Ace Combat 2

a game by Namco Ltd.
Genre: Flying
Platforms: Playstation PSX
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews
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Ace Combat 2
Ace Combat 2
Ace Combat 2
Ace Combat 2

Flight attendants, prepare for departure! Ace Combat 2 crams more high-altitude excitement, air-to-air nastiness, and missile-poppin' fun down your throat than the original!

Wind Beneath Your Wings

Namco is set to deliver another jet-jockey arcade game to the PlayStation in September with this sequel to 1995's premiere PSX title, Air Combat. Get ready to rock with double the planes, double the missions, and a ramped-up A.I. that's ready to scorch your sorry ass the minute you settle into the cockpit.

Hit and Missile

Although only one other flight game came close to the excitement of Air Combat (namely, Agile Warrior), Ace Combat 2 tears you a new flight path with deeper missions (like blasting oil rigs or escorting fighters through troubled skies), and more detailed backgrounds--especially near cities and populated areas.

This is Ground Control

With easy-to-handle controls, two-button shooting (the game could have used more diverse weapons), and plenty of action, you'll be impressed with Ace Combat 2. For gamers who have never handled a "real" flight sim, this is the perfect one to cut your teeth on. Either way, get ready for more dogfighting than at a singles bar.

Game Reviews

Overview

A realistic combat simulation that is actually easy to play? No, it can't be. Wait a minute. It is! Ace Combat 2 is easy to play. You don't have to be a real-life pilot or military officer to fly your missions. This is truly a rarity in today's combat sims.

Ace Combat 2 throws you in the pilot seat of up to 8 actual military fighters to take on tons of bad guys. You engage in furious air-to-air and air-to-ground combat, and it is up to you and occasionally your wingman (or -woman) to put an end to it all. It seems as if some military rebels have decided to perform a little uprising and have managed to seize the United Forces administrative center. Of course, this was not enough -- they are rapidly marching onward, taking over everything in their path. So the United Forces calls on you to lead a mercenary tactical strike force and stop the rebels at all costs. Sure, no problem. I was just going to watch the ball game and drink a beer, but saving the world sounds a bit more fun.

Gameplay

Unlike most military war games I've seen, you don't have to be an aerial combat expert to play Ace Combat 2. That has always been my biggest complaint about flying games: you either kick ass or you can't play at all. And unfortunately, I have had to circle the "can't play" box. I always watch people who could and thought it looked so cool, but I could just never get the hang of it. If you have the same problems, then look no further. Ace Combat 2 is for you.

The main thing that makes the game easy to play is the simple controls. Most of the buttons on the controller are used, but they are all logical and easy to learn. After one mission, you will be flying like a pro. Also, the radar is very simple and it maps out where your enemies are and the direction you need to head to find them. The radar is always present in the lower corner of the screen, so you don't have to stop to look at a different screen every time you want to see where to go. The other thing that makes it easy is that you are not bogged down with tons of weapons choices to learn. You have a machine gun and some missiles. You don't have 312 different types of missiles, either. You just have missiles. Just shoot away.

The game is mission-based with up to 30 missions to complete. The object is to complete the missions as quickly and accurately as possible. At the end of the mission, you will receive a rank depending on your performance, as well as a cash award for completing the objective. As the game progresses and your rank rises, different aircraft become available for you to purchase (even though you are working for the government, they still make you buy the planes -- typical). Each plane has different characteristics, although to a novice like myself, they all felt pretty much the same. Anyway, the further you go and the more missions you complete, the more money you have available to purchase the better planes.

You can buy new planes all day long, but I think the best-spent money is on a wingman. You have the option on some missions to hire a wingman and give him directions. If my mission included erasing a ground target, I would command my wingman to engage enemy aircraft so I only needed to concentrate on the ground targets and not the other aircraft. Don't get me wrong. You will still have to fight off your share of aircraft, but at least you have help. This helped me out more than any fancy new airplane ever could.

One of the things that makes Ace Combat 2 cool is the environments you will fly through. You will fly above mountains, through river valleys, in the middle of cities and over water. Every one of these terrains changes the whole complexity of the game. For example, some missions require you to fly low through a deep river valley because the enemy has surface-to-air missiles that would knock you out of the sky so fast you would not know what hit you. So you are forced to stay below radar, and the only way to do this is to fly inside the valley. This means your focus is not only on the enemy, but also on not crashing into the wall. One of the coolest missions places you in a city with a harbor. You are fighting ships docked in the bay, taking out bridges to stop traffic and flying between skyscrapers. That is a total rush.

One thing I did not understand was occasionally you were asked to land your plane either on a landing strip or an aircraft carrier. It did not seem to make much difference if you succeeded or failed. It was almost like a throw-in at the last minute. Someone said, "Wouldn't it be cool if you had to land your plane?" Everyone groans because the game is almost ready to ship, but the CEO thinks it's a great idea, so the programmers threw it in. I don't know if it's true, but since landing the plane lacks any real point in the game, it seems logical to me.

Graphics

The graphics in Ace Combat 2 are great. All the different environments were awesome. I felt like I was really flying through the valley -- with one small flaw. I did not really get a true sense of speed of some of the terrain. When you are flying over long mountain ranges at 600 MPH, you really did not feel like you were flying that fast. On the other hand, if you tried flying that fast through the city, you would not live very long.

The other thing that stood out graphically was the enemy fighters. When you were in a dogfight, you felt like it. The other planes were realistic-looking and somewhat intelligent. They did not just let you lock onto them and blast away. When you finally did nail them, the explosions were well-rendered and dramatic. Also, some planes would start smoking and dropping before exploding -- a nice touch of realism.

Bottom Line

If you have never been able to master a flying combat game, your time has come. This game has some of the most simplistic controls and easiest flying system around. Outstanding graphics and intense gameplay make this game fun that will last for a while. The different environments that you fly through are a welcome addition. I am starting to think that Namco may be the surprise developer for the PlayStation.

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