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YMMV / Ace Combat

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  • Awesome Music: Way too many instances to count. Tetsukazu Nakanishi (primarily in the first 4 games) and Keiki Kobayashi (primarily from 5 onwards) are some of the best composers in the industry, and they lead teams of equally talented musicians. Every level has a unique background track that will make audiophiles wet themselves. Please list examples on the Crowner Page.
  • Broken Base: It took all of 10 minutes for the fan community to start tearing itself apart when the teaser for Assault Horizon was released.
    • Forget Assault Horizon, do you like the real world setting or Strangereal?
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  • Creator's Pet: Not a character, but a plane. The F-22 Raptor is the most common "canon plane" in the Ace Combat series, being associated with Phoenix, Phoenix again (but only in the remake), Mobius 1, Gryphus One, Antares One, William Bishop, and Trigger.
  • Disappointing Last Level: The US and EU release of Electrosphere suffers from this and Ending Fatigue (for what little storyline there is... try wrapping your head around that one). The last 7 or so levels are still the same quality and design as the rest of the game, but each level keeps ending with "To Be Continued", leading to the next level without a chance to switch planes or even save, and the player begins to wonder when it will finally end.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The series insists, firmly and often, that War Is Hell. However, you play as an Ace Pilot, arguably the most glamorous combat role of all time, and frequent radio chatter indicates that your arrival on the battlefield singlehandedly restores friendly morale and causes enemies to panic. Also, as a Featureless Protagonist, you are spared the pathos-inducing family deaths that plague so many other characters. War is hell... for everyone else.
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  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Building that looks like The Twin Towers shows up in the Japanese release of Electrosphere and in Comberth Harbor (where you are leading the attack on Erusea's naval powers) of Ace Combat 4.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page now.
  • Goddamned Bats: Normal mook planes and SAMs when fighting aces at the same time. The ballistic missiles in Ace Combat 04 are just really annoying to shoot down. If you watch the flight path replay at the debriefing, you'll notice they goes side to side and up and down in a sawtooth pattern. Even the Game-Breaker QAAM missiles have a hard time with this one.
    • The drones (and later UAV's) in 6 deserve mention for being ridiculously difficult to get a good missile launch on unless you're in a high maneuverability jet like the Su-33. The UAV's are worse in that they're only there to make the fight with Pasternak seem more hectic.
    • Most AA Guns aren't a huge threat. In certain cases, however, they're far more accurate than the standard ones and make it a challenge to destroy them without taking some damage yourself. Notable examples are the guns on the Hrimfaxi, on Chandlier, and pretty much all AA Guns in Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, likely due to the lock-on range of standard missiles being a bit shorter than future installments. AA guns in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown are much more accurate than previous games, but only do Scratch Damage and are barely a threat. They only serve the purpose of killing your No-Damage Run.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Consider who plays P.J. and Pixy in Ace Combat Zero. Watch Code Geass.
  • HSQ: Rises dramatically once you see the second trailer for Assault Horizon. Just watch.
  • Jump Scare: In the three PlayStation games at least, the explosion of your plane when you crash or get shot down is EXTREMELY loud and can happen any second that you muck up, so it wouldn't be too surprising if it crapped you up at least once, especially since crashing in particular is usually deadly.
  • Memetic Mutation: Gag Subs (unfortunately in Japanese) of the Zero trailer.
    • Amongst other examples is the one combining The Idolmaster and Ace Combat Zero.
    • "Please understand.", usually accompanied by an image of Kazutoki Kono 'wryly smiling', became a minor meme in player's community after the series producer apologized for no-show of upcoming Ace Combat 7 content at E3 2016.
    • “Those Belkans are at it again.” In reference to the endless wars and conflicts that have plagued Strangereal for two decades now, all because of the country of Belka
    • “Belka did nothing wrong” a counterpoint to the above
  • Player Punch: The games love reminding you that the enemy aces were people with friends and families before you killed them, particularly the death in AC4 of Yellow 4, who goes down in one shot because her plane was badly maintained.
    • While the punch in 4 comes more directly, the hardest goes to Zero, no contest: While each game usually features one hidden ace in each mission plus a few boss aces, Zero contains 169 named enemy aces, and each and every one leaves you with their unlocked biography after you shoot them down. While a good many of them are merely shot down rather than killed in action, seeing names, ages, and life stories attached to each and every YY/ZZ/1995 - OPERATION X: KILLED IN ACTION is devastating, especially given that hardly a single one of them could be framed as a villain in any way other than that they took off from a different air field that day. Well, aside from Schwarze squadron, the Escapee Killers.
    • In Zero, Mission 12 is bad enough as it is. If you played 5 though and paid attention to dates, you saw it coming. What you don't see coming is when the wingman you had been flying with for every mission up to this point, Solo Wing Pixy, takes a shot at you and then deserts. That's one of the most personal betrayals in the entire series.
    • In Skies Unknown, Mission 4 will hit veterans of the franchise hard when former President Harling dies when his transport explodes... by a missile fired by you.
      • Also, in the previous mission, you know how Yellow 13 felt when he lost Yellow 4? Now it happens to you, as Mihaly ambushes and shoots down Brownie, a young lady pilot who was flying back to base after her plane was damaged in the battle. It doesn't help that Brownie gradually undergoes an emotional breakdown as she realizes she's going to die, and is practically begging for someone to help her just before Mihaly shoots her down without mercy, and there's nothing you can do to stop it from happening.
  • That One Boss:
    • Varies depending on the game. In general though it's one thing to realize that at least the solitary bosses in Zero and 6 are each flying a "superfighter" which is a Game-Breaker once you acquire it yourself, but enemy ace pilots fly planes roughly equal to or inferior to yours better than you can.
    • The 8492 squadron after Fortress in 5. If you do decide to take them on then be prepared for undoubtedly the hardest part of the game, period.
    • The Arkbird. It launches UAV drones that constantly spam missiles and you have to destroy targets on the large ship that are underneath it. Except one of the targets is located on the front of the plane where its fuselage gives it a great deal of cover. Oh, and you're under a strict time limit, you have to basically destroy most of the Arkbird before it leaves the map (and it starts close to half way across).
    • Ofnir from the same game, primarily since you're forced to stay in the canyon, while they can go as high as they want. If you think to use the hyper-accurate SAAMs, the Ofnir planes take more than one to shoot down unlike most other aces.
    • Ilya Pasternak. While he thankfully doesn't use the Nosferatu's ADMM all that much, dozens of super-agile UA Vs will spawn with him, and both he and them can avoid missiles simply by accelerating. He's vulnerable only when he slows down to provide ESM for his drones, but within 5 or so seconds after that he'll jam your radar and fly so fast as to instantly vanish from the screen.
    • Sulejmani from Joint Assault. For most of the battle he has a rear mounted machine gun that can shot down missiles, forcing you to use the machine gun and once it's destroyed, you're still better off using the gun because he moves in ways in physics-defying ways that it's hard to focus and most of your missiles would miss anyway. All the while you're trying to avoid his missiles, which sometimes are being launched at point blank range.
    • The second battle with Markov in Assault Horizon. Details are already on the relevant YMMV page.
  • That One Level:
    • Any level in the later parts of any of the games that required the player to fly into enclosed areas or shot them down if they flew above/below a certain height were usually reviled by players and often reviewers.
    • Let's not forget the U2 level from 04. An utter crapshoot with a time limit.
      • The one where you have to escort two cargo planes at different altitudes was worse. For some reason, the pilot of the plane that hasn't been damaged won't climb down a few thousand feet, forcing you into a vertical climb when you have to defend that plane after defending the other one.
    • "Four Horsemen" from 5: timing your attacks can be a bit tricky since Edge is counting down to target destruction, not firing, and missiles require time to fly. Also, this may be the only time in the series when it's important to fly at a specific speed (600 knots, give or take a bit). The PS2 has analog controls so you can control the throttle, but players might not notice that feature.
    • You think "Four Horsemen" is bad? Play Ace Combat X2's "Grand Flight". Let's see, you're flying an airliner in a canyon loaded to the teeth with defenses, and you have no escort whatsoever or any means of fighting back. If you make it through that, then you have to survive an ambush. This one mission alone is worse than every other example in the Ace Combat series combined. Although the matter can became much trivial in co-op if you come in with full set of teammates and let them clear a path ahead of you.
    • Forget "Grand Flight", there's a mission in Ace Combat X that is even worse: TIME LIMIT. The mission in question is similar to Ace Combat 5's "Reprisal" in the sense you must stop the use of chemical weapons with a neutralizing agent. However, there's a nasty twist in this mission: go too fast or turn too hard, and the G-forces will explode the agent. You basically have to watch yourself with the speed and angles while being hounded by enemy fighters, which is considered to be the most frustrating mission in the game if not the entire series.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Many hardcore AC fans were declaring that the series is dead upon finding out that Assault Horizon and Joint Assault take place in the real world instead of Strangereal.
    • A lot of fans also complained about the new Close Range Assault gameplay mechanic, despite the developers' claim that the "classic" AC gameplay is still intact and the new features are optional. To be fair, they weren't actually optional - even mooks would just drop chaff and throw off your missiles if you dared try to fight them normally. Infinity basically sold itself on the fact that Close Range Assault wasn't coming back.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The series is rife with examples of mechanics that are the centerpiece of a single installment and are then completely abandoned by later ones:
    • Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere had complex Story Branching based on the player's gameplay inputs, such as following a certain plane or shooting down a specific target. In the few later games featuring branching plots, such choices are almost always explicit menus.
    • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War had an intricate wingman interaction system and a Tech Tree that unlocked more advanced versions of the starter planes. While both mechanics were slightly refined in ACZ and ACX, respectively, they have since been completely dropped.
    • Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War revolved around a Karma Meter named "Ace Style", which dynamically determined the enemies you'd face and their dialogue depending on your conduct at the battlefield. It has never been used again.
    • Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation had the Operations System, where almost every mission consisted of several simultaneous sub-operations and you won if the majority of them were completed. It also let you build up a meter that calls in a massive spam of allied fire on whatever you have targeted. No later game reused the same system.
    • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy had a meter build up whenever an enemy was chasing behind you that allowed you to instantly loop your plane behind them with the press of a button. The feature did not return for Infinity or 7.
  • Win Back the Crowd: After the infamy that was Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, the return to Strangereal for a full-fledged title in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown certainly has been winning hearts back.


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