My Review of 'Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown'
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version. My impressions on the VR mode are also included.
I didn't get into Ace Combat until I discovered Ace Combat 4 on the PlayStation 2. That game had me hooked. It had a nice variety of missions and the gradual difficulty was just about right. I had a great sense of satisfaction when I finally completed that final mission.
I continued to try to get into Ace Combat. I got Ace Combat 5 for the PlayStation 2 hoping to recapture the magic that Ace Combat 4 did. I never got to play it.
PlayStation 3 entered the arena and Ace Combat: Assault Horizon on the Xbox 360 came out. I bought that too thinking I'd get to it. Then Ace Combat 6 came out for the Xbox 360 as well. I told myself that I'd finally get to that game. They totally saturated the market full of games and I didn't have enough time to play them.
I did, however, get to play Ace Combat 6. I loved it until a certain level that I just couldn't get by. I stopped playing the game after some frustration.
Years went by and I totally forgot about the Ace Combat series until Ace Combat 7 was announced and it also offered virtual reality! Again I wanted to recapture that Ace Combat 4 magic that I remembered so fondly.
I popped the game in and immediately I wanted to check out the VR mode. I have a PlayStation 4 Pro so I was hoping that everything would be silky smooth. There's always that worry that the game will look really bad in VR because most developers have difficulty with PlayStation VR. I'm glad to say that this is not one of those developers.
Yes, some of the graphics are noticeably downgraded when looking up close, but you're generally in the sky most of the time. This game looked and felt amazing! You can see the imperfections in the mirror. The frame rate was great so that everything was smooth. Also, I don't know what they did, but I didn't get VR sick playing this game. You will definitely get disoriented because you're flipping around in a fighter jet, but wow is it worth it. It is probably one of the best VR experiences that you can get on PlayStation VR.
I emphasize the word experience though. They only provided three missions to the VR mode! I really felt that they should have put more missions in here. The whole game should have been in VR! It's a totally different experience and being able to look around for your opponent's plane makes the game that much better. The other gripe I have about the VR mode is that you don't really have a crazy sense of speed when you fly low to the ground or the water. It only mentions that you're going over 2000 km per hour—shouldn't it feel like it?
For the VR experience alone, I wouldn't say this game is worth the full price of admission. If it becomes heavily discounted, I would agree that you should buy it. You still have games like Eve Valkyrie and Star Blood (soon to be out of commission). The VR experience is much like Star Wars Battlefront's VR mission. It leaves you wanting more and you know the developers won't make it.
As for the rest of the game, I would have to say I had a grand time! You have the same old missions where you escort planes, or destroy all ground enemies or all flying enemies. There's also the obligatory flight in tight space mission at the end. Some would say that it's formulaic, but it's really geared toward gamers like myself.
What do I mean by this? Well, gamers like myself don't really have much time to keep up with long stories or long missions. The duration of each of the missions are just about right. There's a leveling up mechanic to this game that feels about right. You earn money to buy ships and parts to make your ship better. This carries on to your other games so you can continually accumulate more money to buy more stuff. The difficulty progression is just about right. Yes, there's a mission there that did cause some anguish for me, but overall, I thought that the difficulty was just about right for casual gamers.
Overall, I would say that for me this game was worth the full price. I'm going to play it over and over again, trying to get all of the ships and parts. Although, I'm still trying to capture that same feeling that I had for Ace Combat 4. For the most part, they did capture that magic and did a great job. The production value is definitely up there.
I'll give Ace Combat 7 an eight out of 10. Had the whole game be in VR as well as standard, then I would have given this game a full on 10. Otherwise, for gamers with no nostalgia for the Ace Combat series, I would say wait for this game to go on sale. Right now it is pretty much half price, so it's a great time to check it out, especially if you have VR.