Review: Ace Combat 7

There it is, Ace combat 7: Skies Unknown. It's been 5 years since we were allowed to play the last Ace Combat game. Does Skies Unknown live up to that hype? We'll find out!

In 2017, during Gamescom, I was on a mission to play the PlayStation VR. Here I found a booth where I could try the VR with Ace combat 7. This worked great and was sold immediately. After a year and a half of waiting, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown finally came out.

Story

Like every Ace Combat game, this one also takes place in a fictional world called Strangereal. The story is about the fight between Osea and Erusea. You are a fighter pilot in prison and placed in a suicide squad. I can't say much more about it. I tried to follow interest but after 5 missions I skipped. If you know me then you know that a lot has to happen before I skip the story. A long nagging about the political and military strategy of two countries at war that couldn't keep my attention. It will be different for fans of the franchise who have played every game.
The game consists of 20 missions that provide an average throughput time of 14 hours.

Playstation VR

As mentioned before, you can play Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown with the PlayStation VR. And how crazy is this. It is better to follow your target in a dogfight and as soon as you are in the action you are completely absorbed in the world. Unfortunately it's only 3 special missions. I would have liked to see the entire game playable with VR. You can only play these missions a few times before they become uninteresting. Nevertheless, this is a perfect taste of what Ace Combat can be with VR and they may come with a full VR game in the future.

Controls

Something that is of course very important in a flight game are the controls. In Ace Combat 7, players have the option to switch between standard and expert controls. The main difference between the two is what the left stick does. By default, L3 turns the jet left or right. If you use an expert the jet will roll left and right and you will have to work up and down to make a turn. Keep an eye on it! Do you want to play multiplayer then play the single player directly with expert controls. This is because you can only play with expert controls in multiplayer.
My only regret is that I can't really change the button layout in the game. For example, you can fire your special weapon with 'round' on the Playstation or 'B' on Xbox, change your weapon with square or X and choose a different target with triangle or Y. Personally, I would have liked to be able to change these 3 so that it makes more sense to me.

Gameplay

Last year's craze is also reflected in Ace Combat 7. I'm referring to extensive weather conditions. This is therefore widely used. So you have sandstorms, lightning, heavy winds and more. For example, if you fly in a sandstorm, your radar will no longer work properly or you will be hit by lightning and your weapon systems will temporarily fail. It's funny at first, but after a while it becomes irritating. Sometimes even so annoying that it spoils the fun.

The difficulty settings are fine in the game. With easy and normal you have infinite gun ammo and you can easily get rid of rockets. The latter has been different and makes the game a lot more accessible for all gamers.

jets

In total there are 29 jets. You get 2 in the beginning and you can buy the rest with mrp. Mrp can be earned in both single and multiplayer. The aircraft tree is also the same for both single and multiplayer. Everything you unlock and purchase in the single player you take with you to multiplayer. The aircraft tree looks good but I don't think it works well. For example, the properties of the jets have bars without numerical values. This does work if you can quickly flip between jets and see how the bars move. But due to the design of the aircraft tree this is not possible and it is very difficult to see the differences.

multiplayer

I think it falls short here too. There are only 2 modes available. These are team deathmatch and battle royale. The battle royale mode is nothing more than a regular deathmatch. Winning a battle royale comes down to points and you can respawn as much as you want. I don't think this has anything to do with a battle royale.
To balance the multiplayer battles a bit more, they have added a bounty system. Here the top 3 players get a bounty on their name so that you get extra points when hitting or shooting. This adds a layer of strategy to the multiplayer. This works better with team deathmatch than with battle royale. The battle royale is often very hectic and you hardly get the chance to play tactically when you continuously dodge missiles.

Graphics and sound

Ace Combat 7 looks pretty good. Sometimes when you fly low to the ground the game is a bit slower with rendering. I don't find this disturbing and in a fight you don't notice this anyway. Everything looks quite slick, but I still think that a little more could have been squeezed out.

A nice feature in the game is that you can follow a rocket that shoots you. Hold down the button that fires the rocket and you will fly in third person. Be careful that your jet does not fly towards the ground in the meantime.
The sounds in the game are fine and can't be faulted. There is almost continuous talk through the intercom. Way too much in my opinion. Sometimes there is important information in between, but because there is continuous talk you no longer pay attention to it and you sometimes miss something.

Verdict

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is an entertaining combat flight simulation game. But with the short playthrough time and the unknown story of the single player and the very limited VR, this game is more for the player who takes the fun out of the multiplayer. The multiplayer is a bit sparse but on the other hand very nice. Although a little practice is recommended, you can pick up the controller and throw yourself into the fight.


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