Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception
|Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception|
European cover art.
|Genre(s)||Arcade, combat flight simulator|
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception (エースコンバットX スカイズ・オブ・デセプション Ēsu Conbatto Ekkusu Sukai Obu Desepushon) is a video game for the PlayStation Portable handheld console. It is the tenth 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.
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 Osea-Yuktobania conflict of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
In the year 2020, after years of civil war and internal struggle, the Democratic Republic of Leasath (// LAY-sath), under the command of Diego Gaspar Navarro invades its peaceful neighboring country, the Federal Republic of Aurelia. Owing to their Gleipnir Flying Fortress, Leasath overwhelms most of Aurelia within ten days. The remainder of the Aurelian military bands together at Cape Aubrey Airbase and manages to achieve a Pyrrhic victory: They destroy a flight of Leasath bombers but Gleipnir wipes out all deployed Aurelian aircraft except its only ace pilot Gryphus One, who bears the symbol of "The Southern Cross". Following the battle of Cape Aubrey, Gryphus One spearheads an offensive to recapture Port Patterson, a critical supply base and landing area for Leasath's forces. Gryphus One distinguishes himself by inflicting heavy damage on the enemy air force, navy and ground forces.
After the liberation of Port Patterson, the Aurelians set out to liberate the city of Santa Elva and destroy Gleipnir. Depending on the players choice, either the Aurelian navy or ground forces engage Gleipnir. Gryphus One downs Gleipnir over Santa Elva, earning the nickname of "Nemesis" among Leasathians. The demoralized Leasathians hastily withdraw towards Griswall, the occupied capital of Aurelia where the Leasathians have established a defensive ring with Meson Cannons capable of firing particle beams. The player has two choices on the strategic level: One is to destroy the enemy Skylla unit by surprise and face Meson Cannons (at full or half potential) in Griswall. The other is to sneak under the enemy radar jamming coverage, destroy their Meson Cannon components and instead battle the enemy units outside Griswall perimeter. By the time Griswall is liberated, however, Navarro has escaped, but the turn of the battle changes irreversibly.
Albert Genette and the Aurelian intelligence discover the true motives of the war: General Navarro is not only the Leasath's commanding officer, but also an arms industry mogul who benefits from war. Navarro had made millions in arms deals during the war to fund the development of Fenrir, a next-generation advanced prototype V/STOL multirole aircraft. Following Leasath's expulsion from Aurelia, Navarro continued production in Archelon Fortress on a group of islands off the coast of Leasath. In the advance towards the Archelon fortress, the player has the choice of either preventing enemy elite pilots or a cargo of high-power microwave weapons from reaching the fortress. Depending on the player's choices, the siege of Archelon Fortress can end two ways: Either the Aurelian army destroys the fortress while Gryphus One destroys the last Fenrir prototype, or Gryphus One destroys a shock cannon mounted atop the fortress resulting in its destruction. 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, 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 the 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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