Ace Combat : The Unsung WAR(US) or SQUADRON LEADER (PAL) is the fifth title in the flightsim - arcade mix Ace Combat series and the second to appear on the playstation 2. And as his predecessor it is one of the most beautiful games ever made on this console. It has almost photo-realistic graphics (although ground-textures are a little blurry due to disk space restrictions) and a very, very impressive soundtrack. Great sound effects too. The story progresses through the game in CGIcut-scenes between the missions and has a story that outruns many many films made today. Some great scenes are:
******SPOILERS***** Don't read these if you want to enjoy the game to its fullest.
- sinking of the Kestrel - Yukotbanian fleet defecting - salute to crashed wingman
* Besides the campaign-mode there's an arcade mode in which you play Moebius 1, the character of Ace Combat 4. While progressing, you can choose out of various airplanes, and by filling their kill bar you can unlock more advanced upgraded versions of them. As for the ingame part, reloading during missions by crossing the return line is no longer possible, you have to do it with the payload you get at the start, so use your missiles wisely and your guns intensely. Another great thing is the higher difficulty rate and the increased number of missions; from 18 to 27. Some other things that changed is the possibility to give your wingman simple commands using the D-pad and the fact that you can answer questions during the missions whit a simple yes or no, which sometimes changes the course of the game and let you play other missions. This means if you want to unlock all of the planes, you have to go through the game at least twice making different choices along the road.But it's not perfect, besides some minor glitches it has a rather repetitive gameplay if your not a flightsimfan: there are only so many things you can do with a plane and they forgot(?) to implement the 2-player option (as in ac4) or the hoped online-mode. Some missions have a more then suspicious resemblance with some of Ace Combat 4 (Stonehenge Offensice and the Fortres, anyone?)or previous versions. But the storyline is so good and there are so many things to unlock that those flaws don't bother you until you finish the game for like the 8th time.
PRO - the only worthwhile flightsim on the ps2 - great mix between sim and arcade - great graphics and sound - a lot of missions, both in campaign and arcade - a lot of planes - giving commands to your wingman - very easy learning curve - great TOP-GUN like dogfights
CON - repetitive after a while an very similar gameplay compared to AC04 - ground textures slightly downgraded to make space - some missions are very alike of those in previous versions causing a bit of a deja-vu
CHANGES TO ACE COMBAT 04 - no return line or reloading - no auto-pilot (d-pad for giving orders)
Rent or buy? Buy! you can't go wrong with this title and renting it for a couple days only gives you a slight peek in the fun you'll have laying this game
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