Ace Combat 2
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|Ace Combat 2|
|Genre(s)||Combat flight simulator|
Ace Combat 2 is a semi-realistic combat flight simulation game made by Namco for the PlayStation game console. It is the company's second console offering in the Ace Combat series and continues the arcade style gameplay of the first game Air Combat, with major improvements. It was released in May and July 1997 in Japan and North America, respectively, while Europe did not see release until October.
Upon release, Ace Combat 2 was generally well-received. Within the first week of sales, it sold 256,000 units in Japan, making it one of the fastest PlayStation games to sell over 250,000 units in Japan.
Players complete missions by destroying various air and surface targets to obtain credits for their airforce. A mission briefing details the player's expected route of attack and the enemy opposition in a 3D map display. The player can also choose Novice or Expert control settings; the latter enables the player to execute realistic aircraft maneuvers such as rolls and high-g turns.
The mercenary wingman system from Air Combat returns, but instead of choosing pilots who have their own specific planes, the game introduces the player to only one male or female pilot to choose for the mission, but can opt to do the mission alone. Certain aircraft will be arrayed depending on the wingmen's mission assignments. Operation time will be dictated through a fuel gauge. The game mostly proceeds in a linear fashion, but later on, the player will have a choice of two branching mission paths (called Alphaville and Belissima). Certain targets in missions can also unlock secret missions and alternative endings.
Ace Combat 2 features many of the flyable aircraft seen in the first game, as well as new real-life aircraft. The game also introduces to the franchise the concept of superfighters, or jets that are unique from existing aircraft in design and performance. Two superfighters are introduced - the ADF-01 (In its original form from Ace Combat 2 and Ace Combat assault horizon legacy) and the XF/A-27; players can only access the latter. A bar graph also indicates how many times the aircraft have been used. The planes also sport actual military color schemes, dispensing of the phoenix-style scheme found in the first game.
Ace Combat 2 introduces the concept of aces, elite pilots that have better flight performance than standard enemy pilots. They are identifiable by their planes' unique color schemes and their callsigns. Some of the aces fly together as a squadron. Shooting down a legendary pilot or squadron will earn a medal in the player's record.
A group of rebel military forces launch a massive insurrection all over the Usean continent. The takeover occurs just as several political leaders attend a peace summit in a faraway location. The speed of the coup enables the rebels to acquire special strategic weapons. The danger of such a threat prompts the deployment of Scarface, an elite mercenary air force, to quell it.
The above plot is fleshed out in the 3DS remake, Assault Horizon Legacy. Fearful of being caught in the saber rattling between the Osean Federation and Union of Yuktobanian Republics four years after the events of the Belkan War, the nations of the Usean continent agree to unite and form a third-force alliance. However, countries in southern Usea consider joining the Osean Federation after it offers to sign a military treaty with them. The other countries in Usea object to this move, but the southern nations press ahead with the treaty. Conservative military personnel in these countries engineer a coup on the day of the treaty signing, and even military forces in the other Usean nations join the rebellion. In danger of total collapse, the Usean government executes an offensive codenamed Operation Fighter's Honor, with the Special Tactical Fighter Squadron Scarface leading the attack.
Ace Combat 2 was generally well-received upon release. It holds a rating of 81% on review aggregator GameRankings based on nine reviews. Critics said the game has much greater longevity than Air Combat, noting especially the increased number of missions and the use of mission branching, though Jeff Gerstmann of Gamespot argued that the low difficulty level ensures the game is over too quickly in spite of the large number of missions. However, the majority of critics contended that the enemy AI is extremely advanced, making the game's difficulty, if anything, overly high. Next Generation emphasized that "Players who don't play a lot of attention to what's going on will quickly find hostiles on their six who know exactly what to do with a heat-seeking missile."
The graphics were highly regarded, with the most praise going to the consistently high frame rate and stunning environmental visuals. Crispin Boyer of Electronic Gaming Monthly, which gave Ace Combat 2 their "Game of the Month" award, also applauded the draw distance: "Terrain is rendered much farther into the distance than in other sim titles, and pop-up of the world is gradual, thanks to the hazy - but not too foggy - horizon." Boyer and his three co-reviewers felt the game's strongest point was its variety, with multiple planes to choose from and unlock and widely varying mission objectives. GamePro's Bro Buzz opined that "The easy-to-read radar is really the secret: Once you mind-meld with that... you're deadly!"
Nintendo 3DS Remake
A Nintendo 3DS remake was released as Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy in North America on November 15, 2011 and Europe on December 2, 2011. The Japanese version, titled Ace Combat 3D: Cross Rumble, was released on January 12, 2012. This remake features reworked voice acting and a reimagining of the level design.
- "Ace Combat 2". GameRankings. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
- "Review Crew: Air Combat 2". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 97. Ziff Davis. August 1997. p. 50.
- Gerstmann, Jeff (July 2, 1997). "Ace Combat 2 Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
- "Finals: Ace Combat 2". Next Generation. No. 35. Imagine Media. November 1997. pp. 189–190.
- "PlayStation ProReview: Ace Combat 2". GamePro. No. 108. IDG. September 1997. p. 92.
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