Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
Ace Combat 2 (PlayStation) artwork

Ace Combat 2 (PlayStation) review


"Sequels always have the daunting task of besting their predecessors. If the follow-ups don't match or go beyond their quality, they could potentially destroy the series, or put it into stasis for a few years. Ace Combat 2 was in a situation where it couldn't just match Air Combat and expect gamers to accept it; the game was way too simple and short, and while it had some nice dogfighting action (on the hard setting, at least), there wasn't enough of it to warrant multiple playthroughs. I'..."



Sequels always have the daunting task of besting their predecessors. If the follow-ups don't match or go beyond their quality, they could potentially destroy the series, or put it into stasis for a few years. Ace Combat 2 was in a situation where it couldn't just match Air Combat and expect gamers to accept it; the game was way too simple and short, and while it had some nice dogfighting action (on the hard setting, at least), there wasn't enough of it to warrant multiple playthroughs. I'm sure players would have been pretty upset if this was to be repeated, and so Ace Combat 2 was placed in the uncomfortable spot of making or breaking the series.

Well, it definitely starts off with a good first impression. The menus have a slick, militaristic look to them, and the briefings actually take you on a ride through its mini 3D maps of missions you'll be joining, a far cry from the overhead sprite maps from Air Combat. On first glance of the starting mission, you can immediately tell the visuals are better than 95% of anything that appeared in its older brother. The messed up thing about that statement, besides calling Air Combat an older brother, is that the mission consists of water and islands. The ocean is actually textured this time, thankfully, so you don't have to worry about crashing when you're flying right above it. The various planes that you get to purchase and fly also don't look like they belong in a circus act, finally receiving paint jobs that make them appear like fighting machines. My favorite would have to be the TND-F3's desert camo design that meshes well with its jet engines, which emit blue heat. The thing looks like a beast, matching its combat abilities.

However, despite these visual improvements, the first two missions had me concerned about Ace Combat 2 as a whole. They were creepily identical to the first two missions in Air Combat: shoot down bombers invading a base, followed by destroying an escort crew. I was afraid that, the more I progressed, this was going to dissolve into the same simplicity of its predecessor.

Thank Pac-Man it didn't.

While, when all's said and done, this is still a game about shooting down targets with jet fighters, Ace Combat 2 approaches the concept much better than Air Combat ever did. Take for example a late mission where the objective is to blow up radars. The catch is that you can't lock on with your missiles, instead forcing you to go in uncomfortably close and hit them with your machine guns. Not one to end there, the developers decided to place some radars in absurdly tight canyons. The only way you'll be able to reach them properly is to make a sharp dive in, then quickly climb back out after their destruction. If this mission was in Air Combat... it would simply be about blowing up radars in the open. With the ability to lock on with missiles. Another mission asks you to annihilate an escort group while your radar is all jacked up. The enemies still pop up on it for a millisecond from time to time, so it's one of those instances where having a lot of patience and focus will lead to victory. Hell, there's instances where you'll have to land your plane on aircraft carriers. Granted, you can only do it twice in the entire game... but it was thoughtful!

Also, as if hunting and destroying your airborne opponents wasn't fun enough already, the developers actually give you an extra incentive for doing this: if you get fighters with special names attached to them, you'll be rewarded with medals and possibly new planes to purchase. It won't be easy, though, because most missions have a hefty number of planes, and they have AI that's an improvement over the one featured in Air Combat. On the Normal difficulty setting, no less. They'll try every trick in an attempt to escape your pursuit, from flying low and slowing down as you speed towards them, to moving erratically and climbing altitudes that can stall your plane if you're not careful. And since you have analog support this time, you can use the Expert control set-up with ironic ease. It's really the only proper way to play, since it'll feel like you're actually flying the plane. And trust me, when you're in missions where both allied and enemy planes fly at every single angle, chasing everyone above canyons, cities, and forests, from dusk to dawn, while an immersed soundtrack plays in the background, you'll need it.

Some of the missions, though, while having good concepts, do come off gimmicky, due to a lack of trying to expand the ideas. There's one mission where you'll need to destroy targets flying at high altitudes (the stratosphere), and since none of your planes available at that time aren't very stable at those heights, it's going to be tough. But because there is a lack of targets to begin with, the mission ends quick. They never give you another mission like this again. It would have been great if this was repeated in a later mission, where you have to fight a boss-type jet fighter in the clouds before it reaches a target.

Those types of issues are minor, fortunately. Some might find fault in the game's length, however, even though it is longer than Air Combat. I would usually agree, but Ace Combat 2 is enjoyable to the point that you can keep replaying and not get tired of it. There's also the various medals you can achieve in missions, which, again, is a challenge in itself. I mean, you can actually run the risk of completely depleting your fuel if you take too long! With all these improvements, as well as the overall enjoyment of the product, I think it's safe to say that Ace Combat 2 didn't break the series.

Rating: 8/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (March 09, 2010)

The House of the Dead 1 Story Time: PickHut once saw a guy in an arcade bar make it to the Magician boss battle, and he was fighting him with both guns. While wearing a cowboy hat.

More Reviews by pickhut
The House of the Dead 2 (Dreamcast) artwork
The House of the Dead 2 (Dreamcast)

At last you've come... FRIENDS. The door.. of fate.. shall open.
Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360) artwork
Sniper Elite V2 (Xbox 360)

Karl Fairburne 2.0: allergic to headgear.
Sniper Elite (Xbox) artwork
Sniper Elite (Xbox)

Karl Fairburne: survived WWII Berlin, Germany despite having to deal with soldiers seeing through solid matter.

Feedback

If you enjoyed this Ace Combat 2 review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
randxian posted March 16, 2010:

There is some good and useful information in this review. Problem is, it's presented in a somewhat clumsy fashion.

While I agree with what you are stating in the intro, it doesn't let the reader know what direction things are heading. After reading the intro. I have no idea if this is going to be a praise review, a bash review, or something in between.

One aspect I like is how you presented a couple of examples to show how certain types of mission are more fun and challenging in this game contrasted to its predecessor.

Also, you don't really wrap things up with the conclusion; you just add some more new information and just suddenly stop.

Overall, it is a good review with some useful information. I feel like I came away well informed about the game. I just think it could be presented a bit crisper.
board icon
pickhut posted March 17, 2010:

I do agree that the last sentence or two of the outro is a little lazy and abrupt. I oddly couldn't find a good way to end the review.

As for the reason for how the review is setup, the intro basically asks the question of how AC2 is going to turn out, then goes into the rest of the review, which weighs the ups and the downs, with the positives outweighing the minor negatives.

Thanks for the feedback and comments on the review.

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Info | Help | Privacy Policy | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Ace Combat 2 is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Ace Combat 2, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.