Why was Ace Combat Infinity closed

test - Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown : Comeback with turbulence

The hangar was closed for 12 long years. And some time has passed since the announcement of Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. Developer Project Aces was really not rushed, but apparently screwed deeply relaxed on the next chapter of his aerial combat saga. Of course, expectations rise ...

Campaign, multiplayer mode and (on PS4) VR missions form the playful framework. So let's start with the story. However, we don't mean the actual story of Ace Combat 7, because it fits on a beer mat: One hostile continent attacks the other, and because its air force is badly decimated after a while, a few outcasts and prisoners have to get into the cockpit save the situation. This is garnished with pathetic sayings and a permanent “flying is cool” attitude. So overall nothing new for the series.

But in the end it doesn't matter, after all, since its PS1 debut in 1995, the Ace Combat series has not stood for great stories, but for classy dogfights with loads of kills and wild evasive maneuvers. It's not about simulation, it's about arcade action. Nevertheless, developer Projekt Aces does not completely dispense with realistic influences in part 7, but more on that later.

Highway to the Danger Zone

The preparation of the individual missions is always the same: After a cutscene, the actual briefing follows, which consists of a lot of blah blah. You can then read the really important things in one sentence - usually the aim is to get enemy fighters out of the sky and / or to take out ground targets. You then choose your jet according to the requirements. At the beginning you only have one machine to choose from, but new ones are added quickly. It is a mixture of real and fictional aircraft. Some you unlock through the progress of your campaign, but most of them want to be bought.

The better your rank is after completing a mission, the more MRP points you will receive as a reward. These in turn flow into said machines, which have different strengths in areas such as speed, maneuverability or defense. This is followed by the armaments available that can also be bought: while the F-16C, for example, can fire up to four flying targets at the same time thanks to the 4AAM missiles, the LACM cruise missiles of the Gripen E are ideal for the Attack on positions on the ground. Common to all aviators are a machine gun with unlimited ammunition and a large number of homing missiles.

In addition, you buy parts that can be used to improve flight characteristics. Unlike the weapons, you can attach these upgrades to any aircraft. However, each machine can only hold a limited number of them - imagine the whole thing similar to the perk system of the Call of Duty games. In this way you can strengthen your missiles or make the steel eagle more agile. Once you've put everything together, it's in the air!

Stormy times

The campaign is varied: you fight enemy fighters and unmanned drones, bomb ground targets such as missile positions and radar systems or fly under enemy radar. Every now and then you have to protect allies from being shot down. Each task extends over at least two sections, between which there is a checkpoint. To do this, every mission has to be completed within a time limit, sometimes a certain number of points still has to be achieved.

The fights take place in the desert, over the open sea or in the mountains. The presentation of the areas and aircraft is one of the graphic strengths of Ace Combat 7. Owners of a 4K TV are happy about a higher resolution, which is particularly beneficial for the foresight. In contrast, vehicles and buildings appear somewhat coarse textured overall. However, this is hardly significant, as you only notice them briefly when you fly by.

You quickly learn that Ace Combat 7 is not a sure-fire success. The level of difficulty selected at the beginning (easy, normal, difficult) cannot be changed during the course of the campaign - so make an honest assessment of whether you are a real flying ace or a complete beginner. Because even at the easy level, flying around wildly and firing at it doesn't get you any further.

You have to catch enemy fighters and even more the nimble drones at the right moment, otherwise your missiles will crash into the void despite target locking. As if that wasn't difficult enough in combination with the time limit, an enemy missile is stuck to your rear almost all the time. Your decoys are limited, so constant evasion is mandatory. This in turn makes it difficult to keep relevant goals in focus.

This gets even trickier when different weather conditions come into play. Visually and acoustically, these are the highlight of the game, but also a great danger. Heavy rain makes it difficult to see, especially if you are flying from one of the two cockpit perspectives. If you climb too high, the wings will ice up, which will prevent maneuvering after a while.

In the middle of a thunderstorm, lightning can hit the aircraft, which massively disrupts the entire on-board electronics. No less dangerous are stalls that cause your plane to sink suddenly - this is particularly unfavorable during a low flight just a few meters above the ground. Because collisions, whether with a rock or another machine, are almost always your end. Then you start the section from the beginning.

So that you still have your machine under control, there are two control variants to choose from: Standard allows you to simply sweep your aircraft to the left and right, but does not allow evasive rolls. The Expert setting provides a more realistic feeling: This enables overhead maneuvers, for example. At the same time, this variant noticeably increases the demands, because you have to concentrate more on the flight altitude and direction. The other key assignments are identical and quickly understood, but unfortunately not freely configurable.

Above the clouds ...

... freedom is not limitless - at least when it comes to Ace Combat 7. True to its arcade orientation, the title gives you a pretty tight corset that you can only fit into with perseverance and willingness to learn. Because the campaign hardly lets you off the leash. Instead, it is important to internalize the flow of a mission and focus on what is required of you. In addition to the right aircraft and equipment, you also need a schedule or, better, a flight plan.

An example: In an early mission, you have to achieve a specified number of points by killing them within the time limit. To do that, it is necessary to hit the targets not only quickly, but also in a certain order. If, for example, bombers that bring in a lot of points can take off from a runway and take off, you will lose unnecessary time in the subsequent hunt for them. Unlike in the cutscenes, you should always listen to the announcements over the radio, because they give you tips or draw your attention to dangers. Unfortunately you only hear all of this in English, but at least German subtitles can be switched on.

Nevertheless, one regularly feels left alone and does not understand why the task fails repeatedly. Was i too slow? Have I overlooked something? Usually you only get the hang of it after several repetitions. This learning process ranges from exhausting to downright frustrating. Another problem: You can almost never change weapons or aircraft during a mission. In the first section, you effectively use bombs against ground targets, but in section 2 you should then fetch lightning-fast fighters from the sky. You only have the standard armament, although you have helpful air-to-air missiles in your arsenal.

VR missions: the only thing missing is the ejection seat!

One of the best virtual reality experiences to date is hidden behind the VR menu item. The immersion in the three special missions is great: you take a seat in the cockpit, in front of you the joystick and loads of instruments. If you use a flight stick, the pilot feeling increases even further. In the air you maneuver the jet with enormous dynamics to target enemies or to avoid their fire.

Since you can only play with expert control, you should prepare yourself for numerous roles and overhead maneuvers - the resulting feeling of being in the middle is awesome! However, if you have a weak stomach or even suffer from motion sickness, you will reach your limits after just a few twists and turns. But if you can take a lot in virtual reality, we put the VR mode on the pilot's heart. Playful and audiovisual, it is a blast and therefore first-class demo material for the advantages of the technology.

Our impressions of the multiplayer mode will follow shortly after the game's release.

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