Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception
|Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception|
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (Europe only)
|Genre(s)||Arcade, Combat Flight Simulator|
|Distribution||1 × UMD, Digital Download|
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception (エースコンバットX スカイ・オブ・デセプショ Ēsu Conbatto Ekkusu Sukai Obu Desepushon?) is a video game for the PlayStation Portable handheld console. It is the seventh installment of the Ace Combat video game series, the first for the PlayStation Portable system, and the second for a portable console. It was released for the United States on October 24, 2006.
Aurelia is a peaceful nation located on the southern edge of the Osean Continent. A mild climate and vast underground resources have kept Aurelia out of war and conflicts for many decades.
However, in the year 2020, Aurelia's northern neighbour, Leasath under the command of Diego Gaspar Navarro invaded the country, in retaliation for their supposed involvement in promoting civil war in Leasath and despite being their largest benefactor in aid. Aurelia, unprepared for the invasion, was quickly occupied in 10 days due to the power of Leasath's advanced superweapon - the Gleipnir Flying Fortress. Reduced to a single operating airbase, the remnants of the decimated Aurelian military band together to strike back at the invading Leasath forces. At the forefront of this crusade is Gryphus Squadron, led by its only ace pilot fighter pilot Gryphus 1 who bears the symbol of "The Southern Cross". As Aurelia's last hope, Gryphus Squadron must liberate their country and restore peace to the land.
Throughout the various cutscenes, the story is narrated by Albert Genette, a reporter sent on assignment to cover the conflict. This is the same reporter who covers the Sand Island Squadron and eventually the Osea-Yuktobania conflict of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. In that game he narrated the majority of the story as well.
The game features multiple alternate pathways and combinations of mission sequences, thus slightly modifying the story experience for players. The following plot description outlines the general occurrence of events.
Following the occupation of Aurelia, Gryphus Squadron, operating from Cape Aubrey Airbase (one of the last Aurelian enclave holdouts against Leasath's invasion) manages to defend the facility from a Leasathian air raid. However, the Gleipnir initiates an assault using its Shock Wave Ballistic Missile (SWBM), decimating most of Gryphus Squadron. The beleaguered survivors retreat, and the Gleipnir withdraws before the Aurelians can pursue it.
Following the devastating losses at Cape Aubrey, Gryphus One and the other remnants of Gryphus Squadron undertake an offensive to recapture Port Patterson, a critical supply base and landing area for Leasath's forces. After securing a supply line to the port, Gryphus Squadron attacks the Port, sinking several Leasathian warships and supply vessels. Gryphus One, having inflicted the most damage on the Leasathian Navy, attracts the attention of Leasath. From the Port Patterson raid onwards, he garners an infamous reputation amongst Leasathian forces, with many of them dubbing him the name "Southern Cross" and "Nemesis."
Following the raid on Port Patterson, the player is given the choice of how to progress to the next objective: the liberation of the city of Santa Elva, where the Gleipnir has established a temporary base. As Gryphus Squadron undertakes more missions for Aurelia, it conducts operations such as rescuing armored battalions stranded behind enemy lines, recapturing key cities, and severing enemy supply routes.
The Aurelians mobilize enough forces to advance to Santa Elva, and a full-scale assault is initiated. Gryphus Squadron encounters the Gleipnir in the city's airspace, and Gryphus One singlehandedly downs the fearsome air fortress in a brilliant stroke of combat.
The demoralized Leasathians, having lost the Gleipnir, hastily withdraw into the northern and central regions of Aurelia. The player is then given the next set of missions to decide through, with the objective of reaching the capital city of Griswall. Gryphus Squadron eliminates rearguard enemy units straggling to keep up with the main Leasathian forces, cripples enemy jamming activity in the mountains, and stop enemy air shipments from leaving industrial regions.
By the end of that missions set, the Aurelians converge on their capital, Griswall. The Leasathians, however, establish a defensive ring around the city filled with Meson Cannons capable of firing laser ordnance. Gryphus One destroys the Meson Ring, and Aurelian forces are able to liberate the capital. Leasathian troops are steadily pushed back across the border, and the liberation process is nearly complete.
Throughout the story, journalist Albert Genette conducts his own private investigation into the true ulterior motives behind Leasath's decision to invade Aurelia. Uncovering the past history of Leasathian leader General Navarro, Genette finds that Navarro has constantly capitalized upon armed conflicts for the purposes of arms profiteering. Navarro used past conflicts to generate revenue for the Leasathian arms industries. Genette also realizes that Navarro's justification for the invasion is a sham, and that Aurelia never exploited Leasath during the latter's civil war (as Navarro consistently asserted).
The reason for the invasion was not what it appeared to be; it is later revealed that Diego Gaspar Navarro had an alternate motive for launching the invasion: to make millions in arms deals during the war and to fund the development of Fenrir a next-generation advance prototype V/STOL multirole fighter aircraft. Navarro planned to mass-produce these revolutionary aircraft and export them to the global arms market. Following Leasath's expulsion from Aurelia, Navarro continued production on a group of islands off the coast of Leasath.
The player is given his/her final set of missions, and Gryphus Squadron and the Aurelian military embark on one final operation to thwart Navarro's plans and end the war once and for all. Gryphus Squadron destroy research installations contributing to the Fenrir Fighter Project, and attack enemy units around the area.
By the final mission, the Aurelian Military besieges Archelon Fortress, where the Fenrir aircraft is being developed. After Gryphus One defeats several Fenrir Aircraft in battle, he either (depending on previous missions undertaken):
- Infiltrates Archelon Fortress from the inside and destroys a fleeing Fenrir Prototype, preventing Leasath from acquiring the weapon and destroying the fortress.
- Destroys a shock cannon mounted atop the fortress resembling the one found on the Gleipnir; the resulting destruction eliminates the Fenrir Factory inside the fortress.
With the world having witnessed the Battle at Archelon, and Genette's publication exposing the war's true nature, Leasathian citizens, infuriated by Navarro's deception, expel him from the country. Navarro flees the country as a fugitive, and the war ends.
In the game's campaign mode, the player plays the role of the flight lead in Gryphus Squadron, of the Aurelian Air Force. The game is broken down into numerous missions which involve various combat objectives, such as attacking ground targets, air targets, or naval targets. At the completion of each mission, a rank and points are awarded based on the completion time and enemies destroyed. The "Free Mission" mode allows levels unlocked in the campaign mode to be replayed to achieve a higher rank or gain points for the purchase of planes or equipment. Ace Combat X also includes a multiplayer mode, using Ad Hoc wireless to connect up to four players. There are two types of multiplayer modes: a cooperative mode against 2-6 A.I.-controlled fighters and a versus modes pitting human players against one another. The versus modes include: Dogfight - Survival, Dog Fight - Shoot Out, Base Attack (attack/defend), Air Superiority (King of the Hill), Beacon Battle (Capture the Flag) and Escort Mission. The wingman command system is no longer available because of the limited number of buttons on the PSP.
As Ace Combat is a semi-realistic combat flight simulator series, it shares most features with other games of the genre. The player can fly a variety of real and fictional combat aircraft—fighters, attackers, multirole fighters, bombers, and ground-attack aircraft. The player can choose from either a first- or third-person view. The first-person view can be displayed from within the cockpit or simply with a HUD. The HUD is similar to other Ace Combat games, except the player is allowed a visual of the target on the upper-left of the screen, and a Multi-Purpose Gauge (MPG) on the upper-right used for different types of objectives (distance between a target unit and a destination, health of friendly units, number of enemy units left, etc.). Medals are awarded by completing various objectives in campaign, free mission, or multiplayer mode. There are also advanced controls.
Unlockables and credits
In single-player mode, new planes, medals, weapons, parts, paint schemes and bonus missions can be unlocked. The planes, parts, and special weapons have to be purchased in the hangar after they have been unlocked. New planes are unlocked upon the completion of each campaign mode mission or bonus missions. Medals are awarded for meeting certain conditions in either campaign or free mission mode, such as achieving 15 gun kills or destroying 200 enemies. Original planes (fictional planes designed specifically for the Ace Combat series) may be equipped (or "tuned") with unlocked upgrade parts, such as thrust-vectoring nozzles, advanced canards and higher-powered engines. Unlockable parts can change the performance or stats (Speed, Air-to-Air, Air-to-Ground, Mobility, Stability, and Defense) of the aircraft in positive and/or negative ways; some may also confer special abilities like automatically firing the gun when the firing reticule appears, increasing the payload capacity of the plane, or automatically adjusting the plane's flight at low altitude to minimize the risk of crashing. Special weapons and equipment are unlocked when missions are completed with an S-rank (the highest rank awarded). Each mission or level also contains a "star" unit and an "ace" unit. The star unit is typically an unarmed target, such as a container ship, a hangar, or an unarmed helicopter. The ace unit is an ace pilot who appears at a certain point in a mission if conditions are met. Destruction of the star unit also unlocks weapons and equipment, while defeating the ace unlocks a paint scheme. The player can unlock 4 different paint schemes for each aircraft.
Players gain money by destroying enemies, points being converted directly into credits. Once the mission objectives are complete, the player is awarded bonus money for performing above and beyond the requirements of the mission objectives. With missions that require landing or refueling in mid-air, bonus money can be earned by completing said tasks quickly.
There are four levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard, and the unlockable Ace level. The difficulty mode affects how many enemies are in a stage, how smart/accurate the enemies are, how much damage the enemies can take, and how much damage the player's airplane can take. On the Ace difficulty level, a single missile from the enemy will deal approximately 95% damage to a standard-defense fighter (if not take it out immediately), whereas on the easiest level it would deal about 20%. However, with the greater number of enemies at harder difficulties, there's also the potential for earning more points/credits per mission.
Like other Ace Combat games, the player can choose their own route through the campaign, which affects how the game progresses. There are 3 points where missions branch out into multiple paths, marking segments of the game; the longest campaign a player can undertake requires the completion of all 17 available missions, while the shortest amounts to a count of 10 (medals are awarded accordingly for meeting both of these conditions). Certain bonus stages are also unlocked by taking a particular campaign path.
In campaign mode, the storyline drives the missions that the player is given, however there are many times when the player is faced with a decision as to which mission to take or the order in which to fly a set of missions. These decisions can affect the storyline and later missions by triggering or not triggering certain events. For instance, the player may be faced with a shorter time limit due to limited fuel, or they may gain an advantage against the enemy by partially disabling the enemy's weapons. Certain special missions can only be played if the player takes a particular campaign path. However, in Free Mission mode, the player can choose to play unlocked missions in any of the possible mission conditions.
Most of the missions in the game are laid out as simply "search-and-destroy", where the player must engage a target and destroy it within a time limit; the only variations to this layout is whether the targets are air-to-air or air-to-ground (land or sea) or a combination. However, there are a variety of mission-altering conditions including but not limited to:
- Escort/Defense (where the player must protect an ally from destruction by enemy craft or ground vehicles)
- Air Restrictive (where the player must remain either below or above a certain altitude/speed)
- Stealth (where the player must avoid detection by radar or ground units, may be combined with an altitude restriction)
- Jamming (where the player's radar and lock-on will be hindered or disabled)
- Assault on Base (where the player must attack/destroy an enemy stronghold)
- Interdiction (where the player must destroy a target before it, or another unit, reaches a critical boundary or location)
Two or more of these conditions may be combined during certain missions. A few missions contain different phases where the player will receive a "mission update" after an in-mission event occurs.
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