Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is the latest entry in the 20 plus year franchise history. Developed by Bandai Namco Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is not the 7th game in the series but the 17th. It was fist announced in 2015 and saw a delay from its initial 2017 targeted release date.
Available for both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown features timed exclusive PlayStation VR missions. Does Bandai Namco’s latest entry in the series have the same great storytelling and explosive gameplay that the Ace Combat franchise is known for? Let’s find out and see!
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Details
Platform: PlayStation 4 (VR mode included) and Xbox One
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Genre: Combat flight simulator
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Robust campaign mode with dramatic storytelling
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown takes the series back to the fiction world of Strangereal. Where, we are once again thrust into a conflict between two nations, the Osean Federation and the Kingdom of Erusea. You assume the role of Trigger, an esteemed pilot, who has been wrongfully accused of a terrible crime.
Because of this, Trigger is punished by being sent to the Spare Squadron—a penal military unit. Meanwhile, The Kingdom of Erusea has declared war on the Osean Federation and all hell breaks loose. During your journey, you meet Avril Mead, a plane mechanic and Count—Trigger’s wingman.
What I enjoyed about Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown‘s story is that it tells the tale of two nations at war from each of their perspectives. The game does a good job of blurring the lines between what is good and what is bad. I was really impressed with the just how intricate the story is for a combat flight simulator. It was a lot better than what I was expecting.
A near perfect blend of Arcade and Sim action
As you might have guessed, gameplay in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown takes place in airplanes. More precisely, in the cockpit of modern, realistic jet fighters. The game is spread over 20 missions, which range from escorting allies, to wiping out ground forces to clear the way for an allied assault. All while near perfectly blending both arcade and simulation flawlessly.
What I mean by this is that you don’t have to worry about things such as fueling or repairing your plane. As a result, this makes the game more appealing to a wider audience that isn’t looking for a simulation experience. It also means that you get to the action a lot faster and in my opinion makes the game that much more fun and enjoyable.
Controlling your plane is really intuitive and enemies flash on your screen making them easy to see and take out with your machine guns, heat-seeking missiles or special weapon that you have equipped. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown introduces weather elements to shake things up. Watch out for thunderstorms and lighting!
You can also unlock various different upgrades, planes and special weapons by using MRP that you earn in game. This allows you to customize and power up your jet fighter how you want to.
Photo realistic visuals and a fully orchestrated score
It’s been 12 years since the last traditional game in the series, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation. Unsurprisingly, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown looks better than its predecessor by leaps and bounds. From the dynamic cloud cover and weather effects, to the particle effects when an enemy is destroyed—it is impressive what Bandai Namco has accomplished.
The game’s HUD gives you all the pertinent information you need and makes tracking down the enemy a breeze. Moreover, the game’s musical score is superb. There are plenty of moments that the game’s orchestral soundtrack adds a dramatic climax that will leave your heart pounding.
Sparse yet exciting multiplayer fun
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown‘s multiplayer mode currently only features two modes—Battle Royale and Team Deathmatch. There is a total of 5 maps to play on and each mode lasts in the neighbourhood of 5 minutes. Sadly, each mode only supports up to 8 players at a time.
Battle Royale is everyone for themselves and is my favourite of the two modes. Taking down or damaging high-ranked players will net you a ton of points and can take you from the bottom of the pack to near the top in an instant. When the timer runs out, the player with the most points wins.
Team Deathmatch is 4v4 and features some pretty incredibly intense dogfights. It’s fun working together as a team trying to take down your enemies.
Exclusive content for PSVR owners
The PlayStation 4 version of the game comes with a VR mode containing 3 different missions. I’ve never flew an airplane let alone a jet fighter before in my life. Though, after playing these 3 missions on PlayStation VR, I certainly feel like I have. You have a complete 360-degree view of the action and it is intense.
Words alone cannot describe just how real everything feels. I could feel my body actually leaning from side to side as I was engaged in combat. It did take a few minutes to get fully adjusted to my surroundings before I felt totally comfortable. A few times I did feel a bit light headed. Though, a short break and some cool water quickly resolved it.
If you have a PSVR and have ever wondered what it would be like to fly an ultra fast and hyper realistic jet fighter, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown will quickly ease your curiosity.
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown brings the series back to its roots
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown brings the series back to its roots and is undeniably the best in the franchise. I was impressed by the depth and intricate story that it tells along with a near perfect blend of arcade and simulation gameplay. Missions are varied enough to keep things feeling fresh and controlling your plane is very intuitive. There are a few times during the campaign where the level of difficulty spikes, which could cause some frustration for newcomers.
Although there are currently only two multiplayer modes and a limit of up to 8 players, what’s there is fun and entertaining. The 3 VR missions included on the PlayStation 4 version of the game are stunning. The sense of realism and speed are second to none.
If you have an interest in flight sims with near perfectly blended arcade elements, you will seriously want to consider checking out Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. You will not be disappointed!
+ Excellent blend of Arcade and Sim action
+ Varying mission types
+ Ability to unlock new planes and upgraded weapons
+ Story is surprisingly good for the genre
+ VR mode will blow your mind
– Difficulty spikes
– Game ships with only 2 multiplayer modes
– AI wingmates aren’t there for you when you really need them
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF ACE COMBAT 7: SKIES UNKNOWN
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4.1/5 (82%)
Get Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for PlayStation 4
Buy Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Digital Download for PlayStation 4
Purchase Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Deluxe Edition Digital Download for PlayStation 4
Get Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Season Pass Digital Download for PlayStation 4
Buy Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for Xbox One
Purchase Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Digital Download for Xbox One
Get Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Deluxe Edition Digital Download for Xbox One
Buy Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Season Pass Digital Download for Xbox One