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Video Game: Ace Combat Infinity
The day our sky fell, the heavens split to create new skies.

Ace Combat: Infinity is the newest addition to the Ace Combat series, once again set on Earth instead of Strangereal, and seemingly featuring several superweapons, story elements and fictional aircraft from older games such as the CFA-44 and Heavy Command Cruiser from Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, the ASF-X Shinden II from Ace Combat: Assault Horizon and the Stonehenge Turret Network from Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.

Infinity is, in essence, a retool of Ace Combat 04 - set in a version of Earth that was devastated by the same Ulysses asteroid as Strangereal had been - but including elements from every game in the series. It is the second remake in the series (after Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy retooled Ace Combat 2).

Infinity is free to play, and is only available on the PS3. The Japanese beta went live in December 2013. An International Beta was available from February 4th to 11th 2014. The game was released on May 20th in Japan, with a North American release of May 27th and Europe on May 28th.

The game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • The Ace: Viper is the company's best pilot. He has so many kills that there's no more room to paint the numbers on his plane, so he simply uses an infinity symbol.
    • Once Viper leaves the Bone Arrows, Reaper becomes this for Arrows/Arrowblades - even taking the infinity symbol themselves.
  • Ace Custom: Player aircraft can be customized to a degree. Enemy troops will comment on this, noting either the paint scheme (mentioning "the flashy punk") or the custom parts (noting that they're having trouble hitting the plane); Sky-Eye will likewise compliment players that have added a lot of parts to their plane.
    • Fashion Victim Ace: Sometimes, the AWACS will say this nearly word-for-word for planes that have customized paint jobs. Some enemies may even be incensed enough to go straight for said plane.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: The prices to unlock content with in-game credits can get absolutely ridiculous. Especially when you only earn 5000 to 10000 a sortie.
  • Allegedly Free Game: The "Sortie Fuel System" limits how many times you can play in either mode, unless you wait for supplied fuel to recharge or buy stocked fuel if you don't want to wait. The current rate is seventy-five cents per unit of stocked fuel at best, one dollar at worstnote , and to play the campaign past the second mission one must pay a massive amount of credits to unlock the mission on top of the fuel cost, and more credits are necessary to replay it. That said, through feedback from fans the system was tweaked for release - you now use exactly one unit of fuel per mission (originally it was planned to use one unit for every five minutes of gameplay, though given that co-op missions only last five minutes anyway it's basically the same), and stocked fuel can be gained through challenges or random drops. There is also an unlimited campaign play ticket that removes the fuel and credit costs from playing missions.
  • Alternate History: The Ulysses asteroid was detected in 1994, which led to the construction of 6 railgun networks to stop it, and it made impact in 1999, just like in the Strangereal continuity. The railguns managed to prevent the asteroid from outright obliterating the world, but the fragments caused massive damage and led to the collapse of multiple governments.
  • Balkanize Me: Large chunks of many countries were carved out by the UN as zones for refugees fleeing the Ulysses impact. The most plot-relevant zone seems to be the area called "Iyuli", an area in southern Russia that is now a Special Economic Zone.
  • Boring, but Practical: Out of all Special Weapons, the Machinegun Pod is the most evident. Instead of large explosions a la FAEB or Macross Missile Massacre a la other missile weapons, you get...extra guns. Pretty boring, but when coupled with your standard machineguns, very, very practical to use.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Points Ranking tournaments are based on the players efforts in missions, and totaled up during the tournaments duration. As such, players who buy Sortie fuel have an advantage over those who instead just use free supplied fuel, challenge rewards, and random drops due to being able to sortie more often.
    • Though it ultimately comes down to skill anyway. It is not rare to see a pilot using such basic aircraft as F-4E Phantom II be able to outclass another pilot who uses high-tier planes, like F-22A.
  • Code Name: The Bone Arrow pilots all have unique call signs.
    • Bone Arrow 1: Viper
    • Bone Arrow 2: Omega
    • Bone Arrow 3: Bronco
    • Bone Arrow 4: Reaper
  • Competitive Balance: Attempted. Fighters rule in air-to-air combat, but deal less damage to ground targets and minimal to hardened structures and ships; while Attackers deal minimal damage to air targets, but can bash ships and hardened structures with only a volley or two of regular missiles; and Multiroles are about equally effective in both roles, though without as much variety or specialization for either. Also, while air targets give more points, there are many times more ground targets - and of course, air targets are moving, while most ground targets are stationary.
    • By the time you get to even the mid-game planes, though, the Fighters' air-to-ground is decent enough to make it worthwhile for them to take ground targets down, while it still takes multiple salvos from an endgame Attacker to down planes. Not to mention that Attackers tend to be slow and hard to maneuver, while Fighters and even Multiroles can easily catch up with ground targets and take them out before an Attacker can.
      • With the exception of the top-tier "Attacker" (actually a Multirole) Su-47 Berkut, Namco appears to be making some changes to include Attackers more, with missions like Weapons Base Assault having so many spread out hardened ground targets that it's advised to bring multiple Attackers.
  • Crapsack World: The impact of the Ulysses asteroids in this timeline is even more severe compared to Strangereal, with over 20% of the global population killed during the disaster along with a complete breakdown of order in world governments.
  • Cross Over: The game seems to be drawing from every single game before it:
    • Ace Combat 2: Kei Nagase and John Herbert, Edge and Slash respectively, are confirmed characters in the game.
      • The first "Mercenary King Tournament" gave away both the original and the remake's version of the Scarface squadron emblem as prizes.
    • Ace Combat 3: The possibility of the COFFIN system being used, according to the Ulysses Disaster trailer. Also, one has to wonder who the narrator is talking to... Also, a sapient AI created by a man with the surname "Cohen" plays a part in the plot.
    • The Whole Plot Reference to Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, as well as the use of Stonehenge and Sky Eye.
      • Plus, the 'title card' shown at the end of all the trailers have shown what appears to be Mobius One's Ribbon emblem in the background.
      • An aerospace center in the West Indies is given the name "Comona Base". The co-op mission set there, "Space Center Defense", is basically the "Shattered Skies" level with surface targets thrown in to give non-fighter class planes a way to contribute. It even has a remix of the same song playing.
      • The end of Campaign Mission 5 is similar to the end of Operation Bunker Shot, where the commanding officer of the ground forces player character is supposed to support ends up getting killed or otherwise incapacitated, to be replaced by his executive officer when announcing their victory.
      • Task Force 118 recalls both the 118th Tactical Fighter Wing in its name, and the Independent State Allied Forces in the design of its emblem.
      • This game's version of Slash takes some traits from Yellow 13 - namely, that his ace record is second to none, but his real point of pride is having never lost a wingman.
      • As of Campaign Mission 3, a large chunk of Eurasia is now the "USEA Federation".
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War': The Ridgeback Squadron, a four-ship formation with black color schemes similar to the 'Demons of Razgriz'. Their name also calls back to the Wardog squadron (named after a breed of dog). The Scinfaxi-class submarine also shows up in Emergency Missions.
      • The "Grey Men" are a group of high-power corporate executives. The third mission sees them kidnapped in Russia by terrorists and spurs the Bone Arrows on to launch a rescue mission.
      • Both the Wardog and the Zipang paint schemes for the F-14 are flyable, the former given away for an event which also includes the Wardog squadron and Osean Federation emblems as prizes.
    • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War: The second trailer shows an unseen plane using what appears to be the Tactical Laser System.
      • Also, the main protagonist and his squadron are all mercenaries.
      • The ADFX-01 Morgan with the TLS, in both a "Block 1" variant and one with Pixy's red-wing paint scheme, is playable.
      • The Avalon Dam makes a reappearance, with attendant flythrough in the missile silo and restricted airspace during a high-speed flight through a canyon.
      • The teaser for the latter half of the campaign notes a specific area of Nevada airspace called B7R.
      • The Wizard and Rot squadron emblems are prizes for the "TANABATA -The Star Festival-" ranking event. The Crow and Silber emblems are likewise prizes for the first Team Deathmatch restricted-aircraft event.
    • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation: Both the CFA-44 Nosferatu and the Aigaion appear. Aigaion is even fought in a randomly-encountered special "Boss" Mission, and its support craft also occasionally show up as the Emergency Mission in some maps.
    • Ace Combat: Joint Assault: The first mission is to protect Japan from a terrorist attack. When Task Force 118 is established, you can see the official patch of Martinez Security's Antares Squadron.
    • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon: The Ridgebacks fly the F-3 Shinden II, an in-universe production model based on Assault Horizon's ASF-X Shinden II.
    • More than just that, all the songs used in the game are songs lifted straight from Ace Combat 3, 04, 5, Zero, and 6. The game even remixes some popular tunes, like "Shattered Skies" from Ace Combat 04.
    • The first mission codename is "Gambit", the first mission codename from Ace Combat 2. Similarly, the second mission's code name is Bird Hunt, from Joint Assault.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer: Notable in that while all the human players are on the same side, everyone is encouraged to compete for the most points, making it a cross between a versus multiplayer mode and co-op.
  • Disc One Nuke: The F-4E Phantom II, the very first plane you get. It's a Multi-Role aircraft so it can handle Air and Ground targets, has good speed, it has fairly decent Special Weapons, decent Ammo capacity, and 16 slots for Body, Weapon, and Misc. parts each making it decently customizable. Due to being a beginner plane, it gains upgrade points fast, and is fairly cheap on cost to upgrade. The only major flaw is that it's turns like a brick (but again, that can be fixed with parts and upgrades). It takes until you unlock the F/A-18 Hornet, or one of the special production planes to find something better than it. Also, players who got the game when it first came out, were rewarded with an awesome Flaming Skull paint option that absolutely infuriates the enemy when they see it.
  • Double Unlock: To acquire planes and parts from the Aircraft Tree, you'll need to research and develop each plane and part, then buy the item with in-game money. In order to progress through the tree, you'll need to buy all the aircraft and parts from one node to unlock the next node for research and development.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The UNAF's Ridgebacks. Once disbanded alongside other UNAF squadrons due to heavy losses by the end of the fifth mission, they are regrouped into Task Force 118.
  • Four Is Death: Bone Arrow 4's callsign is Reaper. This is also the Player Character.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Both versions of the ADFX-01 Morgan, from Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, have a mounted prototype laser cannon.
    • Certain enemy drones have nose-mounted laser beams with which to destroy missiles with. So far, they've only been seen in one campaign mission.
    • A rare Special Raid mission in online co-op pits you against an upgraded, special golden-painted Aigaion/Moby Dick from Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation with laser projectors instead of Nimbus cruise missiles.
  • Guide Dang It: The Special Raid missions, which happen at random, and without explaining how what version get's picked.
  • Hold the Line: The Butterfly Master can only control their plane for 300 seconds - after which, it becomes a sitting duck for any craft (even Attackers) to take down easily.
  • Jerkass: All the members of the oh-so-elite Ridgeback squadron, who are exceptionally arrogant, think they're so much better than the Bone Arrows with their high-tech F-3 Shinden II aircraft and constantly talk down to them with condescension. The fact that the guy briefing your missions rubs their informed eliteness in your face doesn't help. Just to really point out their jerkiness, or at least, that of their leader, Slash, when Bone Arrow ace Reaper single-handedly destroys Stonehenge, Slash steals the credit for it and some of the allies actually believe him just because of their reputation!
  • Just Plane Wrong: The game justifies why you would see so many obsolete and rare planes flying in 2019. Aircraft manufacturing via the Advanced Automated Aviation Plant system made by Wernher and Noah Enterprises has advanced to the point where older planes can be mass produced quickly, cheaply, and efficiently, which has led to a surplus of airplanes and a shortage of pilots. This has made mercenary squadrons a very lucrative business industry, and they have been snapping up candidates (and even dropouts) from piloting schools all over the world.
  • Kaiju Defense Force: The JASDF appears in the first mission.
  • Leitmotif: Interestingly, a girl can be heard humming the theme tune to Mappy. The implications are yet unclear, with the exception that it's a Shout-Out, considering the game is made by Namco, and the fact that 2013 was Mappy's 30th Anniversary.
  • Mega Corp.: Wernher-Noah Enterprises filled in the gap for arms spending & development when national governments all over the globe slashed their military budgets to focus on rebuilding. WNE was responsible for the technological breakthroughs that made aircraft manufacturing so cheap and efficient. This has allowed WNE to curry favor with a lot of countries and given them significant political clout. Unfortunately the fact that powerful military hardware is so easy to create means there are now massive stockpiles of weapons available for terrorist groups to easily hijack.
  • Multinational Team: Various mercenary squadrons. Within the Arrows, Reaper is American, Omega is British of Pakistani background, Viper is an Australian, and Goodfellow is Irish-American.
  • Old-School Dogfighting: While the Dogfight Mode is not present in this game, the player can certainly do so. Even better, some aircraft (like the MiG-21 Fishbed) have Machinegun Pods, which allows you to shoot down other planes with just machine guns like old times.
  • Player Vs Player: This mode is set to be avaliable on July 18th, following the next major update.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Player Character is one, and part of a squadron called the Bone Arrows, working under the Arrow Air Defense and Security Corporation.
  • Running Gag: Everytime the AI tries to tell Reaper a history overview, it gets interrupted midway before a mission starts.
  • Scenery Porn: The Online Co-Op Mission "Dubai Night Assault" offers a neat view of the aforementioned city during a nightly offensive. All explosions look even more detailed and awesome, as well.
  • Sink the Lifeboats: Unmanned fighter drones controlled by the Butterfly Master are programmed to recognise and kill enemy pilots who eject from their downed planes, as Slash finds out upon his own demise.
  • Status Buff: Unlike other games, being near a teammate can do this. Specifically, the Datalink function provides Status Buffs for players within proximity of each other. Datalinked players receive equipped Datalink bonuses from both their own plane and their ally's, allowing multiple bonuses to apply at once if all Datalinked players have different bonuses equipped.
    • Standard Status Effects: Or at least, standard for the genre. Planes such as Su-24MP Fencer-F can emit jamming signals which will prevent enemies from locking on to it or any allies flying close by.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The Tactical Laser System. It's the game's strongest Special Weapon, with more Attack Power (Air) than any missile and maxed out Attack Power (Ground). It also has a single charge per Sortie and one charge fires the laser for three seconds. Getting more than one charge requires upgrading the Morgan to at least level 6, which costs about 1.3 million credits.
    • July 2014's rare plane, the original ADFX-01 Morgan, makes it much more viable, starting out at three TLS charges at level 1. It instead turns the Multipurpose Burst Missile (MPBM) into this. This version doesn't have the extreme damage the original had, and shares the FAEB's tendency to leave lots of weakened high-point targets behind. As enemy fighters are more maneuverable this time around, it's hard to get more than one in a grouping, given the slow speed of the missile.

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