"To all planes: We're going to take back Gracemeria today!"
The eighth (seventh in the main Strangereal series, if you count Zero) game in the Ace Combat series. As Talisman, alias Garuda 1, you fight in the Anean Continental War of 2015 between Emmeria and Estovakia.Ace Combat 6 was the first console game in the series to be released for a non-Sony system. It was released exclusively for the Xbox 360 in 2007 and became the best-selling game on that system in Japan.
Tropes found in the game :
Airborne Aircraft Carrier: There has been a number throughout the series, but Ace Combat 6 shows one of these being in-air refuelled by no less than eight tanker aircraft at once. Amusingly, they're smaller than its engines.
Airstrike Impossible: Par for couse in an AC game; there's tunnel missions, and the final level has you fly into the barrel of a massive railgun that's preparing to fire.
In terms of gameplay, the Emmerian military is very much this compared to armies in previous Ace Combat games. You'll routinely see your allies make kills, and in almost every mission, at least one of the other squadrons/ground teams are capable of completing their objective without your help. And when you do help them out, they're more than willing to returnthefavor.
BFG: Chandelier, Estovakia's anti-meteor colossal rail gun. The weapon itself is about the size of the island right next to it, and the projectiles it fires are house-sized.
Cherry Tapping: Perform only guns and/or only a single plane type (fighter, attacker, or multirole) for an entire campaign, albeit each results in an Achievement.
Cherubic Choir: "Chandelier/To All Things" from Ace Combat 6 is played throughout the final mission, during which you have to destroy a massive railgun while it rains destruction on your homeland from across the continent. The song also shifts into a rendition of "Fires of Liberation" at around 2:38.
Civil War: Partially what led to the events of the game.
Downloadable Content: You can buy skins that allow you to fly a craft without buying it ingame, although you're restricted to using the default SP weapon unless you have bought the plane and extra SP weapons ingame (there's no DLC for that). Skins tend to look good, recall pilots/teams/squadrons from the older games, and have modified performance characteristics. Of special note, however, are The iDOLM@STER themed skins which, in addition to being very high performance and having colored smoke trails on missiles, tend to have decreased standard missile counts and increased SP weapon counts due to the fact that the ammo counts are the height and three sizes (and for planes with a fourth SP weapon, weight) of the character on the skin; the exception is the A-10 skin, which has ammo counts that reference 765 Productions.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Beautifully averted. Ilya Pasternak in Ace Combat 6 came to occupied Gracemeria just to fight Garuda One.
During the Ragno Fortress mission, if you take the operation that requires you to fly through the tunnels under the base, you can hear intercepted radio chatter from the garrison that can basically be summed up as "Holy shit he's UNDER OUR BASE, BLOWING OUR SHIT UP!"
Fatal Family Photo: Inverted. The player's wingman Shamrock constantly mentions returning home to his family; however, when the heroes eventually recapture their capital, Shamrock finds out his wife and daughter both died.
Just to clarify for anyone not clear on the concept: on Expert difficulty, one missile instantly kills you, and that's not the hardest difficulty.
Heroic Sacrifice: Garuda 2 "Shamrock" fought his way back the capital city, only to find that his wife and daughter were killed during the invasion. Disgraced, he vows to leave the Air Force after Chandelier is destroyed. During the final battle, he decides to fly through a trench filled with AA guns in order to search for Chandelier's backup cooling unit. He confirms it's location, but his plane his heavily damaged, and he willingly lets it crash. In the ending cutscene, it is revealed that he survived the crash, but is confined to a wheelchair. He decides to continue living in order to see the peace he had been fighting for.
Although Shamrock does say he's going through rehab, meaning there's a possibility that he's slowly recovering and regaining use of his legs. Kinda helps avoid what might have otherwise been a Downer Ending.
Hopeless Boss Fight: The first mission, after the cruise missiles start hitting, has you up against the original twelve Strigon Squadron. They're flying mid-game Su-33's and have more health than usual, while you're flying the standard F-16. This helps cement the fact that Graceneria is lost. If, however, you're skilled enough to actually hit them, or playing a New Game+, they can be shot down, and will respond accordingly.
It's Up to You: Improved since the previous games: The AI has been ramped up enough that they easily account for 50% of the kills on the battlefield, and although you are still an integral part of defeating the enemy army, the rest of the forces manage to accomplish a good number of the objectives while you are busy doing the others. Both played straight and subverted in the mission, Weapons of Mass Destruction, where you and your wingmen are the only ones skilled enough to deceive an enemy radar net by flying through a valley, and subverted with a vengeance when an entire enemy fleet ambushes you after you destroy the convoy, and you're helpless to fight back (due to the unending missile barrage being thrown at you, you have no time to even aim), until your friendly allied squadron turns up and saves the day.
Jack of All Stats: The DLC Gryphus Emblem F-22 in 6 literally breathes this trope. So much, that on the stat chart it looks like a perfect hexagon. The MiG-29 Fulcrum is also shown to be like this.
Macross Missile Massacre: Each launch of the ADMM special weapon in Ace Combat 6 targets 12 air or ground enemies at once, double that of the XMA6 and triple that of the XMA4, without expending that many missiles at once as they do; earlier games allowed no more than four simultaneous missile launches, and in each case one target = one missile. Its only weakness is that the weapon has a long reload time and that it has the same potential as the Advanced Air-to-Ground Missile (XAGM) for being wasted against ground clusters that could have been destroyed with a single bomb. Nevertheless, that's potentially up to 216 struck targets on Normal... worse yet, even on Easy the CFA-44 Nosferatu "boss" (piloted by Ilya Pasternak) is not above using it on you.
Backfires on Pasternak though when you can call them in on him, through Allied Support — clearing operations and generally helping out your side allows you to call in fire support against targets in your view or who are attacking you, so no matter who's on whose six you can call in multiple missile shots almost at will.
Mauve Shirt Army: 6 has several allied squadrons/pilots/units that appear in every mission and are easily identifiable. They even have names, ranks and biographies if you care enough to look them up in the Assault Records.
My Country, Right or Wrong: 6 subverts this when one of the Estovakian officers, despite still believing in this trope, hated the idea of allowing innocent civilians die, and willingly surrenders over the secrets to his country's last trump card, the Chandelier.
Mythology Gag: The F-16C and Su-33 both have "TYPE ACE2" paint schemes replicating Scarface One's paint scheme for their respective planes... and they come with no special weapons whatsoever, because those didn't exist in AC2.
The DLC paint schemes for 6 include pictures of iDOL@STER girls.
Also, Sky Kid is named after an old Namco game (which has had shout-outs throughout the series) and his wingmen (Red Baron and Blue Max were the playable characters.
The random Emmerian tankers who enter Gracemeria via tunnels hidden in the forest in order to rob a bank and wind up liberating the Golden King (and presumably the trapped kids who'd "acquired" him) are straight out of Kelly's Heroes
Stupid Sacrifice: Shamrock's performance in the last mission of Ace Combat 6 is half this and half Death Seeker, as he's suicidal over his perceived failure to protect his family. The stupid part is that he had nothing to do with his family's death except in the most general sense of being a member of the military that was driven out of Gracemeria.
Theme Naming: The callsigns for allied pilots all follow a certain theme depending on the squadron. For instance, the 15th squadron's theme is types of falcons (Windhover, Lanner, Saker) and the 2nd's theme is snow (Avalanche, Blizzard, Serac).
On one hand, enemy aces like any named targets and the Strigons, and even normal targets like bombers, can dodge your missiles like it ain't no thing, especially the Strigons and bombers because they can use chaff to render your missiles useless—even radar guided missiles.
All of the enemy airplanes can follow you with precision, regardless of what you do, that would make any Blue Angels member proud.
On the other hand, your wingman is metric tons more useful than in other games because he can actually bag kills and use certain SP weapons better than you can,note He can fly freely with the Radar Guided missiles, something that requires the player to keep in a circle, and can rapid fire the Electro Magnetic Launcher, while the player can only fire one shot at a time. and when you ask your allies for attack or cover support, they will be all over enemies like a bad headache, as their missiles are more accurate than even radar guided missiles!
Thirteen Is Unlucky: Strigon 12 believes this. Ironic, because his best friend died in the 13th mission.
Bird Eater: Aircraft flying through tunnels? THAT'S never been done before!
War Is Hell: Virtually every cutscene has one or more characters mourning dead loved ones or wondering whether war actually accomplishes anything.
The War Sequence: 6 explicates it, with the cutscene for the first mission showing that Talisman/Garuda One is (initially) just one amongst many pilots defending Emmeria, as well as the ally assistance system where helping allies to accomplish secondary objectives would lead to being able to get their help back later.
Calling for allied support and watching missiles streak toward a target from all directions is one of the more awe-inspiring sights in the Ace Combat series. And you can do it as much as you want.
"Anea Landing" (05) = "Operation Bunker Shot" (09). A take-the-beach-type of mission that marks the beginning of taking back the mainland.
"Heavy Command Cruiser" (09) = "Shattered Skies" (08). The big-ass air-to-air battle splitting the game in two.
"The Liberation of Gracemeria" (13) = "Siege of Farbanti" (17). The grand battle for the capital, culminating in a dogfight against the leader of the nemesis squadron. Also "The Liberation of Gracemeria" (13) = "Emancipation" (15) in that you're liberating a major city from enemy occupation.
"Gracemeria Patrol" (14) = "Breaking Arrows" (14). Enemy fires cruise missiles, you have to shoot them down before they hit.
"Chandelier" (15) = "Megalith" (18). The Final Battle to destroy the last remaining giant superweapon of the enemy, complete with the remnant of the nemesis squadron and a Tunnel Flight inside said superweapon.
Worthy Opponent: Notably, Ilya Pasternak seemed to see you this way, as well as the world at large given the assault records' description of his death as a 'heroic sacrifice.' The reality is that he ambushes you after you take back your own capital while you're low on weapons and low on health while he's flying a plane somewhere between 'Weaponized UFO' and 'Archangel Michael Wielding God's Flaming Sword,' plus the several score drones he launches to fight alongside him. Yet even in this light he is apparently 'heroically sacrificing' himself, since it appears that he and everyone else in the world was certain that even then he was no match for the dreaded Talisman. You could argue that he could have been hopeful or even confident of his own victory and the heroic part come in since he told his whole squadron to bugger off so they wouldn't get all get killed by Talisman, but then you're really just raising the issue that it would have therefore been wholly expected that Talisman would have won against Pasternak and the entire Strigon Team by himself had they engaged with Pasternak. Probably true.
Considering you can call in allied support to gun down Pasternak it's pretty obvious that Pasternak isn't just fighting one ace, but the entire Emmerian military. Maybe he can take down Talisman, not a sure thing, but he's a dead man going up against those odds even with drone backup. His sacrifice was noble because it got his squadron out of a lost battle with their lives.