Few people have the privilege of being able to cross the skies with a supersonic fighter, but fortunately there are games that allow us to know a little about what this feeling is like. The new game in Bandai Namco’s air battle simulation franchise, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, is one of them and has been highly anticipated by fans who have long been waiting for another title from the main line of this saga instead of another spinoff. Expectations were high, but were they met or even exceeded? This you check now!

Ace Combat 7 introduces you to a war involving two fictional nations, Osea and Erusea. You are a rookie pilot on one side of the conflict who gains renown according to your actions in battle. Although the story has surprises and even manages to reach good moments at times, it is confusing, does not attract much attention and because of that you end up losing interest after a certain time. What will keep you playing is not it, but the very well executed and addictive arcade gameplay present in the game.

If you like this series or are simply a fan of those hunting games from the 90’s, you’ll feel right at home. There are two types of specific controls – one aimed at those who have never played this type of game and another for those who are already used to titles of this genre. If you, like me, are in the second group, choose the advanced controls option, because believe me, with it you get much more freedom when it comes to maneuvering your fighter.

Although the first missions do not have anything special, as they serve more as a tutorial than anything else, the others will always provide you with some challenge that, when overcome, will give you a very good feeling of achievement. There are stages where you need to worry about weather conditions, as they affect not only your plane’s control and visibility, but also your effectiveness when it comes to attacking enemies. Entering a storm cloud can freeze your fighter or even have him hit by lightning, which “fry” his systems for a few seconds, leaving him unable to aim or use his weapons properly. There are times when you have no choice but to fly through places where the flying conditions are far less than ideal, which considerably increases the difficulty and requires you to pay attention to your surroundings, as well as the things right in front of you. your eyes. Making smart use of radar is also crucial to gaining an advantage in these situations.

The variety of missions is satisfying, involving tasks such as having to shoot down ground targets in the middle of a sandstorm; destroy enemy platforms in the ocean; escort allies; fly below the clouds to avoid being detected by a very effective anti-aircraft system, while having to destroy certain targets and even maneuver your fighter through a narrow canyon without being detected so that you can carry out a surprise attack on the enemy base .

Something that was missing is an option to be able to give orders to your squadmates, who are all controlled at all times by artificial intelligence, which does not always act the way you would like, often giving you the impression that you are flying alone , Without help. Another thing that could be better is the checkpoint system. For you to make use of it, you need to advance a lot in the objectives of each mission. There are even some stages where you can spend several minutes playing, die, and because you haven’t managed to progress enough to reach the autosave point, you’ll be forced to do it all over again. Something like this can end up frustrating less patient players or those who are used to games where progress is saved almost all the time.

Customization is another very interesting aspect of Ace Combat 7. As you progress through the story, you receive points that can be exchanged for more powerful planes, along with weapons and parts that make them better. Before taking off, it is important to pay attention to what you are going to do in the next mission, in order to equip your fighter with the most appropriate weapons. Not that this is essential for you to succeed, but it makes your life much easier to choose the right equipment for each mission.

The multiplayer surprised me positively, because although it is simple, having only two modes – the classic deathmatch (here called “Royal Battle”) and team deathmatch – it works in an exemplary way. In the games I played I had no connection or latency issues and I had a lot of fun shooting down other players’ fighters (and getting knocked down). I particularly hope that Bandai Namco pays more attention to online through updates, as it is very good and has the potential to be even better.

Another cool thing is that the points and most things obtained playing the campaign can be used in multiplayer, which even has its own unlockables. Just like in the single player mode, playing online also serves to obtain the points used in the purchase of fighters, weapons and parts.

Graphically Ace Combat 7 fulfills its role well, showing stunning visuals. However, from time to time it is possible to notice low quality textures in the scenarios, but nothing that drastically compromises the look, since most of the time you will be busy facing your enemies and you will barely be able to pay attention to these details.

Although there is no dubbing in Portuguese, everything else is localized, with subtitles and interface in our language, which helps in following the story and also in understanding the names used to describe maneuvers and aviation equipment that are present in the game.

Performance on PS4 Pro, the console where I played the game, is very good, staying at 60 fps almost the entire time. Unfortunately when there is a lot of action on the screen, it is possible to notice drops in the frame rate, but it is something that only lasts a few seconds and does not affect the gameplay negatively. I can’t say the same about the other consoles since I didn’t have the opportunity to play the game on them.

The soundtrack is another aspect where Ace Combat 7 stands out. Although it doesn’t have any remarkable music, the kind that stick in your mind or that you feel like listening to over and over again, the ones that are there help complement the setting according to each situation, leaving you focused on what’s happening on the screen.

PlayStation VR owners will be able to enjoy a bonus in the form of missions made exclusively to be played on it, this being unquestionably one of the best uses of the PS4’s virtual reality headset. A great quality add-on that you should take advantage of as soon as you get the chance. My experience with this, however, is based on opportunities I’ve had to play this way at events I’ve been invited to and the game was available to play with the Sony accessory, as I personally don’t own a PS VR.

Conclusion

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is a great return to this magnificent series from Bandai Namco, which was very successful in the past and shows that it still has a lot to offer. Despite the boring story, the gameplay is so good that you can’t wait to get in your fighter and start the next mission. The multiplayer mode, although simple, works well, is fun and guarantees greater longevity to the game after the single player campaign is over. A game that is very worthwhile for anyone who is a fan of this genre.

pros

+ addictive gameplay
+ Great feeling of achievement after completing certain objectives in missions
+ Fun multiplayer with a lot of potential
+ beautiful graphics
+ One of the best uses of PlayStation VR

cons

– Poorly implemented checkpoint system
– Dull and confusing story

A PS4 copy of the game was provided by Bandai Namco for the writing of this review.