The latest version of the Ace Combat saga is the last one: unique air battles, a very full campaign and lots of gameplay.
When we met Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown in San Francisco, I admit there was some skepticism: Assault horizonThe last big delivery of games has been burdened with problems on all fronts, from graphics to uncomfortable mode "fight dogs"who tried to make a more cinematic game that did not need it.
However, the surprise in this case was pleasant, with a game that seemed complete and which had the luxury of being over three years in development and not showing too much. A point of contact was enough to know that when it hits the market, you will not be disappointed.
As a result, many of our initial impressions have been confirmed in the final version; without putting aside that in our tests we've switched from PS4 Pro to the PS4 Slim demo version, so there are some differences.
Make a barrel!
Do you remember how weak and almost amateurish was what the Assault Horizon looked like? Well, the Asses of the project wore a shirt and turned the plane in the opposite direction. Heaven unknown It is beautiful, from a wide range of colors, through details in planes and distance to drawing, and even details of buildings and vegetation. The finish is noticeable thanks to generous development time and a large team for delivery.
Regarding gameplay, the approach is completely simulationthanks to the control that moves the game to the roots that we all remember – just like Ace Combat 5- and which take precedence over the mechanics and their complexity in front of the "cinema" experience.
This does not mean that it becomes less funny, because it is a simulator, on the contrary: managing a fighter plane reduced to its smallest expression has never been so easy. Maneuver in the air, avoid the missiles in the zero-G position and set up so that the enemies within range of shooting were incredibly natural after a few minutes.
Mechanism added thanks to the new generation of consoles It is the use of clouds. Now you can enter and use them to lose your opponents, but you risk freezing the plane and losing power, and it inevitably falls.
We'll find out about such accidents. Both freezing and air battles look much better from the cockpit view, otherwise.
Regarding efficiency, we have a surprise: although it reduces the resolution if you play on a normal PS4 or Xbox One, the difference of frames per second between versions is minimal. Even on PS4 Slim, on maps full of enemies and everywhere, there were no notorious losses coming as a stop below 50 fps.
A prison is never fun
Amazingly, One of the low points of Ace Combat 7 is his campaign: 20 very complete missions, with around 8-10 hours of gameplay that seemed to be short for the time invested. In other words, when history becomes interesting and missions become more important, the game ends.
The conflict stems from four unique perspectives. The first is Triggeror Ace of this game, another face-less character or too much story that is involved in the conflict between two powerful nations fighting for the supremacy of the Space Elevator, a project to reach new horizons and MacGuffin with Heaven unknown.
In this war context, Trigger is betrayed and deported to prison, where the chief discovers his talents on the plane and uses it to perform seemingly suicidal missions. From this uncertainty Ace it starts to gain fame and regains its status just at the moment when the federation osean he starts to turn his hand Erusea, its counterpart in the war.
Other characters that are not available for the game that complement the story are rather circumstantial and tell their version using cinematics: Queen of scrapwhich is in the same prison as Trigger, only for flying in a limited space; Princess from Eruseawho falls into disgrace when his kingdom is torn apart, and the scientist is the biggest antagonist of the game: Unmanned warships or UAVs.
An important part of the Ace Combat 7 game – trying not to fall into the territory spoilers– This is the arrival of ships with artificial intelligence to the world and its impact on war, both because of its superiority over people and origin. The conflict deserved a much more important headquarters, and the strength she sought was shortened very anticlimactic close.
It is worth mentioning that despite how short a game may seem, Missions are extremely difficult if you do not know what you are doing. Essentially, this is the curve that the game awaits: the first four missions aim to approximate as many mechanics as possible, and the others are responsible for destroying your tolerance for frustration through the mission of hiding, fighting by points and ships impossible to destroy.
In a similar way, you can make advances in the tree, which is probably is the most complex of the series so farwith ships known to us all – F-16 and MIG are basically a premise Top Gun– and quite spectacular additions, such as new models of modern warships and experimental aircraft that completely change your experience, especially in the final part of the game.
The truth is that by this time you avoid bullets with blindfolded eyes, which is the best preparation for the real challenge: multiplayer.
Let's do something right away: NetPlay Skies Unknown is wonderful. In all my games, with players from around the world, I have not experienced any crashes nor delay perceptible, which gives immediate positive points.
But efficiency in multiplayer mode has its drawbacks: in Japan Ace Combat is a consolidated franchise and has excellent ping with Japanese players – and getting into games with them – is disturbing, from their skills in the air to very clever thefts from the first places in the games.
From this moment on you are a good player, the race starts to reach the limit. Although there is a huge variety of weapons and aircraft, you'll realize it in everyone level there are planes that perform better in certain situations, and you improve and customize your playing style more and more. After all, it's been hours and you've got dizziness from pirouettes and the missile alarm sounds even in your nightmares.
There are two battle modes available: Team Deathmatch – two versus two or four versus four – and Battle Royale, where up to eight planes are hunted on more than ten maps. The Battle Royale variant may limit the use of special weapons and balance the terrain, using only bullets and submachine guns, but taking particular care of the average player's skills, care should be taken.
In any case, it is an excellent alternative to homogeneity multiplayer free-to-play which attack our consoles today.
The part that seems to be important in the PS4 version is compatibility with PSVR, and although this is just a complement to the game – three missions that are not in the campaign – it should be noted that for some of us it was the first approach to Ace Combat 7 a few years ago and the most spectacular.
There is a reason why many Skies Unknown players on the PC required support for wide screens: the immersion factor is essential in the aerial simulation game. In the case of PSVR, the immersion is complete, with an obvious low resolution, which is compensated by a spectacular view with a helmet, and missions that use the method to get all possible juices.
In fact, I would venture a venture Skies Unknown VR is one of the most entertaining experiences not very successful Sony add-on, which seems to survive based on these small batting in other games, instead of having a solid directory.
Let's land by a jet
Summarizing, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is too strong an alternative to letting it go. If you are one of those who like simulation games – and cars have already tired you last year – you can lean on them the hidden gem of this 2019who has returned in glory and majesty to the dignity that he deserves.
Even considering your mistakes – which, as we have seen, you have them – your addition to your library is justified, not only to play your campaign, but also to give multiplayer a lot of time, which, keeping in mind the fans of the game , it will remain solid and competitive. enough time.
A copy of the revision carried out by Bandai-Namco. PS Plus subscription for multiplayer and PSVR supported by PlayStation.