find it an immersion killer I guess.
Whats really cool in the mod (not sure about the stock game as I only played it stock a few days) is the campaign random encounters with enemy and friendly flights that are unrelated to your mission. It's hardly Falcon 4 in that department but I have twice now come across enemy aircraft landing after a mission, easy kills but it does add to the feeling that it's not all about you and there is actually a war on. Often though in the single missions (as opposed to campaign) the map does feel very empty (Like IL-2 empty). There is no multi in the new versions, not something that worries me but take note.
Basically if you would be happy flying a "dynamic" IL-2 campaign with Vietnam era a/c, dogfighting much like IL-2 and aren't worried about a deep a meaningful campaign or super fidelity flight models then spend the $28 and pick up one of these new versions of the thirdwire sims. SF2:Vietnam runs perfectly stable on my win7x64 machine so it should be stable on anything.