Let’s face it all: flight simulators are not going through a exactly golden period. Niche ones, dedicated to just a small circle of enthusiasts, are always there, in their place, with even quite recent incarnations. But there is not something that targets a wider audience, except perhaps World of Warplanes or War Thunder, which are free-to-play titles. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown cannot be called a naked and raw simulator, because some mechanics are obviously arcade, but its being halfway between two worlds, the simulative one and the more arcade one, makes it perfect for talking about a genre that thanks to modern gaming platforms would still have much to offer.
Ace Combat 7 takes advantage of some of the innovations that have been gradually introduced in the series by adding something new, more simulative for the note. Starting from the story and the setting, this seventh chapter is again set in an alternative version of the Earth (usually called ” Strangereal “), with different geographical areas and countries. And here again we find one of the key events that has disrupted the geopolitical structure of the planet: the arrival of a giant asteroid, destroyed thanks to the super-codenamed name ” Stonehenge “, which however with the debris resulting from its explosion has put several nations on their knees. In the game we take on the role of a pilot known only by his battle name, Trigger, who is involved in a new conflict between the nations of Osea, Erusea and Usea. The citations to the previous chapters are therefore wasted, and this can only please those who have always followed (or almost) the series. Even novices, however, will find enough material to understand more or less how things are.
The fact is that Ace Combat 7 does not limit itself to proposing a series of missions of increasing difficulty. The game interviews the various levels with cutscenes that in fact fit the whole in a plot, with characters that evolve and stories that intertwine. Ultimately a beautiful war story, it’s up to you to discover how Trigger, or the player himself, will fit into the various contexts that will be created, how the character will evolve and what role he will have in the current war theater.
We come finally to the gameplay. This seventh chapter is extremely respectful of its predecessors, but nevertheless returns to focus solely on the pilot, effectively removing all the components concerning wingman management. Not that the teammates are missing during the missions, but in fact they will act completely autonomously, without following your commands. On the front of the controls and the difficulty there is something to please everyone. There are two ways to control the aircraft: easy , with the aircraft that follows the controls given by analogue levers with expert simplicity, and expert, which requires roll and pitch management to tack. If you have never approached the saga it is obviously recommendable the first mode, the second allows more precise maneuvers, but it is not at all easy to manage.
There are three selectable difficulty levels , and we assure you that with the first (Easy) in the last missions you will have more than enough discs to peel. The missions that make up the campaign are 20 in all , characterized by variable duration and different objectives that will require aircraft and different approaches. Even the structure of the missions recalls the previous chapters, but it is now a tradition. Almost all the main chapters of the series have references to the previous ones, and even in these missions you will find points in common with those of the past.
There are about 30 aircraft to be unblocked (including those related to pre-orders), and they are organized in a rather broad technological tree. There is nothing particularly sci-fi, except the X-02 Wyvern, an aircraft also in this historical case that made its debut in the 4th chapter of the saga. All are reproduced in great detail, including a nacelle. In fact, you will be able to pilot and visualize the passenger compartment, significantly improving the sensation of simulation and immersion. For each aircraft there are two special weapons to unlock and various components that can be used on any aircraft in your hangar. In fact, it will therefore be possible to customize them with a selection of components that will enhance individual or multiple statistics of the aircraft you intend to use. For example, you can benefit from special weapons at the expense of classic ones, improve acceleration or deceleration and so on. There are obviously liveries and logos, but you will have to finish the campaign to unlock them.
The aircraft are divided into classes: fighter , fighter and bomber . Obviously it is up to you to adapt to the situations proposed by the mission by opting for one model rather than another. The planes, however, will be unlocked with the credits earned through the missions themselves, so it will always be up to you to follow a branch rather than another to unlock perhaps a more versatile fighter-bomber able to help you with hybrid missions. It must be said that the differences in piloting between aircraft are felt all right, whether they are aircraft belonging to different classes, whether they are aircraft with different technical specifications.
Ace Combat 7 – Final Judgment – A nice 9 full. Yes because in the end Ace Combat 7does not differ much from those that are the canons of the series, but there are however various details to be rewarded. To begin with, the desire to bring the saga to the current generation, with new graphic effects, realistic and detailed models and a new eye on physics and the interaction of aircraft with air and its variables. The structure of the campaign shouldalso be praised, with classic missions interspersed with high-quality CGI clips that enrich the whole with details on the background and with characters who have their say throughout the game.