For the last three years Ace Combat 7 has been nothing more than a dream. I was waiting for it without ever truly realizing that it would one day be real and something that I could actually play. This is by far the longest I’ve waited for something to happen and the most anticipation for that something that I’ve ever had.
As some of you may or may not know, I happen to be a bit of a fan of the Ace Combat franchise, which is probably the largest understatement that I could possibly make here. That is perhaps why you are here reading now this review, because you might be curious on my thoughts on the game. Who am I kidding? There’s no way anyone is actually interested enough to read this far.
So here we go.
We’re going to start with the gameplay, because that’s what I said.
So someone at IGN (presumably) played the game and (definitely) wrote a review, because that’s kind of their thing over there. They’re also infamous for writing really shit reviews, so it should come as no surprise that their review for Ace Combat 7 is not great. I’m assuming that whoever wrote it has never played a game in the series before because when I skimmed it I don’t remember him ever mentioning it, and I would go check but their website is so laggy and awful and terrible that I really can’t be bothered right now. The review essentially boiled down to “Game is too hard. Doesn’t ‘innovate’. Too much flying and explosions. 7/10.” Brilliant, thank you, IGN.
Alright, so let’s take a look at the first part. He specifically mentioned how there is no tutorial in the game, which I would both concede as a point and refute. There is in fact no tutorial. They do, however, tell you how to control the plane. Throughout the first mission there would be yellow text at the top of the screen saying “press right-bumper to accelerate”, “use the left stick to turn”, “perform a high-G turn by holding both bumpers”, etc. They teach you how to control the plane, but not how to fly the plane, if that makes any sense. I assume Project Aces figured out that controlling a plane is intuitive enough, or you’ll figure it out quickly enough. Either way, I don’t think that the lack of a tutorial would be a hurdle for new players. Here’s all the buttons, now go kill things. What else do you need?
Now onto the difficulty – this game is hard. Like actually difficult at times. I’ve always wished Ace Combat games were hard, because even on ‘Ace’ difficulty I felt as though I barely had to think in order to carve a path of suffering through my enemies. Ace Combat 4 featured a certain number of missions where you would have a designated score that you would have to reach in the time limit, those missions disappeared in 5 and made a comeback twice in Zero, now showing up again in 7. I would regularly get double, triple, or more of the score that I needed within the time given, and usually the difficulty came from trying not to slam into the ground after finishing the objective because I was trying to fly upside-down between buildings, but in AC7 I actually had to do a bit of thunking in order to achieve the objective score.
There’s also the hardest “fly through a ravine” mission the series has ever had since in every other the ravine is so wide that you really can’t hit anything unless you’re not paying attention or really screw up, but this time not only did you have to navigate a ravine that was at times just wider than your plane, you had to do that while also dodging moving search-lights. It’s an interesting additional challenge, but maybe doesn’t make narrative sense since you’re trying to avoid detection while flying several feet away from an occupied watch tower going several hundred miles an hour. I’m guessing that guy probably heard you. So yeah, it’s hard. It’s glorious.
Lastly, the stupidest point – “innovation.” Sorry, IGN guy, but you’re dead fucking wrong on this one. “Innovation” is how we end up with the eldritch horror that is Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. An Ace Combat game is an Ace Combat game, and while it is true that games that rely too much on a core formula can get stale over-time, there is more to a game than the gameplay, but moreover – they actually did “innovate” and change the core formula in big ways that have a massive effect on gameplay. The biggest example being the clouds. There are clouds in AC6, and they don’t actually do anything. They’re not very big, and they’re white. That’s it. In AC7 the clouds are massive, change your view out the cockpit, change the sounds you’re hearing, and make it both easier to lose enemies and harder to lock on. The clouds are kind of a big deal here. You might go blindly crashing into a cliff because you couldn’t see it, or start icing up and stall out, or eat a bolt of lightning and lose your HUD, forcing you to try and dog-fight without any idea where the enemy actually is around you.
There’s also the missions that happen after Battle for Farbanti where you have no IFF, so all targets on the map appear as yellow ‘Unknowns’. You can lock onto the unknowns as soon as you’re in range, but you have to get close and maintain line of sight with them for a few seconds before you know whether or not they’re friendly or an enemy, so yes, you could absolutely kill the shit out of some friendlies on the ground. That’s also different.
Oh, and there’s ya’ know. The VR mode. Boom, innovation.
I could sit here and talk about each individual plot point and do all these things, but I can’t really be bothered. Some have said that it’s better than 6, but not as good as the Holy Trinity. I disagree, I love it. 9/10. Modders add a mission to save Brownie please thanks.
Some people said that the music wasn’t good, or that it wasn’t as good as other games in the Holy Trinity. I don’t know what to say other than you’re wrong.
MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE. MISSILE.
Uh… what else…
Yeah the Xbox is a pretty not great console so it runs at 720ish-p at 40ish FPS. That’s kind of not PA’s fault though because well… The Xbox just isn’t very powerful. On PC it will be nice and crispy and buttery-smooth.
Oh no, wait.
It has a multiplayer mode. I started playing worried my confidence would be shattered and I would discover that I wasn’t very good at the game at all.
Hahaha, that didn’t happen. I’m not very good at the free-for-all ‘battle royal’ mode, but that’s because I actually dodge missiles, so while I don’t get many kills, I also don’t get shot down. I’ve played team death-match four times and scored number one on my team all four times, winning exactly one of those games because the other three I had at least one teammate who did not score. I literally cannot carry any harder. On PC I’m changing my Steam username to Mister X and I’m going to put on a Sol Squadron skin. I assume there is a Sol Squadron skin.
I wish it had a co-op multiplayer mode a-la Ace Combat: Infinity. I despised AC:I for several reasons, but the gameplay was decent. They’ve said there will be DLC for this game so…
Hopefully… Kono-san please.
I’ve thought about AC7 a lot on the past three years. In fact, I have searched for news on it at least once a day, every day, since five days before it was officially announced. During that time, I’ve many times wondered how it was going to turn out. If I was going to be absolutely overjoyed, or if I was setting myself up for the largest disappointment in all of human history.
There were a few times that I dreamed what if…?
What if it surpassed my wildest hopes? What if it was a game capable of standing as an equal with the Holy Trinity themselves?
Well guess what.
I do so hereby declare the Holy Trinity to be dissolved, and from its ashes shall rise in its place: The Holy Quadrinity.
This review is in memory of dog.png, the best dog that ever did live. May the skies wherever he is flying be peaceful.
Ace Combat 8 when though, yeah?