Takes our breath away

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENT -

It’s a cel­e­bra­tion that may slip un­der the radar, but Ace Com­bat is about to mark its 23rd an­niver­sary. It’s a date worth toast­ing, though, as the jet fighter series has been a PlayS­ta­tion stal­wart worth savour­ing. This sev­enth edi­tion ticks all the boxes you’d ex­pect from the series: im­pres­sive vi­su­als, bonkers plot, sim­cade con­trols, po­etic sub­ti­tle, and oo­dles of things to ex­plode. It’s also do­ing some­thing new to the series. Ace Com­bat 7: Skies Un­known em­braces PS VR. In many ways the fran­chise was des­tined to be a vir­tual re­al­ity trail­blazer. Af­ter all, what bet­ter game suits the new im­mer­sive tech than a flight sim?

This is no af­ter­thought ei­ther. Ace Com­bat 7’s PS VR sup­port has been de­vel­oped in tan­dem with the main game’s story mode. From the ti­tle menu you can choose the PS VR op­tion, which opens up an en­tirely new ros­ter of mis­sions, set within the world and time­line of the main game.


Im­pres­sively, the plane con­trols have been de­signed specif­i­cally for vir­tual re­al­ity, so ev­ery­thing is oneto-one ra­tio and even the di­als and but­tons work. Just sit­ting in this cock­pit gives us goose­bumps, and then the mis­sion be­gins in earnest. From the off the game lays the spec­ta­cle on thick. As our plane taxis down the run­way en­emy fight­ers and bombers swoop over our head; some are caught by our side’s AA guns and ex­plode across the run­way. We peer over our shoul­der to get a good look at the burn­ing wreckage and won­der if that’ll be us very soon.

Once in the sky, those di­als and dig­its be­come use­ful, en­abling us to check alti­tude and air speed, tog­gle weapons and rock­ets, and gen­er­ally get set for the fight that’s com­ing.

While out­side VR the main game can feel a lit­tle clin­i­cal, es­sen­tially lin­ing up and shoot­ing blink­ing tar­gets in the HUD, in PS VR the whole thing be­comes more di­rect and per­sonal. Tar­gets are tracked with line-of-sight, so turn­ing our head and ac­tively look­ing around, up, and even down the out­side of the plane re­veals en­emy air­craft. Once locked on you need to main­tain eye con­tact un­til the mis­siles ex­plode in puffs of fire and smoke trails. In vir­tual re­al­ity Ace Com­bat 7 of­fers fast and giddy dog fights, far re­moved from the long-range fire and for­get of the main game.

Af­ter nearly a quar­ter of a cen­tury, Ace Com­bat has evolved.


The game’s near­future sci-fi look adds to the spec­ta­cle.

Above Mis­sions end with a clas­sic boss fight; this beast re­leases waves of drones.

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