Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
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  • Namco
  • Namco
  • Action - Shooter - General, Other
  • 11/1/2001
  • 1-2
  • Memory Card
  • 1
  • $9.00
  • Everyone
9  |  Ace Combat 4 Review (PS2)
larsoncc , 2/26/2003 4:41:26 AM

fly by (pic) Ace Combat 4 is a mere $20, at any store.  When I mentioned that fact to my buddy (while he was playing), he could only cough up the phrase "No way!  This game is awesome."  Indeed.  Ace Combat 4 puts you in the cockpit like no console game before it.  

Now, I'm an arcade guy - I don't have any desire to play a game that is a straight simulation - that type of game is for some people, just not me.  If I can't pick up a game and start playing effectively within a few minutes, you've lost me.  Ace Combat 4 - well, it knows how to please the arcade fan.  While the flight mechanics feel relatively accurate, and the game has a "simulator" viewpoint, the similarities to a flight-sim end there.

I've also been a fan of the movie Top Gun - since I saw the movie, I wondered how long it would be before video games would put us into the movie.  Well, I have yet to play a game that does a more convincing job of putting me in that movie - even the titles that are BASED on the movie don't do as good of a job taking you there. 

Destroying Destroyers (pic) The radio chatter really adds to the excitement of the game play.  As you hit targets, the enemy will react accordingly - "Eject! Eject!"  Now, it's been a long standing video game cliché that all enemies have to have a Russian accent, and that's very true here.  But it makes sense in Ace Combat 4 - your theater of operations is in Russia and Asia.  So there. 

There are a lot of reasons to like Ace Combat 4.  The missions are very well balanced.  After the first few cake-walk missions, you'll find yourself either running short on time, or being shot at by AA Guns and missiles, or being chased away from targets by swarms of enemy fighters.  The game's flight mechanics are easy to learn, as well.  The graphics are stellar, and remain in the upper echelon of games for the PS2, even though this game is much older.  There are nice touches, like when you fly above the clouds.  

There are only a few "features" that piss me off about Ace Combat 4.  The whole radar section of the screen is not as well done as it needs to be.  You're supposed to use the pressure sensitive button to bring up a large scale map - as you press harder, the map zooms out.  It's nice to have the HUD, rather than a separate screen, but the HUD wigs out way too much.  It ends up twitching between long view and close up - and it's no fun when you have to react quickly.  The other thing that I had trouble with was reading how many missiles, etc that I had left.  The picture of the plane in the lower left corner seems a bit unnecessary - it uses too much space on the screen.

The annoyances aren't nearly enough to make me stop playing Ace Combat 4.  Or for that matter, enough to make my friends stop playing Ace Combat 4.  Short of buying a fighter jet at a yard sale, you'll be hard pressed to find a flight / fight game like Ace Combat 4.  Spend the $20, you'll be glad that you did....  I give Ace Combat 4 a 9/10.

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