Ace Combat 4: Shattered Skies Preview
Air Combat, is the originator of a series that started something amazing. Namco's Air Combat game was one of the first 3D shooters on any console, if not the first. The second, slightly changed to Ace Combat 2, redefined the original in so many ways. Sporting sleek visuals, and stainless gameplay, AC2 is said to be the best of the current three, but I beg to differ. Ace Combat 3, which was released exactly one year ago, featured some excellent control, great missions, exciting gameplay, and even more action. On the count of that, some of the best PSOne visuals around. I was more than thrilled when I first saw Ace Combat 4 running on PS2 hardware, at first I thought it was an actual photo of an airplane being flown by a pilot, but good ol' Val informed me that it was an actual gameplay shot of AC4. As stunned as I was, I was still able to blubber out the words "oo ma' gawd!"
First we have Gran Turismo 3: A Spec and its photo realistic graphics, then we have Metal Gear Solid 2, The Bouncer, Onimusha, Klonoa 2... must I go on? Now we have Ace Combat 4, which is right up there with GT3's photo realism, to say the least the results are beyond impressive. Namco hasn't really said anything specific regarding polygon counts per aircraft, but I would say that AC4 easily sports at least 10,000 polygons. The detail per airplane is immense, and with the vast landscapes that Namco has created, it only makes you wonder (and drool) how well the game actually moves and plays. The airplanes look downright gorgeous, the little details such as the seams between the fins are noticeable. The environments are just as spectacular, the scenery detail is very realistic, things like houses, trees and farms can be spotted easily from the top. By the time AC4 is completed, expect the game to hopefully stream at 60 frames per second.
In the line of Ace Combat titles the objectives have always been "gun down the enemy". If it moves shoot it, unless it's a partner of yours. If anybody knows, the Japanese version of AC3 had a story in it, but the US version didn't. Hopefully the story being planned for the Japanese release of AC4 makes the cut in the US version. You assume the role of a pilot, his parents were killed during the beginning stages of a war. Their house was shot upon by an enemy airplane, so now the game's protagonist is going to search for the pilot, to avenge his parents. As the controller of real aircrafts, you will be accomplishing 24 missions on the continent of Ujia. If you've checked out the trailer, you may have noticed an F-14 Tomcat, an F-117 stealth fighter or an F-15 Eagle but from the screenshots that we have now, the F-22 Raptor, the French 'Rafale', and the French 'Mirage 2000' can be seen. At the moment six aircrafts have been discovered, but there are possibly more.
Look for Ace Combat 4 around September 2001 time, it's a very firm estimate.