Ace Combat Infinity Review: ruling the skies

  • Posted June 8th, 2014 at 07:04 EDT by Dane Smith

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Ace Combat Infinity

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A sequel that does the franchise proud. Being free-to-play means no-one has a reason not to try it out. Established fans will have incentive to keep playing their PS3 during the PS4 generation, while rookies have a great platform to get their feet wet in the series.

We like

  • Free-to-play model not being bogged down in microtransactions
  • The varied aircraft and gear available for use
  • The quick loading times

We dislike

  • Free fuel capped at 3 with such a long refresh time
  • The high in-game cost to unlock future campaign missions
  • The lack of initial stages

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Although there are a limited number of stages currently, they are still fun and varied for a person’s play style. Some focus on air-to-air, air-to-ground, and other are well balanced, thus allowing people to get the most out of their planes. Switching targets on the fly can be a bit frustrating at times, but that is nothing new to the series as with so many units flying around the chaos of it all gives a more authentic feel for real-life battle. But with that said, the game is by no means hard. Except for me taking too long to use the machine gun on a ground target, I never died. When I did die, most of the damage was essentially self-inflicted due to the previous reason. The challenge of the game comes from getting the highest score within the time limit, rather than playing on insanity mode and coming out alive.

There is a campaign mode with a story in the game, and sadly that is where the hype from TGS fell short. Unless you buy a $20 pass, you must use your daily fuel to play campaign mode. They don’t offer the same amount of rewards as online co-op, so the only reason is to play for the story and a few story-based challenges. Not only is your limited fuel needed, but also your limited cash flow. It takes 200K or more to unlock future story missions, and currently with only getting 20K at best with a mercenary contract doubling your cash, it is a long grind when finances are needed for planes and parts.

Most games I’ve reviewed tend to have music at the extremes, meaning love it or hate it. Infinity doesn’t have that one song that will stand out a la Duel of Fates, but instead strikes a balance of complimenting each other. Never did I want to turn off the music to play something else. Nothing had me wanting to sign-up for flight school either, like Ace Combat 5 did, but neither did I turn the volume down.

Graphically the game makes use of the PS3 hardware and looks like a PS3 game. The planes look slick, and the backgrounds from afar look realistic. The clouds really do look like clouds, and the billows of smoke cut a stunning scene before a bomber is about to explode and drop out of the sky. Getting paint scrappingly close to the ground or buildings will disappoint those who hold graphics in the highest regard as there is some pixilation but to be fair this is a game where your eyes should be more focused on the target than the scenery.

The transition from a standard game to free-to-play was a risky move for the series but it paid off. It is a fun, challenging game that veterans of the series and rookies can enjoy. The fact that it is free means the consumer has nothing to lose for trying it out, especially if never having played an Ace Combat game before. It is a sequel that does the franchise proud.

Dane Smith is PSU's Reviews Editor, a licensed teacher from St. Thomas University, and has a healthy addiction to Monster energy drinks. Buy his novel, follow him on twitter or check out his his article catalog.
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