Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War Hands-On

Namco reenters the danger zone with its latest jet fighting game for the PlayStation 2.

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TOKYO--The Ace Combat series has always been about presenting somewhat realistic jet fighting action, and the latest entry in the series is no exception. It'll be on store shelves in Japan in less than a month, and the version on display at the Tokyo Game Show is looking pretty sharp.

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The demo version being shown by Namco contains a few different missions from the game's main campaign. One such mission puts you in defense of a space center that has come under attack by incoming fighter planes. So you'll have to take the fighters out before they can damage the center. The campaign levels have a lot of radio chatter, giving you a clear picture of what's happening in other spots on the battlefield.

Ace Combat 5 will also have an arcade mode with multiple levels and branching paths. The objective in arcade mode is to shoot down a set number of targets before time expires. Time is short, but each time you knock out a target, you earn more time and missiles, making your dirty work much easier to carry out.

The Ace Combat games have always had some slick graphics, and Ace Combat 5 keeps this trend going. The plane models look good, and effects, like smoke trails coming off of damaged enemies, are all in place and look sharp. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the game's graphics are the details of the ground. Rather than use textures that vaguely look like buildings, AC5 renders the buildings polygonally. This makes flying close to the ground more exciting.

Previous games in the series have had interesting, well-told stories to accompany their campaigns. Unfortunately, we weren't able to sample that portion of the game, but with the game hitting stores so soon, you can bet that we'll have more on Ace Combat 5 in the near future. For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of the Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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