A jet fighter for the ages.
Editor’s note: So this was originally published on a lovely website I wrote for called pinkiesparadise.com. The original can and should be viewed here. For long time readers that have followed me from that website I apologize for the recycled material BUT for my own cataloguing and OCD purposes – I did want to officially rate this beautiful work of art and have it on record.
Released: November 1 2001
Developed & Published: namco
I have such little experience writing about how much I enjoyed a video game that I am almost completely at a loss. I have told my wife. I have told my friends. I have told the dog next door. I have printed t-shirts. I adopted a star and named it, Ace Combat. The entire world wants me to shut up and I refuse to. I will name my next born Ace Combat.
I drove to New York City to profess my love to Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies while standing on the top of a skyscraper but there was already someone doing it. This game is a masterpiece. Beautiful, sad, fun, easy to learn but hard to master. All of the good stuff.
The game itself is about a future world where some asteroids posed a major threat to the planet. Mankind built a gun to shoot the asteroids and it didn’t really work so now we all live on one shitty continent and NATURALLY because we’re shitty human beings we begin a war over land and resources and the “bad dudes” highjack the massive asteroid gun and you have to stop them. Sounds simple and stupid but it is not. The storytelling is so well done, exploring the human condition in times of war.
I’d also go on record and say this game is a top ten ps2 game graphically. Some of the colors, graphics, picture-esque skies and backdrops are still breathtaking to this day. With 2021 eyes that is quite a feat.
It even has a beautiful replay mode that you can exploit and slam your jet into the ocean all cinematic like.
The narrative is artful. Surprisingly tasteful, artistic and introspective for a shoot em up type game. The gameplay is addicting – and earning upgrades and new jets is key to your campaign success but is rewarding. Some of the dog fights and missions are very intense to the point of epic. I could understand the game is a bit niche but even non flying or warfare fans can easily hop in and have fun with its smooth gameplay.
A smooth and refreshing game to play after the aeronautical disaster that was City Crisis. Highly recommended with moderate to good replay value. I, personally loved this game and you can get it for cheap just about anywhere thats selling ps2 games. A must own if not just for the price point and quality gameplay.
Overall: 90% (GOLD)