Ace Combat (Japanese translation: エースコンバット) is a series of arcade flight sims originating from Japan. The game first saw light in arcades in 1993 under the name Air Combat, and later Air Combat 22. It eventually made it’s way onto consoles, with Air Combat hitting the PSX in 1995. Since then, multiple console offerings have been produced spanning from the original PlayStation to the much more powerful PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the former offering Virtual Reality capability.
Ace Combat’s gameplay style can be characterized as arcade-like rather than simulation. Aircraft loaded with 50+ missiles and special weaponry are the norm. The series is well-known for it’s dramatic and twisting storylines, told through means such as anime-style cutscenes (Electropshere, Shattered Skies), or movie-like animation (The Unsung War). Epic soundtracks are also a hallmark of the series, with each track enhancing the atmosphere of every in game mission.
Fans of the series are a small, niche community. The games may not have reached the level of popularity as other AAA titles, but the majority of the Ace Combat community are known to be hardcore and dedicated fans to the series. Challenges such as the Japanese and North American market differences contribute to this; however many of the console releases have reached the status of PS2’s “Greatest Hits” and Xbox 360’s “Platinum Collection” series.
Ace Combat is published by Bandai Namco games, and developed by Project Aces. They have also released other arcade flight games, most notably Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces.