Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War E3 2004 Preshow Impressions

We catch a glimpse of some impressive cutscenes and gameplay footage from Namco's highly anticipated flight combat sequel, and we have some preliminary details to share.


Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War

2001's Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies remains unsurpassed in the realm of flight combat games. The arcade-style flight simulation not only featured some of the most visceral and downright impressive air combat ever to be found on consoles, but it boasted a surprisingly enthralling storyline for good measure. Now Namco is finally beginning to show off the long-awaited sequel--and hopeful successor--to Ace Combat 04's legacy. All we got to see was an early trailer of the game, but this showed off some stupefying graphics that appeared to be in-game, some great-looking CG cutscenes, and some of the game's settings.

The latest Ace Combat will once again bring intense dogfighting action and gripping storyline together in one complete package.
The latest Ace Combat will once again bring intense dogfighting action and gripping storyline together in one complete package.

Perhaps what was most impressive about this trailer, though, was not how it looked so much as how it sounded. Intensely delivered radio chatter between the game's characters offered tiny snippets of the plot, but more importantly, revealed that this game is going to pack some pretty serious voice-acting performances. We got really worked up by all the yelling in the trailer by the time it was over, so it's reasonable to expect the Top Gun-style drama to unfold in spectacular fashion in this game.

One of the game's most touted features is called "wingman command," where players will be able to issue orders quickly to entire squadrons for some large-scale action. The game's visuals are also one of the game's main selling points, and once you take a look at those screenshots (much less see the game in action), you'll know why. Ace Combat 5's story mode will feature about 30 unique scenarios, but it's just one of four different modes of play that will be contained in the game.

The game will take place in the near future, amidst a struggle between two fictitious nations. This theoretically gives the developers license to get creative with the premise and storyline, while still giving players the realistic flight action and familiar jet fighters they'd expect from an Ace Combat game.

Namco is obviously proud of this particular product. "Nothing even comes close," said the trailer's tagline. Ace Combat is a venerable series that really came into its own with the fourth installment, and this next chapter--which will feature fierce dogfighting and air-to-ground sorties over land, sea, and cityscape--certainly seems like it's aiming to replicate its predecessor's success. Namco representatives asked that we not mention any of the specific jets we saw in the trailer due to licensing issues, so assuming those issues all get smoothed over, you could reasonably expect to see many of your favorite fighter jets in the game. In fact, Namco promises no fewer than 50 real-world aircraft, including some unlockable content. Ace Combat 5 is slated to ship late this year. We'll have more on the game as soon as possible.

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