Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies

aka: AC04 Project, Ace Combat: Distant Thunder, Ace Combat: Trueno de Acero
Moby ID: 6192
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Description official descriptions

The continent of Usea was struck by an asteroid, causing the death of half a million people. The neighboring Erusea used this as an opportunity to invade and occupy almost all of Usea. Based on its eastern coast, the Independent States Allied Forces (ISAF) try to regain ground and engage the Eruseans in aerial battles. An elite pilot using the codename Mobius 1 is sent on a number of missions to fight Eruseans and help ISAF to win the war. While performing those missions, Mobius 1 begins to learn about the impact war has on civilians, and the pilots of the opposing side.

Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies is an aerial combat simulation. It allows the player to participate in semi-realistic dog-fighting with a collection of fighter jets, including the F-22 Raptor, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-117 Nighthawk, U-2 Dragon Lady, C-130 Hercules and SR-71 Blackbird. Eighteen missions will take the player from search-and-destroy buildings to one-on-one and all-on-all dog-fighting. Along the way it becomes possible to upgrade the fighter with defense systems, deadly weapons, and other accessories.

Spellings

  • エースコンバット04 シャッタードスカイ - Japanese spelling
  • 皇牌空战4 - Simplified Chinese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

31 People (19 developers, 12 thanks) · View all

Project Supervisor
Localization Producer
QA Manager
Project Coordinator
Lead Test Pilot
Test Pilots
Senior Marketing Manager
Product Marketing Manager
Public Relations
Localization Specialist
Special Thanks
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 85% (based on 33 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 29 ratings with 3 reviews)

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.

PlayStation 2 · by MAT (240793) · 2012

Namco got a bullseye on this one.

The Good
Although dated, Ace Combat 04 can hold its own as (in my opinion) the best title in the best air combat series. It takes a some doing to merit this, but I don't exaggerate when I say that Shattered Skies has it all.

The greatest aspect of the Ace Combat series is its gameplay, which can range from easy enough for new players to quickly master, to challenging enough to keep veterans coming back. Although unrealistic in regards to the amount of weapons you can carry and the lack of visible effects from g-forces, you will still feel as if you are actually behind the stick and actually fighting the war. This is technically an arcade title, not a flight sim. The aircraft selection is not too big, but includes many of the time-honored favorites and a few prototypes and even 1 fictional airframe. The ability to select a "special weapon" before battle adds variety to the missions each time you fly them, as does the different difficulty settings and plane choices.

By today's graphical standards, AC4 is unimpressive. But consider that it was released in 2001-the dawn of the PS2. Compared to the graphics of the last decade, it is beautiful. Even in 2009 I can find games made more recently whose graphics cannot compare to this. My favorite feature is the fully rendered terrain; sometimes I'm distracted from the fight by the impressiveness of the land below me. The visuals are not without their faults though, which I will cover later on.

The game's plotline really is simple, yet engaging enough to keep you interested. The story is told through the eyes of a young war orphan who is affected by the battles you fight. Cutscenes are illustrated in a style reminiscent of comic panels or manga.

I cannot neglect to mention the almost cinematic musical score. Yep, cinematic. No other war game I have played splices an evocative rendition of "Agnus Dei" into a final sortie. This stellar combination makes for a truly epic finale that even tops certain films I have seen.

The Bad
The main problem I see is that for players with some skill, the 18 mission campaign is over way too fast. There is however, 2 player co-op mode and score attack challenges.

Also, the effects of damage are not well represented. The explosions look especially choppy. But for a game of this age, you can't really complain.

The Bottom Line
Ace Combat 04 is a true war game with all the action commonly seen and also the emotion rarely seen in these types of games. Project Aces once again takes the flight genre in a new direction that will hopefully continue on.

PlayStation 2 · by Nick Slavin (9) · 2009

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.

PlayStation 2 · by Big John WV (26954) · 2008

Trivia

Music

During the regular campaign, the mission briefing music becomes jazzier and adds additional instruments to its melody. As the player is successful in missions and progresses towards the end of the game, the music during the briefings augments as well.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kartanym.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Shoddyan, //dbz:, karttu, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger.

Game added April 14, 2002. Last modified January 15, 2024.