Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies Review: Is It Worth It?

ace combat screenshot

Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies Review: Is It Worth It?

Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies promises to put you in the cockpit of a real military jet fighter and sets you lose in the sky in pursuit of bad guys. Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies is a combat flight simulation video game. This game was published by Namco for PlayStation 2 in 2001. It presents an arcade game feel with real life air combat incorporation of both elements of realism and fantasy. Let’s take a look at if this game is worth the money. 

Could Use Some Improvement

Ace Combat plane flying
Experience the realistic feel of Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies.

Relegating some of the plane’s functions to the automatic pilot makes Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies more accessible but it’s not exactly an arcade game. Some of the PC sim lovers out there should be warned. Unless they feel like taking a vacation from virtual flight school and are in the mood for a good shooter with lots of action, then they might just want to rent this one if at all. It’s not an incredibly challenging game but it sure is fun and easy to follow. If players want a realistic, straightforward, flying experience without all the mess then they’ve come to the right game.

Good Graphics Add a Realistic Feel

Ace Combat plane
Fly through and dodge missles targeted at you.

With graphics that look better than satellite surveillance photos, players will really believe they are flying and not pretending to do so in a flight simulator. Even the cockpits glows and flashes with a swarm of gauges and buttons that look so darn pretty. Rendered after real aircraft, the planes look fantastic, in fact all the graphics are top notch. The sounds of the different jet engines add character to each aircraft. Radio contact with your mates is ensconced with crackles, hiss and white noise; and never sounded better. The animation of the planes is smooth, and the explosions are a treat to watch and listen to anytime.

Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies Missions

Ace Combat 6
Always know whats happening with the onscreen system.

The 24 missions are each prefaced with a solid battle plan that includes ground troops and weapon selection. There are a good many weapons to choose from, but players have to pick the right ones for the right job. The same goes for the planes, as they can purchase up to 19 more that range from something the Wright Brothers would have rejected to the stealthy F-117A. Each plane has different flight characteristics and players will have to be wary of how it will handle when loaded with certain weapons. A plane full of bombs may be tailor-made for a bombing mission but it may be like asking Louie Anderson to run the hurdles when it comes to a dogfight.

Lots of surprises can be expected as few missions ever go as planned. Players can expect to encounter a wild card in each level that is typically not in their favor. It will keep gamers on their toes and helps keep Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies from feeling redundant. As mentioned, this is not a sim and some of the missions are little “out there” but within the context of the storyline these little flights of fantasy don’t seem too crazy. There is a storyline, but it’s not going to win any awards, or many fans for that matter. For example, players will be asked to perform maneuvers that will re-enact the famous trench run scene in the first Star Wars movies and on another mission will have to protect the Earth from falling stars with your anti-asteroid cannon.

Last Thoughts

If gamers shied away from such aircraft games in the past because of the vertical learning curve they will be pleased to know that they can get the plane up and running in this game after a few short lessons. Players don’t have to customize the cockpit, learn all the gauges and the landings and take-offs are all taken care of. So those of us with a short attention span can rejoice and get on with the show. As mentioned previously this game is worth at least a rental but overall would make a good addition to a gamers collection shelf.

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