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Video Game: Ace Combat Infinity

The day our sky fe||, 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 "that 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. If all eight player planes are completely tricked out and heavily upgraded, it's even possible for the enemy troops to have an Oh, Crap moment when they discover two full ace squadrons in their airspace.
    • 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.
    • This issue can be partially resolved, but only if you can't perform further research on the planes and parts you have. You will receive a special "Credits Reimbursed" bonus worth additional 4420 credits for each unperformed research. This can boost earneable credits to 20000 and above.
    • Even the worst/cheapest planes get a massive price increase no less than 288,000 credits to level them up to lvl.6 (level 7 and 8 will generally be CHEAPER), just because level 6 adds two extra usable part customizations to the planes.
  • 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. In fact, it is possible for a player to receive stocked fuel via challenges and random drops faster than he/she spends it, especially after buying the unlimited campaign ticket.
  • 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.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Bombers in general. Yeah, you can wreck ground targets in no time at all, but they go at the speed of molasses and have to stick with standard controls just to steer. Oh, and since they're bombers you have no means of targeting aircraft, which presents a problem in emergency mission updates involving them.
    • Adding to this is the lack of a dedicated bomb camera angle - anyone planning on doing bombing without doing dive bombing needs to be constantly on the shoulders (to modulate how far the bombs go and for yaw adjustments), constantly adjusting the right stick (so you can more accurately aim at targets), and every so often the left stick (so you can move on to another group of targets).
    • Also, their price tag. When it takes over 3 million credits to buy the Spirit, much less upgrade it...
  • 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.
    • The ECM does nothing offensively, instead it provides pulses of jamming that disables missile homing and lock-on within a certain period. It doesn't do anything fancy, but having the ability to shut down incessant missile alerts as well as keeping both yourself and your teammates safe is a big plus.
  • 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.
    • Mostly subverted with Team Deatmatch Events that popup so often, since it ultimately comes down to skill. It's not uncommon to see even top-tier planes like the F-22A or the F-15 S/MTD get beaten out of MVP by dinkier planes that end up unopposed by the other team.
  • Code Name: The Bone Arrow and the Ridgeback pilots all have unique call signs.
    • Bone Arrow 1: Viper
    • Bone Arrow 2: Omega
    • Bone Arrow 3: Bronco
    • Bone Arrow 4: Reaper, then Zebu once Reaper takes the lead slot
    • Ridgeback 1: Slash
    • Ridgeback 2: Edge
    • Ridgeback 3: Fencer, then Lance once Edge takes the lead slot
    • Ridgeback 4: Axeman
  • 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; Multiroles are about equally effective in both roles, though without as much variety, specialization, or outright power for either; and Bombers grant insane ground damage potential, but at the cost of everything but, with the distinct drawback of having zero anti-air weaponry. 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.
    • Higher-end Multiroles however, such as F-35B Lightning II, Su-47 Berkut, and F-15 S/MTD are considered game-breakers by most of the playerbase. While high-end Attackers do become better at dealing damage to air targets, their homing penalty prevents them from being efficient with their shots. On the flipside, Fighters lack the natural low-speed stability of their Attacker peers, and while they can make several attacks of opportunity against soft targets (anti-air guns and the like), they suffer greatly against hardened targets.
      • Namco ended up making three whole maps full of rich ground targets (Weapons Base Assault, Moscow Battle, and Stonehenge Returns) to help balance the Attackers out; and later, reduced the range of the two major Game Breaker anti-ground weapons (the LAGM and the UGB) and further increased the attack power of special weapons on their same type (anti-air with Fighters, anti-ground with Attackers).
    • The ECM, highly useful in co-op due to its missile and lock-on disabling function, cannot function more than three seconds in Player-versus-Player Mode to avoid abuse. To put this in perspective, in co-op, the duration lasts as long as 20 seconds, and combined with certain parts and Datalink function, the ECM can be ready to be redeployed before the initial duration runs out.
    • The Fire Extinguisher equippable part is actually just Regenerating Health, removing any and all damage above 39%. As such, it's disabled in TDM mode.
  • 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:
    • Air Combat: The second Mercenary King Tournament gave away the original Scarface emblem as its top prize.
    • 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.
      • The Special Drop Event gave away the emblems of the remake's enemy ace squadrons (Albireo, Lancer, Cocoon, and Beast) as prizes.
      • The trailer announcing the Area 88 crossover featured "Fire Youngman" from the AC2 soundtrack. The track later plays in the Comona map for the Naval Fleet Assault Team Deathmatch Event, which is rather similar to the AC2 level "Seagull".
      • The mid-January 2015 update added the ADF-01 FALKEN superplane.
    • Ace Combat 3: The COFFIN system being used. Also, a man with the surname "Cohen" plays a part in the plot.
      • As of Campaign Mission 3, a large chunk of Eurasia is now the "USEA Federation".
      • Though it flashes by, in this update video a model of the R-101 Delphinus can be seen; this and a quick mention of the COFFIN system possibly confirm aircraft from Ace Combat 3 will be playable; also, the music in this trailer is "Freefall" from the famous AC3 space mission Zero Gravity.
      • The true identity of Butterfly Master is a female living in a satellite, with a spitting resemblance to Fiona Chris Fitzgerald.
    • 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, "Aerospace 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.
      • Campaign Mission 3 is in essence a variant of "Deep Strike", starting with the player bombing various enemy buildings and ending with them having to avoid Stonehenge's attacks by flying through a ravine.
      • The end of Campaign Mission 5 is similar to the end of Operation Bunker Shot, where the commanding officer of the ground forces the Player Character is supposed to support ends up getting killed or otherwise incapacitated, to be replaced by his executive officer when announcing their victory.
      • Mission 8's operation is actually called Bunker Shot. Both landing team commanders survive the battle.
      • 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. Yellow 13's Su-37 has also been teased in a September update video, and is an event prize.
      • August 2014 brought in a Special Raid mission called Stonehenge Returns.
      • January 2015 added in the X-02 Wyvern.
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War: The Ridgeback Squadron, a four-ship formation with black color schemes similar to the 'Demons of Razgriz', complete with Edge (seeming to even have the same voice) as their number-two. 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 included the Wardog squadron and Osean Federation emblems as prizes. A Tomcat with Razgriz paint is the reward for the late January event celebrating the Unsung War.
      • Viper and Captain Bartlett both fly planes that are ancient by the time the game is set, but still fly them (and fly them well) because they put tons of credits toward improving the plane.
      • The Januray 2015 update introduces SOLG as a Special Raid Mission, wih "The Unsung War" playing during the Gold version of the mission.
    • 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 in mission 6, with attendant flythrough in the missile silo and restricted airspace during a high-speed flight through a canyon.
      • Mission 7 takes place over a specific area of Nevada airspace called B7R; it's available to play for PvP events, as well.
      • July 2014's events were all about giving away the squadron emblems from Zero: Wizard and Rot for the "TANABATA -The Star Festival-" event, Crow and Silber for the first Team Deathmatch restricted-aircraft event, Schnee for the F-15C event skin giveaway, and finally Galm for the second Team Deathmatch event. In August, during the "Summer Festival", the main prizes were the Gault and Indigo emblems, and the Special Drop Event also gave players a shot at the Eurofighter Typhoon with the Rot paint scheme.
      • The September monthly plane is Pixy's F-15C, a modified F-15C Eagle, with Cipher's Eagle as a reward for the September Team Deathmatch event. Perhaps not surprisingly, their stats appear to be very nearly identical at first glance.
    • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation: Both an unmanned variant of the CFA-44 Nosferatu and the Aigaion appear. Aigaion was even fought in a randomly-encountered special "Boss" Mission, and its support craft also occasionally show up as the Emergency Mission in some maps.
      • Strigon Team's Su-33 was given away as an event prize in September, while Talisman's F-15E is an event prize in late October.
    • 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. In addition, a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene in the 2nd Campaign cutscene bears the mark of Martinez Security (when the cutscene explains the Advanced Automated Aviation Plant).
    • 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. The ASF-X is also flyable as of the August 2014 update.
      • Weapons Base Assault's second half is a non-bomber version of "Launch", complete with missile silos. You'd have to really stare to see the similarity, though, given the nature of the bombing run and night aspect of the original mission. Plus, any ICBM chase Emergency Mission is the fighter half of "Launch". Minus the whole DFM thing.
      • One of the aforementioned Grey Men looks exactly like Andrei Markov, the Big Bad of Assault Horizon.
    • More than just that, all the songs used in the game are songs lifted straight from Ace Combat 2, 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.
    • The game even added out-of-franchise crossovers; during the October 10-15 2014 Forced Sorties event, players could have their aircraft decked out in paint schemes of the three main planes from the video game adaptation of Area 88. Shortly afterward, Tekken-themed skins are available for drops, complete with unique Special Weapons.
  • 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.
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Tekken themed planes' exclusive special weapons. They can provide larger blast radii or higher homing ability compared to their normal counterparts but require extremely precise timing for this to be possible.
    • The SFFS is also this trope. You can either hopelessly try to kill even one target with this weapon or obliterate entire clusters of targets at an instant depending on how you use this weapon.
    • The RKTL is this trope, too. You effectively have to be still and lightly spread out or focus on what you want to destroy, leaving you at risk for fire, but it's very effective against heavily armored targets and is also handy when facing the Aigaion and its escorts.
    • The new Bomber-type aircraft also qualify; they're slow, clunky and have no anti-air capabilities whatsoever, but they can easily decimate maps like Dubai Night Assault, Tokyo Martial Law, Stonehenge Returns and Emergency Naval Strike before attackers with their anti-ground/ship capabilities and upgraded versions of the UGB/GPB/SOD.
  • Disc One Nuke: The F-4E Phantom II, the very first plane you get. It's a Multirole aircraft so it can handle air and ground targets equally well, has good speed, it has fairly decent Special Weapons (two of which are the dreaded LAGM and UGB), decent ammo capacity, and 17 (19 when upgraded to level 6, 20 when upgraded to level 15) 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 turns like a brick (but again, that can be fixed with parts and upgrades). It takes until you unlock the F/A-18F Super Hornet, or one of the special production planes, to find something better than it in every aspect. 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.
    • The F-5E Tiger II can be this. It carries a little more upgrade slots than the F-4E and also gets the UGB out of the box, meaning it can crush ground targets with ease and, once leveled up, be competitive against mid-to-late game planes.
    • Special drop aircraft, such as the ever-popular Rafale M -Vent d'Ange-, can drop even when the player has just started the game. This can result in complete nuggets having a relatively high tier aircraft without needing to research anything. However, due to the nature of these drops (that is, completely random, and they change every month), it's much harder to rely on them.
    • A lesser example is the very first Datalink; it simultaneously increases weapon lock speed, weapon reload, and missile homing ability. While later Datalink unlocks can award a better version of the aforementioned properties, they can only do so one at a time.
  • 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.
    • Playing the campaign past the second mission counts, too, by way of having to pay in-game credits to fly it after you've already played up to that point normally.
  • Dull Surprise: Heavy Cloud. Compared to Sky Eye, he sounds almost bored, even when you get shot down.
  • 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.
  • Fake Balance: The three plane classes. In theory, Fighters and Attackers are supposed to be better against aircraft and ground targets respectively because of damage bonuses to each other. At the same time, they have damage penalties against targets opposed to their role (e.g. ground targets for Fighters). Multiroles can take on both without benefit or penalty, but have access to more parts slots than fighters or attackers. Fighters and attackers are balanced out with a lack of upgrade slots, but this means that Multiroles negate their Master of None label and butcher both aircraft and ground targets more effectively than Fighters and Attackers combined. The addition of bombers does nothing to alleviate this, either.
  • Four Is Death: Bone Arrow 4's callsign is Reaper. This is also the Player Character.
  • Fragile Speedster / Glass Cannon: Most of the fighters, having poor defense compared to attackers, but being much faster and/or having a lot of Air-to-Air damage.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Both versions of the ADFX-01 Morgan, from Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, have a mounted prototype laser cannon.
    • Enemy drones controlled by the Butterfly Master have nose-mounted laser beams with which they can destroy missiles. She returns with a vengeance as a rare Mission Update enemy in Moscow Battle. Unlike her Campaign Mode incarnation, aggroing several of her drones at once can and will mean quick laser-inflicted death.
    • 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. Like the ones used by laser drones in the campaign, this Moby Dick's lasers can shoot down any missile weaponry that flies near it. Even worse, the laser projectors are not destructible until most of the primary targets onboard the Aigaion itself is destroyed.
  • Guide Dang It: The Special Raid missions, which happen at random, and without explaining how what version gets 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.
    • Subverted in the Multiplayer variant, where you have the burden of having less than 300 seconds to face her.
  • Jerkass: The oh-so-elite Ridgeback squadron, who are exceptionally arrogant, thinking they're so much better than the Bone Arrows with their higher-spec F-3 Shinden II aircraft, and constantly talking down on the mercenaries with borderline-annoying condescension. The fact that Goodfellow rubs their informed eliteness in your face during their introduction doesn't help (although it can be interpreted as his idea of "inspiration"). Slash, their flight lead, is the worst offender of the bunch - after Bone Arrows ace Reaper single-handedly destroys the Stonehenge railgun battery in Turkey, some of the UNF allies mistakenly attribute the feat to the Ridgebacks; instead of being a man and giving credit where credit is due, he goes along with it!
    • It's not just him. Sky Eye was aware of the Bone Arrow's involvement in the destruction of the jammers. It was his comment that it was "probably the Ridgebacks" that led the others to believe it.
  • 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.
  • Kill Steal: A large chunk of the points from a destroyed enemy go towards the one who dealt the final blow, so expect to see this often. In the campaign, a fair chunk of the Bone Arrows' initial animosity toward the Ridgebacks is because of them jumping in mid-sortie and taking all of the major targets for themselves.
    • There's even awards handed out towards this category - Master Thief for the pilot who stole the most kills off their rivals, and Calamity for pilots who let the most kills go to their rivals.
  • Leitmotif:
    • The theme tune to Mappy for Camilla.
    • The Bacura over Tokyo emit background music from Xevious when one gets close to them.
  • Kill Streak: Featured in the Naval Fleet Assault Team Deathmatch Event. Unlike other "pure" Team Deathmatch Events, the objective for the team is to destroy the opposing player Fleet while protecting their own. While Multiroles and Attackers are the heavy lifters, killing enemy players multiple times (or force them to crash or be shot down by friendly ships) in succession awards Strategic Assaults that directly damage the opposing Fleet after a certain time-delay. This encourages Fighter roles to be played as well, since they cannot deal meaningful damage towards the sea-borne fleet.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Project Aces have made a new online restriction so that only low MR players or players lacking unlocks may create OR join "Beginners Only/Welcome" lobbies, foiling seal-clubbers once and for all.
    • In a one-two punch move, the latest November patch marks any kick-happy Host, warning players of those fond of removing anyone that is moderately skilled to maintain a high score; a scoring penalty for frequent room browser to deter Emergency Mission fishers; and a direct nerf to the dreaded UGB and LAGM, removing the supremacy of the two most complained about aircrafts, the UGB-equipped Su-47 Berkut and the LAGM-equipped F-15 S/MTD. As it stands, the two aircraft are still competitive, just not completely overpowered anymore.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The various Moby Dick and Stonehenge Returns missions give the eponymous targets recolors on harder missions; red for the Level II version, and gold for the Level III version. The December 2014 update adds a fourth Black variant.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Su-47, F-22, T-50, ADFX-01, ASF-X, F-15E, F-15 S/MTD, Su-35, Su-37, hell, most high-tier planes have great attack, speed and defence at the same time.
    • The Eagle and Tomcat families has a markedly better speed performance compared to aircraft in the same tier.
  • 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.
  • Mighty Glacier: Most Attackers, being sturdy and having ferocious machine guns and filled with bombs, anti-ground or anti-ship missiles, but lacking in speed/mobility since they're for destroying tanks/ships, etc. Special mention for the legendary A-10, of course. Bombers, apart from a complete lack of guns or missiles, take the mighty against ground-enemies and slow glacier Up to Eleven.
  • More Dakka: The Machinegun Pod, or MGP. Equipped exclusively by older Soviet aircraft (The MiG-21 Fishbed, Su-25TM Frogfoot, and Su-24M Fencer D), all it does is add extra gun pods to strafe your enemies with. Combined with your regular machineguns, the Machinegun Pods can deal terrifying amounts of damage in short bursts. Stack that with machine gun upgrade parts, and watch the damage-per-second climb to previously unseen levels. Destroying high-end jets such as F-22, F-35B, and T-50 (player-controlled or otherwise) with the Fishbed and nothing more than multiple machineguns feels very, very satisfying.
  • 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. The assessment medal for shooting down many aircraft with machineguns only is even called "Old School".
  • Orbital Bombardment: Werner's OLDS system, intended to keep meteor fragments away from the Earth with a laser array, ends up weaponized partway through Bunker Shot, by making it do the opposite - hitting the fragments in such a way that they instead fall to Earth and impact.
  • Player Versus Player: Available for a limited time with certain events.
  • Play Every Day: Several challenges (such as the ones that give you Stocked Fuel as a reward) can be tackled again another day once you've completed them. Others become available again after a few days (such as "Guardian of the Skies" that gives you a free Elite Mercenary Contract for earning "Rescue Bonus" 300 times within a week and resets one week after taking it). There's also a daily sign-in bonus, which gives you extra credits for signing in once several hours, slightly increasing until doubling your reward, resetting the cycle on your fifth login in a row.
  • 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.
  • Random Drop: After completing an Online Co-Op Mission or Team Deathmatch battle, you earn random rewards for your performance, including emblems, credits, stocked fuel unit, aircraft / part / special weapon reports to boost your research, skins for planes and even some rare planes, such as ADFX-01 "Morgan" or Rafale M -Vent d'Ange-. Though the credits and stocked fuel units are usually the most common drops, reports and skins can drop quite often, too.
  • Remixed Level: Nearly all of the Online Co-op Missions are recycled from previous games. Dubai, Tokyo, Weapons Base Assault, and Moscow are lifted pretty much wholesale from Assault Horizon. Pipeline Destruction and Alps Air Corridor are brought back from Ace Combat 6 (Anea Landing and Bartolomeo Fortress, respectively). In Campaign, Area B 7 R and Avalon Dam/The Valley of Kings is recycled from Ace Combat Zero.
  • Running Gag: Every time the AI tries to tell a history overview to its charge, 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.
  • Scripted Battle: The first fight with the Butterfly Master. With the exception of the initial flyby, you can only destroy the drones and the plane when they're marked as Targets. You can damage them, but they stop at specific health thresholds until they become marked. Ridgeback 1 will absolutely take down the last drone (to the point where the game actively discourages you from locking on to it and it is almost always stays somewhere at your six), while Ridgeback 2 is guaranteed to take down one shortly before the main craft itself becomes vulnerable.
    • Amusingly, it's averted in the rematch above the Round Table. It's entirely possible to focus down the Butterfly Master and even missile-kill it despite the abundance of drones.
    • Also averted when she appears in Moscow. It's very much possible to kill her without destroying all her drones, if very difficult and liable to get you killed instead.
  • Shout-Out: The song Butterfly Master hums is actually the theme to Mappy, an old NES game Namco released in 1983.
  • Sink the Lifeboats: Unmanned fighter drones controlled by the Butterfly Master are programmed to recognize and kill enemy pilots who eject from their downed planes, as Slash finds out upon his own demise.
  • Slap-on-the-Wrist Nuke: The Multi-Purpose Burst Missile, a unique Special Weapon wielded only by the ADFX-01 Morgan, is supposedly an ultra-powerful Fighter-mounted cruise missile with the yield of a very small tactical nuclear device. In its debut in Ace Combat Zero, it is indeed a one-hit kill against most things, airborne or otherwise. In this game, it...barely tickles the targets it's supposed to hurt. It is also very flashy, leading to complaints from other players that is blinded by its explosion, which is especially dangerous in tight confines between buildings and/or dark maps (ie, Dubai).
    • Ditto the pre-patch FAEB (Fuel-Air Explosive Bomb). Its performance has been strengthened, and has seen more uses since.
  • 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 which grants them anything from increased reload speed, homing, range, or maneuverability.
    • 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.
  • Stone Wall: Bombers; they are tougher than even the attackers, as well as even more threatening to ground targets than attackers, but they have no offense against aircraft whatsoever.
  • 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 Block 1 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 and gaining two more shots per upgrade up to level 5, at which point you can fire it eleven times in one sortie.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Ace squadrons that show up in Emergency Update missions are this. They range from "harmless" (The Loudmouth Squadron, essentially several jamming aircrafts and a handful of MiG-29A Fulcrums, none too threatening) to "annoying" (the majority of them) to "dangerous" (Specialist Squadron, piloting 8 T-50s, which are fast, highly maneuverable, stealthy, have two different missile types, and will gang up on one player when given the chance).