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[[caption-width-right:200:[[{{Tagline}} Make Metal Bleed]]]]

->''"Gotta stay fly, gotta stay strong..."''

The twelfth game in the ''VideoGame/AceCombat'' series, intended as a ContinuityReboot for the series. Like ''VideoGame/AceCombatJointAssault'', it is set in the real world. Released on {{PlayStation 3}} and {{Xbox 360}} in 2011. A PC version (the first one in the series) was released in January 2013.

It's [[TwentyMinutesIntoTheFuture the year 2015]], and an unusually large rebellion named 'SRN' surges in East Africa. The governments of the region are quickly overwhelmed, and decide to request the UsefulNotes/UnitedNations for help, who in turn call upon NATO. Given the situation, NATO decides to commission the [[BadassCrew 108th Task Force]], a special unit comprised of fighter pilots & military commanders from several nations, including America and Russia. However, things get worse as the rebels are revealed to be in command of a weapon of mass destruction named "[[FantasticNuke Trinity]]". Enter main character and 108th Task Force leader [[ColonelBadass William Bishop]], who sees himself and his friends involved in an escalating conflict over control of Trinity, which quickly spreads from the deserts of East Africa to the entire planet.

The game now has a '''[[Characters/AceCombatAssaultHorizon character sheet]]'''. Please add all character-specific tropes there.
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!! Tropes found in the game

* OneHundredAndEight: The player characters are members of the 108th Task Force. Which is probably a ContinuityNod to the [[VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar Osean 108th Tactical Fighter Squadron]], callsign "Wardog" (Bishop's callsign is "Warwolf").
* AcePilot: Yeah, you should have seen this one coming. Goes especially for Bishop and Markov.
* ActionCommands: Invoked with the new "Close Range Assault" mechanic: when chased by an enemy, pressing both shoulder buttons at the right moment will have the player perform a maneuver with which to turn the tables.
** You also push a button at certain points to start a cutscene in-mission.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: Yes, the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTtX6GF6D3I can do an Aileron roll ("barrel roll").]]
** Real-life aircraft have many damage control systems and back-ups allowing damaged aircraft to continue on their mission despite taking direct hits from ground fire. These measures include things like self-sealing fuel tanks, fire suppression systems, back-up hydraulics, the list goes on. And yet people tend to think that aircraft hit by a missile should go down with just one or two hits despite the stories of modern fighters being able to return to base after receiving horrendous damage.
** Although the developers were right to remove Bishop's once-prominent facial hair, Air Force regulations ''do'' allow for trimmed mustaches.
** American bombers actually have equipment that show them the radar coverage they're coming into, allowing them to minimize the danger of detection. Remember, while a B-1B can out pace a pursuing fighter (it can hug the terrain while holding its Afterburners for much longer then a fighter could), a [=B2A=] is basically a Big Black Doritos chip, and an easy gun kill if spotted.
* AlwaysOverTheShoulder: The new dynamic third-person camera system. Especially during the helicopter missions or gunning during fighter Close Range Assault sequences. During fighter sequences in DFM and ground attack, the camera will switch to the location of the plane's currently active (or firing) weapon.
* AmericaSavesTheDay: While the playable characters are Americans, 108th Task Force is quite clearly a multinational NATO unit; a French general is in charge of the task force, allied pilots from many other nations often participate in the same missions, and you can still fly planes from other countries.
** [[spoiler:The Russian loyalists also shoulder quite a bit of the burden on the ground when the time comes to take back Moscow.]]
* ArtificialBrilliance: Enemy flights occasionally show good tactical sense for screwing you out of objectives. For instance, on the mission "Siege", if one of the fighters attacking the transports realizes you're too focused on it, they'll break away and lead you into the middle of nowhere to give his buddies free shots. In "Akula", some planes will wait for you to enter DFM before going kamikaze on your allies' ships, so that [[TakingYouWithMe you would ram into the water alongside them]].
* AwesomeButImpractical: The Nosferatu's ADMM weapon is back, but it's taken a little bit of a {{Nerf}}. It takes a little longer for all 12 of its missiles to target enemies, and there's a good chance enemy planes will deflect them by releasing flares anyway. On the plus side though, it does reload fairly fast.
** The [[CoolPlane Sukhoi PAK FA's]] [=EW1=] Trinity is this trope in ''spades''. Yay, it's a fictionalized variant of the Russian's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_of_All_Bombs Father Of All Bombs]], and it kills ground targets instantly. Too bad the weapon in question is only good for two missions, and you only have three shots (just one in multiplayer). At least the [[MacrossMissileMassacre ADMM]] can be used in all missions and online even if it was weakened, and you also don't have to worry about your [[FriendlyFireIndex allies]] [[HoistByHisOwnPetard or yourself]] getting killed by it.
* BilingualBonus: Several cutscenes and in-game dialogues are voiced fully in Russian, though English subtitles are provided.
** Some of the non-American and Russian aircraft speak in other languages, too. The F-2 and ASF-X Shinden II, for example, speak Japanese.
* BloodierAndGorier: Well, Oilier and...[[BuffySpeak Partsier]]. Also applied to ground combat, which marks ''Assault Horizon'' as the first game of the series to include blood.
* BoringButPractical: The special weapons in this game have very little variety beyond your standard assortment of multi-target missiles and bombs. The good majority of fighter planes will have Quick-Aim-Air-Missiles and either a 4 or 6 multi-target missile. Most ground attack types have a 4-target ground missile or precision bomb. Unlike previous games, more exotic weapons like Napalm, Fuel Air Explosive Bombs, Self Forging Fragment Submunitions, and Stand-Off Dispenser, among others, are not present to help destroy your enemies. Just the basic weapons needed to get the job done. One plane does have the Bomblet Dispenser though, and the Nosferatu still has its ADMM and EML. SFFS and SOD are still available, but only for certain multirole strike aircraft.
* BottomlessMagazines: Main cannon ammo is now unlimited on all difficulties, and its use is now governed by an OverHeating mechanic.
* TheCameo: See MythologyGag below.
* CasualDangerDialogue: "Hey, did any of you guys catch that game yesterday? Was Fitzgibbons really in-bounds when he made that catch?"[[note]]Said while in the middle of a massive dogfight above Miami.[[/note]]
* CharacterBlog: The unnamed door gunner with the skull balaclava maintained a Twitter feed for awhile under the name "Hawkgunner". Additionally the devblog, Project Nagase, is written under Kei's name and features a picture of her with a facial expression relevant to the post's topic.
* ComebackMechanic: In the Capital Conquest multiplayer mode, if either team has less than 25% of their base's health left, they get option to use heavy bombers in a last-ditch attempt to turn the match around, but only if that side can destroy the radar and open up a chance to use them.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: The final boss has the ability to fire off 3 [=QAAMs=] at you, even when you're chasing behind him in DFM. If you dodge them, they will immediately turn around to try again, and again after that. If you don't have any flares, all you can hope to do is avoid them until they run out of fuel. Think of [[GameBreaker how impossibly accurate they were]] in ''Ace Combat 04'', then crank that UpToEleven.
** You can cheat the cheating computer in that mission, though, just through either exiting and entering Dog-Fight Mode again and again or using an aircraft with [[LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe ECM]], or if you really want to cheat the computer, [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill both]].
* CoolPlane: "He's even got a shark's mouth on the nose of his plane!!"
** You can also customize your plane's colors for use in Free Mission and Multiplayer.
* DreamingOfThingsToCome: Mission One has radio chatter and events foreshadowing a lot of things, including a very elaborate scenario that '''actually happens'''. [[LampshadeHanging Bishop realizes this]], but quickly dismisses it to focus on the mission.
* DreamSequence: What the first level is revealed to be.
* {{Eagleland}}: In-universe, Markov views Americans through a strong Flavor #2 lens, and never misses a chance to call Americans arrogant. Later it's revealed that [[spoiler:he doesn't just hate Americans just because, but because a botched U.S. air raid in Bosnia killed his wife]].
* EasyLogistics: Surprisingly averted. In the final series of missions [[spoiler:in which Russian planes attack the continental US]], while there are a ''lot'' of them, they're also shown using unconventional tactics and supply, like refueling from the under-wing fuel tank of another fighter. It's increasingly obvious that none of them have any real intention of surviving their stated mission, and their tactics are intended to get them ''to'' their target and no further.
* EscortMission: A couple, though they're generally pretty tolerable, involving short escort distances, resilient escortees, or both. Also inverted in one mission, where Warwolf flight is assigned anti-naval roles and fly dedicated bomber aircraft that (literally) cannot dogfight it their lives depend on it, forcing the player to rely on their (fortunately quite dependable) allies for air superiority.
* FantasticNuke: Trinity is explicitly stated to be non-nuclear, but it is capable of doing damage [[HiroshimaAsAUnitOfMeasure greater than the Hiroshima bomb]]. There are specifically five in the game, and only two actually explode: at the end of the first mission (devastating a North African town), and [[spoiler: during the assault on Moscow, almost ripping the city suburb district apart]]. The other three are prematurely detonated, and ''still'' go off with so much force that they're more powerful than a 2,000 pound bomb[[note]]Unlike actual bombs, which, if not armed or fused, generally don't go off at all.[[/note]]
* FistPump: In the final scene, Bishop does a fist pump in front of a cheering crowd upon climbing out of his plane after the FinalBattle. The fact that this action is implemented as a QuickTimeEvent led to a minor MemeticMutation among the fans.
* FollowTheLeader: Some fans believe that the change in the game's setting is a result of the creators trying to cash in on the ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' craze, despite the fact that Assault Horizon is not the first Ace Combat game to take place in a modern setting, it's just the first one on the consoles to do it.
** Subverted by the devs' true motivations - WordOfGod has said that during the development there was an unspoken agreement that they wanted to have as many high-tech fighter jets on the front lines as possible. Most of these are American and Russian.
** Of course, the mission where you're the gunner in an AC-130 is very similar to one in the original ''Modern Warfare''.
* ForcedTutorial: Enemies in the tutorial level are practically invulnerable until they reach an area where effects or cut-scenes can be shown off.
** During the first dogfight, even if you shoot down the enemy before the cinematic action is over, another target will immediately jump into your reticule courtesy of WeAreTeamCannonFodder.
** There's no way to disable the game from pausing and telling you how to perform certain functions when they're first introduced into the game. Even in Free Mission mode, you'll still be interrupted and told how to activate Air Strike Mode or how to drop bombs on targets with the bomber.
* [[GuestFighter Guest Fighter Plane]]: Although you have to buy it as DLC, the CFA-44 Nosferatu from ''Ace Combat 6'' is available to use in free mission and multiplayer online. It has all it's weapon's available from it's own game, but both weapons have had their damage and accuracies toned down so the plane doesn't become a GameBreaker.
** There's also the ASF-X Shinden II, designed by the co-creator of the ''Macross'' series, Creator/ShojiKawamori. The first fictional plane in the series designed by an outside source other than Project ACES themselves.
* HammerSpace: True to Ace Combat form, jets come stocked with an enormous plethora of missiles, special weapons, chaff, and fuel.
* TheHeroDies: The ending of the tutorial. Thankfully, it's [[AllJustADream all just a dream]].
* IntentionalEngrishForFunny: [[http://acecombat.wikia.com/wiki/Gotta_Stay_Fly Gotta stay fly! Gotta stay strong! Ace ready! All day long!]]
** Fly is actually an outdated slang for "sharp", which is entirely appropriate. "Ace ready", however, is just bizarre.
* InterestingSituationDuel: The final level, complete with CrowningMusicOfAwesome, pits you against Markov in [[spoiler: Washington, D.C., with Markov wielding a Trinity Bomb. All SAM sites are down. All other aircraft are doing their best to keep enemy aircraft from attacking ''you''. ItsPersonal, and ItsUpToYou.]]
* [[spoiler:InvadedStatesOfAmerica]]: The final levels take place amidst a RenegadeRussian attack on [[spoiler:Florida and Washington D.C..]]
* ItsUpToYou: Varying degrees of this throughout the game. For possibly the first time in an Ace Combat game, your allies and wingmen are competent and will shoot down non-essential enemies and normal mission critical targets. They will also actively attack any plane that's currently got you in the crosshairs. However, Lead Targets, which are much more capable and skilled than other pilots, can only be shot down by you, and ultimately, when the chips are down and time is a factor, you're better off not relying on your allies for those objectives.
* LampshadeHanging: One one of the later missions, an ally wonders where such a huge air force came from [[spoiler:to attack Miami and D.C.]], if they know it wasn't from Cuba. [[FridgeLogic Yeah, where DID they come from? And how'd they get past the Navy and Coast Guard undetected?]]
-->'''Hammer 1:''' "Yo, Ivan. You got an open mike. '''You're broadcasting to the world!''' Kill it."\\
'''[[spoiler: Illich]]:''' You really should change channels more frequently, Colonel. Your encryption protocols stink. ''(Said while speaking on the supposedly encrypted squadron frequency)''
* [[LethalJokeCharacter Lethal Joke Plane]]: The MiG-21bis. It's an outdated craft from UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar that lacks radar and is used by the rebels in the game and is also a playable aircraft, but thanks to the CRA mechanics of the game, it is possible to take on modern day advanced stealth fighters like the F-22 or the PAK FA and come out on top. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ5RwcjLAwU This video]] has the player playing on [[HarderThanHard Ace]] in the mission Hurricane and [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome beating out Su-33s and the PAK FA in the Fishbed]]. Oh, and it also comes with the SAAM missiles, which while not as powerful as the QAAM, are still an effective missile nonetheless.
* {{Leitmotif}}: The series's leitmotif (listen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVx1kq0B38U#t=2m10s here]]) sneaks its way into almost every major piece of ambient.
* MacrossMissileMassacre: Even more blatant in this one than in previous games, because multi-target air-to-air missiles always release their full volley even if you only have one target in front of you.
** The Nosferatu's ADMM still fires 12 missiles off at once.
** Used as a strategy in "Hostile Fleet," where the NATO group needs to overwhelm a couple of ships' point defense systems.
* MadeOfIron: The Bombers are this. They can take upwards of three multishot secondary weapons to kill. Note, each individual secondary missile is twice as powerful as a regular one.
** The propellers on the bombers in Dubai, however... Take out any two of them with your machine guns and the plane goes down.
* MeaningfulEcho: [[spoiler:"I saw my death in my dreams, many times." The first line of the opening and closing monologues by Bishop. The first time describing his nightmare, the second time him overcoming his nightmare]].
* MisplacedNationalism / InternetBackdraft: Unfortunately the shift from Strangereal to the real world with ''Assault Horizon'' provoked this. Several flavors have cropped up so far:
** [[CulturalCringe Disaffected Americans]] and non-Americans alike frothing at the mouth over ''Assault Horizon's''' announcement trailer, furious that Americans are implied to be the protagonists, especially at the implication that the enemies are Russians (regardless of whether they are [[RenegadeRussian rogues]] [[MakeTheBearAngryAgain or not]]).
** {{Flame War}}s over the announcement trailer depicting an American F-22 shooting down multiple Su-35s (then getting shot down by Akula himself). Much CulturalPosturing and arguing about whether the United States or Russia has the better military followed in the trailer's wake, with inevitable {{Demonization}} [[{{Eagleland}} of Americans]] over TheWarOnTerror mixed in.
** Not to mention the initial reaction to ActionCommands.
* MonumentalDamage: [[spoiler: You sometimes end up flying past the Washington Monument while chasing after Akula in Washington D.C.]] While no damage is shown, a stray missile hits it during your fly-by.
* MsFanservice: In multiple senses of the word, Assault Horizon marks the return of none other than Kei Nagase, as well as HotterAndSexier artwork for her.
** But that's it. Other than the cameo mentioned below, she's not actually in the game. Just the pre-release blog.
* MultinationalTeam: The 108th is made up of various NATO countries and contains Russian forces as well.
* MultiPlatform: A first for the series, as well as the first game in the series with a PC release.
* MythologyGag: In multiplayer mode, it's possible to unlock the callsigns and paint schemes for many of the famous AC squadrons, including [[VideoGame/AceCombat2 Scarface]], [[VideoGame/AceCombat04ShatteredSkies Mobius]], [[VideoGame/AceCombatZeroTheBelkanWar Galm]], [[VideoGame/AceCombat5TheUnsungWar Wardog]], [[VideoGame/AceCombat6FiresOfLiberation Garuda, Strigon]], [[VideoGame/AceCombatXSkiesOfDeception Gryphus]], and more.
** The trailers occasionally come with Easter eggs alluding to the Ace Combat series of old, the most notable of which is the E3 trailer, which features the series' {{recurring character}}, Kei Nagase.
** In-game, Kei also appears in several briefing scenes as a mute background character. More specifically, she is sitting to the right in the row ahead of Bishop during a mission briefing scene.
** In the mission "Home Front", there is a point where you must fire a missile at [[spoiler: Akula]] head-on. After this, a cutscene plays where both planes turn on their sides and do a SlowMotionPassBy within a few feet of colliding with each other. Both aspects (the missile head-on attack and the cutscene's camera work) are identical to the final mission of ''Ace Combat Zero''. Not to mention that immediately before that, [[spoiler:your wingman [[TakingTheBullet takes the bullet]] for you and goes down (though Guts survives, unlike PJ)]]. Two missions before, "Launch" bears a resemblance to the penultimate mission of ''Zero,'' "Valley of the Kings," with the player flying through a narrow passage to bomb targets and ending in [[spoiler: an ICBM launch. Unlike the V2 rocket fired by A World With No Boundaries, however, Bishop gets to chase down the ICBM directly.]]
** "Task Force OneHundredAndEight" and the four-man Warwolf Squadron are call-backs to the Osean 108th Tactical Fighter Squadron "Wardog".
*** Then there's the mission "Blue on Blue", which is reminiscent of "8492".
** The cockpit of the ASF-X Shinden II is the exact same as the recurring X-02 Wyvern.
* NoIAmBehindYou: Carried out via {{Action Command|s}} to initiate a Counter-Maneuver when someone is tailing you.
** And awesomely subverted by the Counter-Counter-Maneuver if you are ''that'' much faster, giving you the opportunity to ''obliterate'' the target with guns mid-maneuver.
* NoNameGiven: Warwolf Squadron's Warwolf 3 and Warwolf 4 aren't important enough to be given names, even though they have some speaking lines in the dialogue. Elsewhere, there's the Skullfaced gunner with the hornet insignia on the back of his helmet in the 2nd mission. Even the gunner you play as in the Canal mission (who has a spider on the back of his helmet) at least has his name revealed simply as "Guns" according to the radio chatter.
-->'''Shooter 1''': ''I guess I owe Guns a six pack.''
* NoseArt: Markov's plane always has a shark mouth on it, which is why he's called Akula.
** As an added bonus, there's the aircraft painter to paint up your plane in all sorts of tasteful/garish ways, and a few bonus paint jobs with special designs that you can unlock along the way.
* [[RegionalBonus NTSC/J Bonus]]: The Japanese versions of the game have the option of Japanese voicework. They also get some DLC that is not available in other regions
* NuclearWeaponsTaboo: Trinity is, for all intents and purposes, a tactical nuke, yet the game carefully avoids calling it such and the topic of nuclear fallout is never brought up.
** Which would indicate that it's not nuclear, just a conventional explosive with a similar blast radius.
** The fact that a Trinity missile causes a mushroom cloud[[note]]even though [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mushroom_cloud any sufficiently large explosion will create a mushroom cloud]][[/note]], and a single one is capable of leveling half of a city, instantly causes people to jump to the nuclear conclusion. Trinity is more accurately described as a nuke without the radiation or EMP wave. The story writer for the game claims on his website that such a weapon is the subject of intense research in real-life militaries.
* OminousLatinChanting: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2nRsXeTTho "Release"]], the theme that plays during the last mission in [[spoiler: Washington D.C.]], uses both this and Ominous English Chanting. The lyrics in the later part are from "Dies Irae".
* OneWomanWail: [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ89B2kxdyw "Mrs. Krista Yoslav"]]. Bonus points are it is sung in Russian, and it plays during the battle against [[spoiler:Akula in a PAK FA]].
* PointDefenseless: Averted in one mission where you must destroy a number of naval vessels. The larger ships, such as cruisers and carriers, will shoot down your missiles with [[MoreDakka lots and lots]] [[GatlingGood of Gatling guns]]. The only way to get past this defense is to coordinate with your flightmates and shoot [[MacrossMissileMassacre tons of missiles at the ships]].
** Also averted in the missions where you play as "D-Ray", the Apache helicopter pilot: you can shoot down infantry-launched SAMs and Hind rockets.
* PressXToNotDie: This happens at the end of the first mission despite it all being [[AllJustADream just a dream]].
** It continues to happen irregularly at various points if you fail to press the button to trigger the in-flight cinematic, which it interprets in such ways as failing to notice certain important things like Trinity missiles, thus resulting in mission failure. The game will reload if you fail, but not let you fail a second time. [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlPzDm6aB7g Most of the time (25 out of 29), nothing significant will happen.]]
* PrivateMilitaryContractors: Averted. You're part of both the United States Air Force and a NATO task force. This is the first game in the series that doesn't assign point values to targets or require you to earn money to buy new planes. The planes are given to you before each mission. Mobius 1, Wardog Squadon, and Garuda Squadron all worked for their governments, and even they still had to buy their own weapons.
* PromotionalPowerlessPieceOfGarbage: The European Limited Edition and Gamestop pre-orders came with a free DLC plane -- the F-4E Phantom II, which has a long tradition of being a [[WithThisHerring weak starting plane]] in many of the earlier games. Yeah, compared to other DLC planes, like the iconic Su-37 and the Nosferatu super-fighter, the collectors' reward was rather lame.
* {{Qurac}}: Mogadiyu, complete with a mission focused on special forces rescuing a downed pilot.
* RegeneratingHealth: First for the series. In a plane that's designed to house [[BottomlessMagazines hundreds of missiles and unlimited 20mm's]], only the fanatics are complaining.
** As it turns out, it's very slow regenerating health to boot, and you're generally worn down to dead about as quickly as in the previous games. Then you start playing on the [[HarderThanHard Ace difficulty]]...[[OhCrap in which the regenerative health]] [[ThisIsGonnaSuck has been removed entirely.]]
* RemixedLevel: Mission 14, "Home Front" is 50% identical to mission 01 "Nightmare", except that, of course, Bishop doesn't die in it.
* RockBeatsLaser: Many of the higher level enemies and bosses begin using flares to shake off your missiles, but even the best countermeasures can't outsmart bullets. One special case is the [=MiG=]-21, which is by far the weakest plane in the game but the only fighter that can take an extra gun pod as its special weapon, giving it MoreDakka.
* RuleOfCool: WordOfGod pretty much confirms that this was the reasoning behind the new "Close Range Assault" and "Steel Carnage" mechanics in ''Assault Horizon''.
** The story writer for Assault Horizon, Jim [=DeFelice=], outright admits on his blog that the only reason for having a mission set in Dubai was because the city has a lot of cool buildings to fly through.
** Also defines the game/series in general. Firing dozens of missiles per mission? Sure. Unlimited gun ammo? Of course. Constant dogfights between supersonic aircraft...at less than a dozen feet apart? Air battles consisting of over a hundred aircraft, despite that number being larger than most countries' entire air forces? Ridiculous G forces have no effect on the pilots? Etc...not that [[TropesAreNotBad this makes for a bad game]], just an unrealistic one.
** Interestingly, the game's overall storyline is somewhat plausible and the almost every mission is one you could see occurring in real life... well, except for [[spoiler:the dogfight in the eyewall of a goddamn category-5 HURRICANE!]]
* RussianGuySuffersMost: Well, it starts with [[spoiler:Moscow eating a Trinity blast.]] And then we find out what caused Markov's StartOfDarkness...
** Also, beautifully subverted in mission 03: it seems that the rebels have treated captured Major Illich really badly [[spoiler:but it is later revealed that he was a traitor all along and got himself captured on purpose, not expecting the Americans to free him. When they do, he has to pretend that he was mistreated. Of course, you don't learn that until much later]].
* SuddenlyVoiced: The player is no longer a dedicated [[HeroicMime Silent Protagonist]].
** However, the two playable Blackhawk gunners are the only playable characters who don't speak.
* ScriptedBattle: Various DFM fights will serve as this, as it's the part of the storyline that a plane crashes through the football stadium's bigscreen, or that a crane gets knocked over. The entire 2nd half of the final mission is this entirely. You'll be sending more than a dozen missiles up [[spoiler: Akula's]] plane, but [[StoryDrivenInvulnerability he'll never actually die until the scripted dialogue is entirely played out.]] Any attempts at ScriptBreaking will result in you failing the mission because it gives him time to carry out his goal.
** For added frustration, the game never tells you when it's doing this, leaving the player guessing as to when he's supposed to actually shoot the enemy and cursing at enemies that ''just won't die'' no matter how many times they're hit.
* ShoutOut:
** One of the game's [[AwesomeMusic best pieces of music]] is titled "[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam White Devil]]".
** A pair of Japan-exclusive DLC paint schemes for the F-14D are based on those of the VF-1 Valkyrie and Strike Valkyrie from ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross''.
* ShownTheirWork:
** Namco Bandai has done some serious work to make the game realistic: for example, early media featured Bishop sporting a beard, which was later removed (as the USAF does not allow facial hair.) Also of note is how each US aircraft sports tail codes from real life air force bases (ie. the F-22A Raptor has Langley AFB markings.)
** There's still a few goofs, such as with the uniforms, though really you'd actually have to be ''in'' the Air Force to notice:\\
1. The ranks that the enlisted airmen (not the pilots) have on their sleeves are the colors used for "blues" uniforms. Normal ABU ranks have black stripes with an urban grey background.\\
2. The [=ABUs=] are using the wrong color undershirt; Air Force regulations state that it must be sand-colored.\\
3. ABU boots are sage green, not black.\\
4. The pilots' jumpsuits are missing their ranks on their shoulders.\\
... The list could go on.
** They spared no details on the plane cockpits either. The Frogfoot, for example, is a considerably outdated plane, containing a basic readout gauge that measures speed, altitude, and also functions as a clock. The clock keeps on ticking over the course of the mission.
** Even though it's been done in previous games, cutscenes that involve whatever plane that Bishop is flying, including when he [[spoiler: crashes on the runway]] and in the ending, all show the plane he was flying during that mission. Extra attention to detail especially paid in the example behind the spoiler tag there.
** One nice little bit of detail is that whenever you're flying a foreign plane (French, Japanese, Russian, etc), the computer will warn you of dangers in it's appropriate language - even the fictional ones. The Shinden speaks to you in Japanese and the Nosferatu is Russian.
** Another one that's been around for a while: When launching special weapons, Bishop will call out "Fox One", "Fox Two" or "Fox Three" as appropriate to the weapon's guidance system, again including fictional weapons.
* ATasteOfPower: In the first level, you fly an F-22 Raptor against hordes of Su-35s. And then it turns out to be AllJustADream and you go right back to the starter planes like the F-16 and equivalents.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: Forgetting to switch your special weapons to regular missiles will result in shooting four Advanced Long-ranged Air-to-Air Missiles at a single target, when any standard single missile would have done nicely.
** In the tutorial level Markov tries to ram the already-defeated Bishop with his Flanker.
* ViolationOfCommonSense: In Dubai, it is possible to engage a DFM on an enemy that will lead you through the arch of the ''Atlantis The Palm'' hotel. Guts calls you out on it.
-->''[[BreakingTheFourthWall Hey! This isn't Ace Combat!]]''
** This invokes a bit of FridgeBrilliance by realizing that the game takes place on Earth, and therefore the earlier ''Ace Combat'' video games exist in-universe.
* WeAreTeamCannonFodder: During the first level's dogfights, several enemy planes will come into formation with your target, just begging for a 4AAM shot.
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