Hands-on Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere

Namco's third Ace Combat game has arrived in stores in Japan. Read our first impressions of the final product.


As with any new Namco game, you can expect a high level of quality and great gameplay. The latest installment of the successful Ace Combat franchise is now in its third edition, titled Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere. The graphics are not as high a jump in quality as, say, the leap that Tekken 3 made from Tekken 2, but the overall quality is comparable to that of Ridge Racer Type 4. From the soft, subtle lighting effects to the smooth fade-in techniques used to fill in the horizon are all present here.

The plane designs are as sleek and ambitious as their Ridge Racer counterparts, and like Ridge Racer Type 4, Ace Combat 3 also features human interaction in the form of hand/computer animated segments that serve to link the storyline together, while offering a personality lacking from the previous installments.

Unfortunately, for some bizarre reason, the game doesn't seem as though it's as much fun as the awesome Ace Combat 2. Despite offering a wide variety of missions (including deep-space missions!) and planes to fly, the game seems incredibly forced and linear, although it follows the same progression tree as the second game. However, we'll reserve final judgement until we write the final review.

Spanning two discs, to fit in all the animation, Ace Combat 3 certainly offers a lot of gameplay to PlayStation owners. How much you'll want to investigate remains to be seen.

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