BGS Hands-on – Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
The Ace Combat games are an acquired taste, but those who are really into those titles, as well as most combat flight simulators, hold them dearly. It’s been a while since I last played an Ace Combat game. The Xbox 360 exclusive Fires of Liberation must have been the only one. Suffice to say, the announcement of a brand new current-gen Ace Combat got me really excited. The announcement of it having VR-exclusive missions were the reason I got a PSVR in the first place. The announcement that a playable demo was going to be available at Sony’s booth at Brasil Game Show 2018 made me cheer in excitement. Here’s my thoughts of the Ace Combat 7 demo.
While the demo was short and I couldn’t properly hear the immense amounts of dialogue being uttered by all the characters due to the weak headphones available at the game station (same issue I’ve previously mentioned on my Trover Saves the Universe article), it was enough to showcase Ace Combat 7‘s gameplay and technical performance.
First of all, technical performance. Ace Combat 7 did not impress me visually. Maybe it was the fact the demo was set in a very barren desert, or maybe it was just an earlier build, but there wasn’t a lot going on in the map for me to be impressed. In a way, I thought this was some compromise caused by the inclusion of a VR mode in somewhat weak hardware when compared to beefed-up PCs that can stand a Vive or a Rift. Then again, this didn’t mean the game didn’t run well. The framerate was always very high and constant, even with tons of enemy fighters, missiles, and exploding buildings onscreen. In a game like this, where you’ll constantly fly around at supersonic speeds, I’m way more interested to see the framerate be consistent and the sensation of speed and being high up, than being greeted to a visual spectacle.
Besides the great framerate, Ace Combat 7‘s gameplay felt great. Since it has been a long time since I last played one of those games, I stuck to the more “casual” and Rogue Squadron-esque control scheme and in no time I was barrel-rolling and showering enemy strongholds with hot lead and gunpowder. The analog triggers acted as thrust and brakes, the shoulder buttons were an additional turning mechanism, and the face buttons were my arsenal. Simple as that. I was soon destroying everything in sight without a sweat up until I was greeted with the good ol’ “thank you for playing” screen.
I haven’t had the chance to test Ace Combat 7 in VR, but I am already glad with what I saw in a normal PS4. Graphical fidelity has been slightly compromised in favor of an always high framerate, even when there are tons of buildings and enemy vehicles onscreen. Scheduled for an early January 2019 release date, I can safely say Ace Combat 7 will be the first big hit for the next year. Now excuse me, I need to buy some Kenny Loggins CDs, get a Maverick suit, and prepare myself.