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Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Series) Review

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Posted: 4 weeks ago, last updated 3 weeks ago.

Author: Ben Kendall, @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is the latest flying and shooting game in the Ace Combat series of games. It features lots of real-life aircraft to master and weather conditions that impact gameplay and controls, while still retaining a fast-paced arcade-like style of gameplay that forgoes some elements of realism for a more exciting and accessible experience.

Alongside a single-player narrative campaign, which carries on the story from previous entries and sees you you play a pilot nicknamed "Trigger" in a war known as The Lighthouse War, you can play in online multiplayer dogfights in teams or solo, allowing for flexibility in how you choose to play.

You fly around, controlling your speed and direction, and blast air and ground targets in a series of dogfights and attack runs. Similarly to Star Wars Squadrons, you need to quickly evade inbound missiles using flares, and fire on faraway ships with a variety of different weapons. The weather also affects your ability to do certain actions; for example, flying through clouds hinders your visibility and ability to target enemies, and lightning strikes can disrupt or temporarily disable scanners and controls.

The PS4 version also has levels designed to be played in virtual reality, offering a greater sense of immersion and realism.

There have been several Ace Combat games, both main series games and spin-offs, over the years and are available on a wide variety of platforms:
  • Air Combat (1995) Playstation
  • Ace Combat 2 (1997) Playstation
  • Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere (1999/2000) Playstation
  • Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies (2001/2002) PS2
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (2004) PS2
  • Ace Combat Advance (2005) Game Boy Advance
  • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War (2006) PS2
  • Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception (2006) Playstation Portable
  • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (2007) Xbox 360
  • Ace Combat Xi: Skies of incursion (2009) iOS
  • Ace Combat: Joint Assault (2010) Playstation Portable
  • Ace Combat Assault Horizon: Trigger Finger (2010) iOS
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon (2011) Xbox 360, PS3
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (2011) 3DS
  • Ace Combat: Northern Wings (2011) iOS, Android (No longer available to download officially)
  • Ace Combat Infinity (2014) PS3
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+ (2015) New Nintendo 3DS
  • Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (2020)

DetailsGame Details

Content Rating: PEGI 12

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Release Date: 30/06/1995, updated in 2019

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, Android, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, PSP, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting and Shooting

Accessibility: 24 features

Developer: Bandai Namco US (@BandaiNamcoUS)

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 12 hours and 34 hours to complete.
 
Players: This is a single player game. You can play with up to 8 players online. There are two online multiplayer modes, a team dogfight and a battle-royale, last man standing mode. Each game is played with 8 players, with the team game being 2 teams of 4 and the battle-royale being all-against-all.

CostsCosts

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown usually costs £49.99.
 

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Xbox One £49.99
 
Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.  

You need Xbox Live Gold to play online with Xbox 360.
 
You need to purchase a PlayStation Plus subscription to play online with PlayStation 4.
 
You need to purchase a Xbox Live Gold subscription to play online with Xbox One. There are several pieces of downloadable software you can buy that give new levels, aircraft or cosmetics. In addition, you can buy the Deluxe edition, which comes with some of this content.

The additional content you can purchase includes: Experimental Aircraft, F-16XL, F-15 S/MDT, FB-22 Strike Raptor, ASF-X Shinden, Anchorhead Raid, ADFX-01 Morgan, ADF-01 FALKEN, ADF-11F Raven, F-4E Phantom II.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 12 for Bad Language.
 
Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

In the US, ESRB state: Players use missiles, machine guns, and bombs to destroy targets in realistic, frenetic combat. Battles are highlighted by frequent gunfire, radio chatter, and explosions. One cutscene briefly depicts a pilot with small amounts of blood splattered on her helmet after a crash. The word “sh*t” appears in the dialogue.

Skill Rating

10+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. Although you need quick reactions and the ability to sift and execute on large amounts of data in limited time, the exuberance of the experience makes it a good game for younger players, particularly those looking for an alternative to Fortnite.

Account Rating

You need PlayStation Plus to play online with PlayStation 3.
 
You need be 18-years-old to to subscribe to Xbox Live Gold for online play, but can then configure family accounts for younger players to play online with Xbox One.
 
You need be 18-years-old to subscribe to PlayStation Plus for online play, but can create sub-accounts for younger players of 7-years or older to play online with PlayStation 4.

AccessibilityAccessibility

This report is based on the latest game, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.

In each of the campaign levels, you can select from one of four difficulties ranging from Easy to Ace, and there is also a mode called Free Flight, where you can explore the map of each level with no enemies. This does not count as completing the level. You can also enable reduced collision damage. On any difficulty, you need to respond to changes in the gameplay, like a missile locking onto you, relatively quickly, and keeping track of enemy ships requires fast manoeuvring.

Much of the text throughout the game is quite small, and some of it is semi-transparent, making it almost unreadable in certain areas. Other text, including the subtitles, is white, which can make it very difficult to read against a cloudy backdrop while in flight.

The map in the game shows other ships clearly, and the HUD indicates very clearly the nearest target, giving its direction and distance. However, like the text in the game, it can be difficult to read depending on what's behind it.

When using the PSVR headset, you can use the PlayStation camera. You can select between two different control schemes: Standard and Expert. On the Expert control scheme, you can execute more advanced manoeuvers such as tighter rolls and high-g turns. You can also use a flight stick, in both normal and VR play, for a more immersive and realistic experience.
 
Our Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown Accessibility Report documents 24 accessibility features:

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Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 12 or ESRB TEEN games.

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Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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