Ace Combat: Joint Assault (also known as Ace Combat X2: Joint Assault in Japan) is the eleventh game in the Ace Combat series and the first one to be set on our familiar Earth, rather than the Constructed World of Strangereal. Released in 2010.
It was the third Ace Combat game made by an external developer (Access Games, although Project Aces assist with the development).
The year is some unspecified number in 20XX, some years after the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis.note It is your first day on the job as Antares One, a rookie pilot in the private military company, Martinez Security. The company is hired to participate in a joint exercise between the American 7th Fleet and the Japanese Self-Defense Force but is waylaid by fighter planes from a terrorist group calling themselves the Valahia.
The Valahia proceed to attack Tokyo, followed by one of their Orgoi flying fortresses, as a prelude to declaring war against the entire world. Meanwhile, Martinez Security aligns with the nations of the world to form the International Union Peacekeeping Force (IUPF) with Antares One leading the charge.
Tropes found in the game
- America Saves the Day: Played with. Even though game info hints that Martinez is a US-based PMC, and your immediate superior, Burford, is an American citizen as well as hinted to be former U.S. military, the staff is a combination of American and foreign PMC members. You also have allied PMC soldiers with you from other countries.
- Ascended Glitch: The Orgoi, an Airborne Aircraft Carrier that nevertheless manages to have maneuverability comparable to a fighter jet, was apparently inspired by a very rare glitch in Ace Combat 5 where the Arkbird, normally as slow and ungainly as its massive size would suggest, would suddenly be able to move and turn like a regular fighter once only one of its engines was still active on the higher difficulties.
- Award-Bait Song: "For us All".
- Bald of Evil: Andre Olivieri.
- Bilingual Bonus: Varcolac is named after the Romanian word for werewolf. The Balaur as well, which is a kind of monster in Romanian folklore. The Valahia is also an alternate, obscure pronounciation for Wallachia.
- Black-and-White Morality: Played completely straight, in contrast to the past Ace Combat games except Air Combat and Ace Combat 2.
- Blood Knight: Rigel Varcolac Squadron, particularly Kiriakov.
- Bonus Boss: This title ups the series' ante by sending multiple previous player characters and notable enemies at you in reverse-chronological order - Strigon Leader from AC6, Gryphus One from ACX, Galm One from ACZ, Blaze and Zipang from AC5, Yellow 13 and then Mobius One from AC04, Dision from AC3, the ZOE Commander from AC2, and finally Scarface One from the original Air Combat.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: AEGIS ships look like normal Cruisers but their twin SAMs have much greater lock-on range than the norm. To add insult to injury, the first time you meet them you usually won't have long-range missiles yet.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Final boss Sulejmani in his second phase uses a physics-defying missile-dodging roll maneuver no one else can pull; not his teammates using the same plane and not the player, either.
- Co-Op Multiplayer: The first Ace Combat that allow the player to play the campaign with up to 4 players.
- Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Sulejmani's Varcolac and its PD gun.
- Disc-One Final Boss: The Valahia leader.
- Escort Mission: The co-op/multiplayer version of "Grand Flight" plays with this, by having Player One (flying a Boeing 747) be the Escorted (under a strict 1000 Altitude limit, and a very harrowing path), and Players Two, Three and Four protecting Player One's six.
- FaceHeel Turn: Everyone in Rigel Squadron. As you go near the end of the game, you need to shoot them down.
- Finger-Tenting: Andre Olivieri.
- Four Is Death: Rigel Varcolac Squadron.
- Guide Dang It!: Wondering why final Sulemanji seems to take no damage during your showdown against him? That's because when he turns off his rear-mounted CIWS and starts doing his physics-sodomizing flips, he's actually INVINCIBLE until he finishes rattling off his entire back-story. As with Markov, you don't get an indication as to this, and also no explicit indication as to when the invincibility wears off.
- Honest Axe: Referenced in the naming of the Golden Axe Plan.
- Joke Character: The WWII A6M Zero and F6F Hellcat fighters. Better hope your skill with guns is up to snuff, 'cause no air-to-air missiles for you! They make a return in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy, and they've been promoted to Lethal Joke Plane thanks to the Tactical Maneuver Command system present.
- Lightning Gun: The Electrolaser.
- Magnetic Weapons: The Balaurs.
- Multinational Team: The Martinez Securities staff.
- N.G.O. Superpower: The enemy, Valahia, is supposedly a terrorist group. Nevertheless they have access to flying battleship with a seemingly alien technology, a massive railgun and lots of conventional forces in all three mediums. Justified, while still being very weird, as they're being funded and supported by Andrei Olivieri, via his life insurance company and Golden Axe PMC for technology. The railgun is also specified as having been captured by them, rather than built.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Neither the Valahia leader nor Olivieri fight you in the air.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: Subverted; a properly-tuned plane can possibly take multiple missile hits and still fly, even on Ace difficulty.
- One-Man Army: Antares Squadron is basically a one-man squad if one plays the campaign solo.
- Obviously Evil: Played straight with Olivieri. Hint: the guy that's profiting from war? He's a bad guy.
- Parental Abandonment: The Freudian Excuse of Sulejmani is that his parents sold him off as a Child Soldier.
- Path of Most Resistance: The mission where you fly a 747 in a ravine offers you a long path with flak and proximity-triggered mines or a short one with AAA and missiles. Choose your poison.
- Private Military Contractors: Returns to the series here, with the player(s) employed by Martinez Security.
- Real Men Fly Pink Raptors: One of the unlockable paint schemes for the X-02 Wyvern is pink.
- Real Life: The first game set in the real world since the arcade games, the last of which was released in 1995.
- Reverse Escort Mission: "Grand Flight" has you pilot a personal Boeing 747-200B of Olivieri Life Insurance CEO Andre Olivieri so he can get through the Turkish region of Mora, which is filled to the brim with Valahian forces. The 747 is slow with average armor, you need to fly through a ravine to avoid instakill SAM network there, gunboats and choppers are everywhere, and after the ravine is a jet fighter ambush. Ace difficulty cranks this Up to Eleven. You will later kill Olivieri at the end of the game while he's on foot and wielding an anti-tank missile launcher.
- Story-Driven Invulnerability: Varcolac have the same deal as Yellow from 4.
- Soundtrack Dissonance:
- A milder version of this is present, where the track played during the level where the Spiridus goes down is a freaking piano orchestra. Yet it somehow fits.
- It also qualifies in the same way Ace Combat 2 does, due to reusing a few tracks from 2.
- The Voice: You can choose between a male American and British combat operator, a female Japanese and Swedish combat operator.
- True Final Boss: Scarface One/Phoenix serves as the final enemy of the bonus mission Ace of Aces.
- With This Herring: This game gives you the option of flying either the F6F Hellcat or the A6M Zero, both propeller planes used in WWII.