Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation

We take to the skies alongside Namco Bandai testers as we check out Ace Combat 6's previously unseen co-op battle mode.

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Earlier this week, during a meeting with Namco Bandai, we had an opportunity to play through Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation's co-op battles for the first time. The upcoming combat flight simulator will feature only two co-op battles, but we're told that additional levels might be made available for download postrelease. Having enjoyed playing through both of the existing co-op battles during our session, we're certainly hoping that's the case.

Just another day in the office. It won't take long for the action to get hot and heavy in Ace Combat 6.

Ace Combat 6's co-op battles support up to four players simultaneously, and task you with destroying overwhelming enemy forces within a time limit. Each pilot can choose to fly in a different plane, so it's entirely possible that well-organized teams will choose to use specific planes for certain roles in the battle. All of the planes in Ace Combat 6 have different handling characteristics, of course, but their most distinguishing features are the various special weapons in their arsenals. The F-16 that we opted for, for example, had a special weapon that could lock on to four enemy aircraft and fire rockets at all of them simultaneously. We also noticed that there were three other special weapon options for the F-16, but they need to be unlocked--presumably in the single-player campaign--before you can select them.

The time limit for each co-op battle is around 20 minutes. You won't necessarily have that long to complete your objectives, though, because valuable seconds are deducted every time one of you dies and is forced to respawn a safe distance from the action. You won't be popular with your teammates if you're crashing and burning too often, then, but don't think that you can hang back and not get embroiled in the battle without getting noticed, because your kills count toward an individual score as well as an overall score for the team.

Flying alongside three Ace Combat 6 testers from Namco Bandai, our first mission was to destroy a large naval force. Antiaircraft guns and a handful of ground forces made for good target practice en route to the water, but did little to prepare us for the sheer size of the enemy force that was waiting for us there. Clouds of smoke from antiaircraft fire filled the sky in places, and since the enemy fleet counted at least one large aircraft carrier among its number, there were plenty of enemies for us to deal with in the sky in addition to those on the water. The battle reached its climax with a boss battle of sorts, against the Kraken--which on this occasion is simply the name of a huge enemy vessel rather than an octopuslike sea monster.

You can be Maverick and I'll be Ice Man this time.

Even that encounter did little to prepare us for the second of the two co-op missions, which immediately pitted our small squadron against a number of huge, futuristic-looking, flying fortresses. Looking more like spaceships than aircraft, these gigantic enemy craft were equipped with numerous antiaircraft guns and engines that needed to be destroyed individually before we could even hope to knock them out of the sky. The largest of the enemies, a flying aircraft carrier, could be finished off only after its core was destroyed. The core could really only be targeted by a plane flying through the middle of the craft--above its runway and underneath its superstructure--which wasn't quite in the same league as making a trench run to take down the Death Star in Star Wars, but was challenging even after the majority of the antiaircraft guns had been destroyed.

Perhaps the only disappointing thing about our Ace Combat 6 co-op battle experience on this occasion was that we didn't really need to cooperate with the other pilots at all--we were simply four pilots attempting (and succeeding) to complete the same objectives and hoping not to get in each other's way. With that said, the other three players in our group were Namco Bandai testers who have no doubt played through the co-op missions countless times previously, and they were outscoring us by some significant margins. Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation is currently scheduled for release on October 23. Expect a full review soon.

Discussion

30 comments
IIBlackknightII
IIBlackknightII

They should have released on ps2 or ps3 .Its Disappointing, i hope they put also on ps3 atleast.

John_Razic
John_Razic

Dude I practically bought the limited edition right after i got out os school. This game kicks Azz! That flight stick is crazy!

DarthEthong467
DarthEthong467

Just 2 cooperative missions!?! Is that the best they can come up with? I'm still getting it because i'm a fan of the series and it looks awesome.

starfoxmcleoud
starfoxmcleoud

Co-op does sound disappointing, but it's the story and multiplayer that i'm playing for. Already have my gaming chair set up for the flight stick and throttle! And no, the Saitek X-52 will not work simply because any 360 controller has to have a certain chip in it for "security purposes" in order for it to work on the xbox 360. Lame, but at least you don't have to worry about so many horrible third party controllers that are nothing but crap and wasted space on retail shelves and walls.

rebelliousdude
rebelliousdude

combat flight simulator my ass. i dont know why gamespot gets people to preview/review games that dont even know what genre the game theyre BSing about falls under.

locky_uk_2000
locky_uk_2000

'combat flight simulator' Soon as I saw that - I knew to disregard all other information. In no way is AC6 a 'sim' in ANY form. Say that on the GameFAQS forum and you'll get flamed.

degenerate138
degenerate138

this game is absolutely fantastic. the graphics are superb and the gameplay is just awesome.. i've played the demo COUNTLESS times and it's still fun. the ace combat series is known to have a "cheesy" story line but it's not so much so that it takes away from the gameplay.. quite interesting. anyway, i'm definitely buying this game as soon as it comes out. I CANT WAIT!

secondomen
secondomen

I played just about every one of the Ace Combats all the way thru. I was really put off by the dull, cheesy, and boring story crap they added in the prvs couple sequels. It makes the game feel different IMO. Only 2 coop missions is a real dissapointment, coop being the main reason I was looking forward to it. Ill have to pass this time around...Ill pick it up at $29.99 or cheaper tho.

ldonyo
ldonyo

Looks cool, but I'll have to play a demo before I spend any money on it.

hassam7
hassam7

I love the ace combat series! I played ace combat on my ps2, but sadly this is only coming on the 360! And i hav a wii and a ps2!

xcollector
xcollector

It would be sweet if the single player campaign was also co-op. I don't think I have ever played a co-op combat flight simulator. Maybe next time I guess.

Kevdog1976
Kevdog1976

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

The_Seige_King
The_Seige_King

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

The_Seige_King
The_Seige_King

Does anyone know if this will support the Saitek X52 Pro? It would be really sweet if I can take this from my PC and use it for this as well. Looks pretty sharp.

Tomcatman
Tomcatman

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

waraga
waraga

remember ace combat 6 is a timed exclusive for the x box 360

Luker123
Luker123

this sounds pretty neat, but i wonder how difficult it wouldve been to add some more multiplayer levels instead of making us cash out more for the game

AmnestyErr
AmnestyErr

This is excellent, this is something all Ace Combat fans have been waiting for...oh...and the HD factor too!

darthzew
darthzew

I really want this game. I just hope that there's an F22... I've only seen one pic and it wasn't a good angle. Does anyone know for sure if it'll be there?

SMGrawks
SMGrawks

I love the Ace Combat team 8D

km1498
km1498

Great can't wait to get it.

Enterprise-E
Enterprise-E

bruiser2727 Oh dear God, Why isn't this coming out on PS3?! ______________________________________________________ Don't worry given Namco history. We will see a AC7 for the PS3 just like RR6 for 360 and RR7 for PS3. I can't wait to play AC6 and look forward to seeing how the online mode will hold up.

nemesis8722
nemesis8722

coop sounds pretty lame. I really hope the competitive multiplayer will be fun though.

bruiser2727
bruiser2727

Oh dear God, Why isn't this coming out on PS3?!

mfrogue13
mfrogue13

I'm confused; is it split-screen, system-link, or online-only? I have to ask because I don't have ready internet (for gaming) access. I know, it sucks.

ponchato
ponchato

Awesome, and I'm getting a 360 today too 8) Yeah, I'm very excited.