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Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies (PlayStation 2)

Published by
Developed by
Released
Platform
86
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  MAT (74159)
Written on  :  Nov 10, 2004
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

Games like this make me say I'm a "gamer" with a proud tone in my voice

The Good

This game is simply beautiful. It has been a long time since a game made such an impact upon me, and I've played so many I thought I've seen it all. Still, it is times like these that make a difference in my life and start appreciating the whole gaming industry even more. First to say, I am not keen on simulations of any kind, and it is rare occasion I even try to play such a game. But lately, I got really interested in this game's sequel, and Namco captured my interest with more than a few great titles, so I just couldn't say no to this one.

The story is most amazing in the game, it's so touching and so... well, you can respect the spiritual relationship between the soldiers on the opposing sides, or in this case, pilots. War is always a terrible thing, no doubt, but it is also capable of bringing hidden talents of some people right to the surface. The whole relationship between narrator of the story (a young boy) who lost his family due to dogfight where allied plane crashed on his house (now what's a chance for that to happen), and between Yellow 13, the pilot ace who shot down that plane. At first I wasn't even sure where to put this story in the game, but it was following the missions from the perspective of behind enemy lines, while you were a pilot on the losing side. The whole mission selection was very nostalgic to me as it reminded me quite a lot of Command & Conquer where you were also progressing on the global world map until the final battle where you side won over enemy.

Aircraft and weapon selection is nicely implemented, and you have quite a selection if I do say so myself. Each mission will provide you with funds which you can then invest into buying better aircrafts. It is nice how the crafts were all familiar yet the world setting was a fantasy one, it worked pretty well. Controls are easy and more realistic than one might expect, as I was constantly complaining how I can't make some quick turn of 180 degrees, lol, yeah right, I must've been playing too much of Drakengard lately. When I mentioned above that I am not in particular a fan of simulations, I was definitely pointing at 1st-person ones, and even though that way it's more realistic and all, I bow to Namco for adding multiple views, front, cockpit, and rear view. I suppose it would be cool if they didn't limit 2 player game to front view only, but it was fun seeing a screen being split vertically for a change.

The Bad

I was touched too much by this game's story and the way it was being told to make any points against it, cut me too deep to recoil.

The Bottom Line

Namco has surprised me greatly over these past couple of months, and even though I was familiar with the company's name, I can't say I had a game of them in my collection. Then I got Xenosaga and I realized they beat Squaresoft at their own game. Ridge Racer Type 4 proved to be an amazing racing game, equally fun in single and multiplayer game. And what I never expected, is that Dead to Rights will be such a great and addictive game that it can overshadow every other in its rank, Max Payne included. Well, and then this one came along. Huh, I wouldn't feel right if I wouldn't admit that Namco seized the era of PS2 utterly and completely, all the rest come second.