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Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies (PlayStation 2)

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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  :  Big John WV (25282)
Written on  :  Sep 26, 2008
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

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Summary

Excellent jet fighter game with a touching story.

The Good

I didn't play much flying games back in the day (unless you count EA's Strike Series), so the first time I saw this game I was a little curious and was really shocked on how well this game was.

The graphics are extremely gorgeous, the planes are very well detailed and the photo realistic scenery really makes it stand out. The controls are very well balanced too, even a little kid can figure it out after a while and the sounds and voices are very well done too, even the casual conversations during missions can sometimes give you a chuckle.

The story is very touching, for the first time playing a game I was actually involved like I was watching a movie. True it didn't have any CGI and the cutscenes were sort of a comic/manga-style, but they were very well done.

Truthfully there was a lot to like about this game, plus the ability to unlock other aircraft and weapons by completing stages over and over give it lots of replayability. Needless to say you'll be playing this game over and over. Even the aircraft are authentic, nothing beats destroying squads of F-16's with a F-22 Raptor. True, there isn't any real countries, this is an alternate world, but still you can get sucked into this and makes you think that this really happened.

The Bad

Well, one thing did bother me, it was that this game felt...soft. It's kinda hard to explain, it's almost like there was a soft feel to it, the graphics are bright making it almost seem like it was a light-hearted event. Even the explosions didn't seem real, back then they were pretty well done, but still had that weird look to them.

It's very hard to explain, to put it bluntly you had a game that tried to convey a serious life or death situation with a war between different nations, but the graphics and even the comic cutscenes just kinda cut that down. You didn't get the sense of urgency and danger.

The Bottom Line

All in all, Ace Combat 04 is an excellent game. It was revolutionary back then, though today it is a little dated and can show its age, it's still fun to pop this in once in a while. It has spawned much better sequels afterwards (I'll get to them another time), but this game was catalyst for the Ace Combat series to go next-gen and with the newest wave now hitting the Xbox 360, I hope it will be around for a very long time.