843rd played so far

Genre: Flight Simulation
Platform: Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Project Aces
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games

This entry on the list is the first I’ve heard of the Ace Combat series, a flight simulator series that takes place in its own fictional universe, rather than the (alternate) history of games like IL-2 Sturmovik. Instead we deal with Emmeria and Estovakia and other places with names that sound vaguely East European but don’t actually exist – not quite as bizarre (for me) as Valkyria Chronicles‘ use of Dutch names, but it feels on the edge of what seems real to me.

Our Thoughts

Ace Combat 6 starts off well. While I have played several other flight sims by now, this is the first tutorial I played where I felt I actually understood pitch and roll well enough that I feel good going forward. There’s a snag in the second tutorial where it’s not clear that you have to stall, but beyond that it’s a good tutorial, teaching everything you need while not staying around for too long – more in depth tutorials unlock later, but it stays out of the way.

That leads into some decently sized missions, not too short, but not as long as they get in other games – they feel like the right length. These are connected by an anime-styled story that explains the start and progress of the war that the game revolves around. It makes the story a lot more personal – while in other games you’re a nameless pilot, here you have a name, wing mates and, most effectively, a family that you lose touch with for part of the family. You still don’t see much of yourself, but the way it tells the story of this country is really effective.

Later missions up the stakes – requiring you to, for example, only focus on finishing a few of your list of objectives, as well as giving some other upgrades. There’s also a full video replay of the missions you play, which feels quite impressive considering the size of these missions.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot more to unpack in this game, but there’s something especially compelling about the way it tells its story. It was more affecting than I expected and I hope it will pay off further as I keep playing.