Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
|Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation|
Namco (Japan and Europe) |
Namco Bandai Games (North America)
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (エースコンバット6 解放への戦火 Ēsu Konbatto Roku Kaihō e no Senka, Ace Combat 6: War on Liberation) is the sixth installment of the Ace Combat franchise, developed by Project Aces and published by Namco Bandai Games, and released in October 2007. It is the first game in the franchise to be released exclusively for the Xbox 360, rather than a PlayStation platform as had been done with previous titles, and the first to include online multiplayer modes and downloadable content. Like other titles in Namco's Ace Combat series, Ace Combat 6 features standard gameplay from the series that mixes arcade flight with authentic flight simulation.
While the game encompasses a variety of licensed, real-world fighter jets and aircraft, the game's story takes place within the fictional world setting of the series. The game's main campaign focuses on the sudden invasion of a nation by its neighbours, and the subsequent efforts by its armed forces to retake back their country and its capitol, with players taking command of the pilot of a two-plane squadron that assists in this effort. Unlike other games in the series in which the events are narrated from a single perceptive, the story's events are interlaced with a series of side-stories told by various figures, describing their personal struggles and opinions regarding the ongoing conflict as it progresses.
While gameplay elements from previous titles persist in Ace Combat 6, the game's main campaign features more extensively detailed missions. New elements include the majority of single-player missions featuring a multitude of objectives to complete, in which players need only achieve a certain quota of these to progress to the later stages of a mission, and the ability to call in support from allied units during a mission. The game received generally favourable reviews upon release.
As with other games in the series, Ace Combat 6 places players in the role of a fighter pilot, tasked with destroying foes both in the air and on the ground. The game's main controls are simplified as part of the series' design as an arcade flight game, with players given access to not only a wide variety of licensed fighter jets, but also access to a variety of weapons - alongside a vulcan cannon and missiles, planes can be equipped with one of several special weapons for use in engagements, including heat-seeking missiles, bombs, and rocket launchers, amongst others; while the cannon has unlimited ammo, both missiles and special weapons have a set amount. While the player can lock on to foes and switch between targets (dependent on weapon being used), the in-game HUD provides feedback on ammo amounts, damage to the craft, speed and altitude, offers a radar that can be tuned to different zoom levels or display a full map of the combat zone, and provide information on the amount of time left during a playthrough, and the player's current score.
The single-player campaign consists of a total of fifteen missions, in which players must complete a set number of objectives defined in the mission. Prior to starting a mission, players must select the jets and loadout that both they and the AI wingman will be using - aircraft that can be used is limited at the start, though more choice is provided at later stages upon the player using in-game credits earned from their performance in the campaign, to unlock new planes. Unlike previous titles in the series, Ace Combat 6's campaign features missions in which the player takes part in one of several ongoing operations - the majority of missions have several operations, ranging from three to six, in which the player needs to complete a set quota (roughly the majority of operations), in order to open up the final stages of the mission. Such operation primarily focuses on assisting or defending allied air, ground or naval forces as they attempt to complete a key objective, usually by taking out targets assigned to that operation. Completing an operation can sometimes provide a benefit to the player to help with completing the mission, such as providing a frontline base to land at in order to repair and rearm themselves and/or their wingman. In such missions, the player can select what starting position they begin at, thus dictating what operation they want to focus on first, and can alter the radar on their HUD to help them with pinpointing the targets associated to an operation. Along with a wingman that can provided assistance, players can also call in support from allied units to either attack enemies in front of the player or provide covering support - doing so requires the player to charge up a gauge by destroying targets, divided into five segments, in which calling in allied support expends a segment of the gauge.
In addition to the single-player mode, Ace Combat 6 is the first game in the series to offer multiplayer gameplay. The game includes 4 default multiplayer modes: Battle Royale, Siege Battle, Team Battle, and Co-Op Battle. In Battle Royale, the basic Deathmatch game mode, up to sixteen players shoot each other down to earn the highest points at the time limit. In Team Battle, a basic Team Deathmatch game is created. Points are awarded based on the type of aircraft destroyed. A unique type of multiplayer game, Siege Battle is played with two teams, Attacking and Defending. The Attacking team attempts to destroy the target (usually heavily defended by flak) within the time limit. The Defending team tries to halt their attack. The co-op battle mode consists of two single-player missions without AI that can be played with up to three other humans.
Ace Combat 6 follows the fictional cold war and war following between the Republic of Emmeria and the Federal Republic of Estovakia on the Anean continent, north of Yuktobania. It begins with the invasion of the Emmerian capital, Gracemeria, by the Estovakian Air Force on August 30, 2015. Players take on the role of an Emmerian ace pilot and squadron leader who has the callsign Talisman. The player's wingman goes by the callsign Shamrock, and will fight alongside Talisman throughout the entire game. Both characters are assigned to the Garuda team of the Emmerian Air Force's 28th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Prior to the war, an asteroid shower (Caused by fragments of the Ulysses 1994XF04 Asteroid, previously mentioned in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies) devastated Estovakia while Emmeria was left unscathed. Following the impact, a period of chaos and civil war ensued and eventually Estovakia was taken over by "The Generals", uniting the country and beginning a massive military buildup to invade Emmeria.
The story begins in the Emmerian capital of Gracemeria, with the story of Melissa Herman as she watches her daughter, Matilda, getting onto a school bus for a field trip. As she watches, aircraft suddenly swoop in and fire on the King's Bridge, the one Matilda's school bus will be crossing. Emmerian fighter pilots scramble to intercept a surprise invasion by the Estovakian Air Force, resulting in a full-scale war between the two nations.
The Emmerian Air Force and Navy manages to repel the first attack, but Nimbus cruise missiles launched from offshore destroy any aircraft and ship within their blast radius, crippling nearly half of the Emmerian forces. Ace pilots from the Estovakian Air Force's "Strigon Team", led by Lt. Col. Victor Voychek, arrive on the heels of the attack to establish air supremacy over Gracemeria. With the Airborne Warning and Control System deciding that they are militarily at a huge disadvantage, an evacuation is ordered and all pilots are instructed to retreat to the West. These forces rendezvous at Khesed Island, still under the control of Emmeria, and reorganize to conduct a counterattack against the invasion. Civilians are evacuated from the city to the west as well, during which Melissa discovers the wreckage of an aircraft flown by her husband, a pilot in the Emmerian Air Force. After arriving at a refugee camp, she hears the voice of her daughter over a radio broadcast from Gracemeria, and begins a journey back to the city to reunite with her daughter. Meanwhile, in Gracemeria, Voychek is assigned to a ground intelligence role following injuries he sustained in the early stages of the war.
Over the next three months, Emmerian forces on the mainland are continually forced to retreat to the West as constant Estovakian attacks overrun military bases and airfields. Garuda Team manages to repel a bombing raid on the Emmerian airfield at which the Emmerians are stationed, which allows them to advance against the weakened Estovakian forces on Khesed and drive their presence from the island. Garuda Team then provides assistance during an amphibious landing at Rargom Beach in Anea in order to reinforce the exhausting military forces fighting on the mainland. Once the beachhead is secured, the Emmerians begin their counter-offensive as they push Eastward towards Gracemeria, freeing various units surrounded at Silvat Town. As they proceed, they are again within range of Nimbus cruise missiles, which slow their advance. The military retakes San Loma city as a springboard to locating the source of the missiles, which turns out to be the P-1112 Aigaion heavy command cruiser. After learning of its weakness, the Emmerians engage the Aigaion and its support aircraft, leading to its destruction alongside nine members of the Strigon Team assigned to protect it. As the Emmerian military advances quickly through the Moloch Desert, Air Defense Command suddenly orders all forces to cease fire just as they are about to secure victory in the region. Shamrock ignores the order and engages the Strigon Team that has entered the area, forcing Talisman to assist. They successfully shoot down all the Strigon Team members, but both pilots are suspended from all combat operations with a formal reprimand for insubordination. It is revealed that Estovakia is planning to deploy chemical weapons on Gracemeria in a scorched earth policy as a last resort should Emmeria succeed in reaching the city. Offered as a chance to redeem themselves, Garuda Team is then tasked with the destruction of the WMD catalyst stationed at Fort Norton, but after they destroy the catalyst they are surrounded by a battalion of Estovakian planes. Members of the Emmerian Air Force soon arrive to assist Garuda Team, turning the tide of the battle and destroying the enemy fighters. The Emmerian military is now ready to liberate Gracemeria.
After an intense, multistage ground, naval and air battle, the Emmerians manage to defeat the Estovakian garrison of Gracemeria and liberate the city. However, just before aerial supremacy is established, Ilya Pasternak, the new leader of the Strigon Team, arrives at the city just after ordering his squadron to retreat. He engages the Garuda Team along with a large number of combat drones, announcing that "corrupt governments and marred lands are no longer worth fighting to protect. There is only one thing worth protecting now. And that's the future." Despite the technological advantages offered by his advanced, experimental CFA-44 Nosferatu aircraft, Garuda shoots down Pasternak, whose last words were "The Strigon Team has left the combat airspace... we've won." During this time, Melissa arrives at Gracemeria and is reunited with her daughter, who has been living in ancient passages under the city with several war orphans. That night, Garuda Team, alongside various other pilots, are assigned to a night air patrol over the city. While on patrol, Shamrock reveals that his wife and daughter, who had provided his will for fighting, were killed in the war, and decides to resign after the mission because he failed to protect them. Subsequently, waves of cruise missiles, accompanied by stealth fighters which engage the pilots, are launched at Gracemeria from the previously unknown Estovakian weapon, the Chandelier (originally constructed as a defense against the Ulysses 1994XF04 Asteroid). Garuda Team proceeds to shoot down the missiles before any serious damage is done to the city. Voychek, disgusted at his country's willingness to slaughter civilians, hands over vital information concerning Chandelier's weaknesses to Melissa, who asks the Gracemeria radio station to help send the data to the Emmerian Air Forces.
Emmeria pools their active air squadrons in the air force including the Garuda team in an effort to destroy the Chandelier. They manage to slip past the Chandelier's defenses and damage the railgun's cooling systems but fail to destroy the weapon. Shamrock then goes on a suicide mission to locate the final weakness of the weapon by performing a recon of the loading trench below the gun to confirm the position of a backup cooling unit. With his plane damaged by anti-aircraft fire, he is forced to eject from his aircraft before it crashes into the sea. Talisman follows through with the destruction of the cooling unit, before flying into the barrel of the cannon to destroy its core, destroying the Chandelier.
Following the destruction of the Chandelier and during cease-fire negotiations, Voychek and the remaining Estovakian military personnel are housed at a prison camp, where they are guests to an informal wedding arranged in the prison yard between Ludmila and Toscha, a Strigon pilot. As Voychek stands as best man, he does not regret giving up sensitive information regarding Chandelier in order to end the war then and there, and remarks that surviving the war and resigning to capture was nothing to be ashamed of, and that they were not cowards for doing so. A coup d'etat removed The Generals from power as a result of the war and the new government negotiated peace with Emmeria. Shamrock survives his crash, however the injuries he sustained temporarily restricted him to a wheelchair. Shamrock, arriving at the Herman household (which has become a shelter for war orphans) to meet Melissa and Matilda, narrates to Talisman that the peace between both nations had been what they'd always been fighting for and that it had finally come.
Namco has released seven sets of downloadable paint schemes for Ace Combat 6's aircraft. These paint schemes modify the plane's maneuverability, speed, armor, and payloads. Among the schemes available are those of Ace Combat 2's protagonist, paint schemes based on aircraft prototypes, an A-10 with the Shark mouth, and a Halloween paint scheme for the F-14D that gives the plane stealth capabilities. "Colored Wings", aircraft with monotone paint schemes each themed to a different color for airshows are also available. There are also a series of paint schemes modeled after various Ace Squadrons from previous games. These Ace Squadron colors include the Grabacr and Razgriz Squadrons from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War; the Rot Squadron (EF-2000 Typhoon), Espada Squadron (Rafale M), Gault Squadron (Su-47 Berkut), Galm Team (Cipher and Pixy F-15E), and Crow Team (PJ F-16C, currently not available) from Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War; Mobius 1 (F-22A Raptor) and Yellow Squadron (Su-33) from Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies; Gryphus 1 (F-22A Raptor) from Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception and Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere organizations UPEO (Eurofighter Typhoon) and General Resources (A/F-117 Nav Hawk).
In addition to the above, alternate paint schemes for several planes based on characters from the series The Idolm@ster are featured. Furthermore, Japanese players were awarded a bonus for pre-ordering the game online. The bonus came in the form of a card with two codes on it. Both would unlock special paint schemes for the F-15E Strike Eagle, based on the Yellow 13 Su-37 and Mobius 1 F-22A Raptor from Ace Combat 04.
Namco has also released downloadable co-op versions of single player missions. Ragno Fortress, and Chandelier are now available in addition to The Aigaion and San Loma which came with the game.
|Manufacturer||Hori, Namco Bandai|
|Type||Flight Joystick controller|
|Generation||Seventh generation era|
|Retail availability||October 23, 2007|
The Ace Edge is a joystick and throttle controller designed specifically for Ace Combat 6. Produced by Hori, it was only made available for purchase in a special-limited edition package of the game. The Ace Edge package was only officially released in North America and Japan. The price of the package was $149.99 US dollars. The package also included an Ace Combat 6 faceplate for the Xbox 360.
It is called "Flight Stick EX" in Japan. It is very similar to the Saitek X45 HOTAS joystick / throttle system popular with PC flight simulation players. The throttle unit is identical, while the control column is slightly different (likely to better accommodate Xbox button maps). The top of the X45 stick featured two 8-way hat switches, one on the left and one at the bottom, and three thumb buttons above them with one under a safety cover; the Ace Edge retains the left 8-way hat switch, but swaps the positions of the thumb buttons and the second hat switch, with three of the Xbox controller's four main buttons in a rearranged order (Y, B and X, left to right, A being the trigger) below an analog mini-stick rather than a second hat switch. The stick also featured both a flexible sleeve over the shaft and spring, and a wrist pad, neither present on the Saitek X45.
The game received generally positive reviews from critics, albeit slightly lower than the previous games. Game review aggregators GameRankings and Metacritic gave the game a rating of 81.57% and 80/100, respectively. TeamXbox gave it an 8.8/10 rating, while X-Play rated it a 4/5.
- Ace Combat 6 DLC Coming Next Week, 1Up.com
- "Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (X360)".
- Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation for Xbox 360 - GameRankings
- for Xbox 360 at Metacritic.com
- "Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation".
- "Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (X360)".
- Electronic Gaming Monthly, Issue #222, December 2007. pg. 122
- "Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (Xbox 360)". Archived from the original on 2008-01-30.
- "Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation".
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