Consoleation Special: The Ace Combat Megaplay
Namco’s Ace Combat series has been one of my personal favorites. I have fond memories of playing Air Combat for the PlayStation just after the console launched back in 1995, but it was Ace Combat 2 that really captured my attention and made me the fan that I am today. Ace Combat 2 was just one of the many quality titles that came out for the PlayStation in 1997. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, PaRappa the Rapper, Rage Racer, Intelligent Cube, Colony Wars, and Final Fantasy VII all competed for playing time back then, but Ace Combat 2 kept drawing me back with its arcade-style gameplay and intense sorties. It was Top Gun without the over-the-top characters and real-world setting, and that suited me just fine.
After a stumble with the US version of Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere on the PlayStation in 2000, Namco then delivered three fantastic Ace Combat games for the PlayStation 2. Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies landed on the PlayStation 2 in the fall of 2001 and is arguably the best entry in the series. Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War hit three years later in 2004, followed by an Unsung War semi-sequel called Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War in the spring of 2006. The series really came into its own on the PlayStation 2 platform and these three games are among my overall favorites. Namco then pulled a surprise and released Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation for the Xbox 360 (instead of the PlayStation 3) in the fall of 2007. I never completed Ace Combat 6, but the scope of the battles was larger than anything seen in the series before. Finally, last October, Namco released a non-numbered Ace Combat game called Ace Combat: Assault Horizon for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. Assault Horizon drew some inspiration from Call of Duty and implemented some new gameplay ideas.
As we prepare to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Ace Combat 2 in May, I’m going to be playing each of these eight games in order and will be posting something about each game individually. These won’t be reviews, but will instead be impressions of my time with each game. I’m looking forward to playing through each of these games over the next few weeks and sharing my experiences with you.
The first sortie takes off with Air Combat this week. It’s time to kick the tires and light the fires.