- Annoying Video-Game Helper: Some of the allies in the game can get like this, when they have an annoying habit of asking you trivial questions at the absolute worst times, especially Chopper. This comes to a head in Mission 7, where Edge will ask you a question, then Chopper, then Archer, on top of another question or two if you don't have them set to the orders the game thinks you should have them at, all the while the player is desperately trying (and likely failing) to concentrate on flying and fighting. Worse yet, in Mission 10, answering Chopper's seemingly irrelevant "Face of the Coin" question chooses your next two missions without stating as much or giving any clue as to which two missions those are. One path gets you the alright ones, the other gets you the Four Horsemen.
- Awesome Music: One of, if not THE best soundtrack of the series. Which is saying quite a lot! AC5 favors a more Western-inspired orchestral score over the rock/electronic tracks in the previous games, all of which is composed by many signature composers of the Namco Sound Team. This entry is also significant for being the game in which Keiki Kobayashi became the main composer of the series, a position that until that point had Tetsukazu Nakanishi (although he still played a major role). Other composers were Junichi Nakatsuru (the main composer of the Soul series), Hiroshi Okubo, and even new assets like Katsuro Tajima and the ACE COMBAT5 Chorus Team. All of which performed by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Throw in a few of the classic synth/guitar segments from the previous games, some Ominous Latin Chanting, and an Oscar Bait theme song performed by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn to boot, and you get pure distilled awesome. Some highlights:
- Best Level Ever
- While it veers into That One Level on higher difficulties or if you're in an air-to-ground plane, 8492 can qualify as this if you're in a fighter or a decent multirole. It's the closest the game ever gets to a Comona-style furball. To say nothing of the mission's plot elements.
- The last/second to last mission of the game, Aces, qualifies as well. You recieve aid from several squadrons from BOTH global superpowers, having finally set aside their differences to begin a joint assault on the control facility for theSOLG . You then follow true Ace Combat tradition and fly INSIDE the control facility, which is by far larger and more perilous than anything the USEAN Rebels OR the Eruseans managed to build in the previous entries
- Regardless of the path chosen, the final level of the Arcade Mode is this. You, as Mobius 1, destroy the last of the Erusean remnant including an aircraft carrier, and then take down up to six X-02 Wyverns. Being Mobius 1, you do all this with your only support being an AWACS.
- Cargo Ship: Nagase x the Arkbird. She even outright says during the mission "White Bird (Part II)" that she was in love with it, both because of its sleek aesthetics and its symbolism of international peace. You can almost hear her heart breaking because it's this mission where she has to help shoot it down to prevent a nuclear attack on a Yuktobanian city.
- Demonic Spiders: Yuktobanian (and Belkan) MiG-31 and Tornado fighters and A-10 attackers take three missile hits to take down, instead of the usual two. This makes them annoying especially in missions where there are large concentrations of enemies and the player's missiles need to be conserved.
- Even Better Sequel: To 04, being about twice as long as any other game thus far, and also adding the new squadron control mechanics and a more character-driven narrative, this game often ends up as many fans' favorite. On the flip side, the same two attributes mentioned above are why some other fans dislike it.
- The Raptor or any fighter with XMAAs or XLAAs in the final mission becomes a literal example where the first fight can be finished in about ten seconds. It's supposed to last much longer, but get it right and the in game speech cannot keep up with you winning so easily.
- SAAMs are nearly as good of seekers as QAAMs were in Shattered Skies, have great range, and the enemy AI is rarely aggressive enough to force you to let your target out of your sights. Their range and maneuverability absolutely trivializes the canyon battle with Ofnir.
- Even better if you take the FALKEN and its TLS to the final mission — one sweep of it through the enemy aces, a few minutes of uninterrupted monologue, and then cutting the goddamned SOLG in half with another sweep.
- Oddly enough the UGB, and only for the last mission on the assault on SOLG specifically. A single direct hit on SOLG can take out half or more of the designated targets and makes what should be a challenging mission a breeze. The developers of the game likely didn't anticipate this because the UGB is an air-to-ground weapon only and the SOLG can only be locked on with air-to-air weapons (though being an unguided weapon, that doesn't exactly stop the UGB from being able to hit it).
- Memetic Mutation:
- 8492 Explanation
- "8492! 8492! Is that all you people have to say? There is no X in our Y with that number!" Explanation
- That One Level:
- Four Horsemen, which requires you to coordinate with your wingmates to take out four radar stations at exactly the same time. You have to fly at just the right speed to be in position for your strike, and you have to account for the time it takes your missiles to travel as well. Also, randomly, Chopper's radar will malfunction or Grimm will fall out of position and you have to break off and line up the attack again, which will probably mess up your timing. And if you get any of this wrong, you have to start the whole mission over again.
- Final Option. It's an interesting enough mission the first time, but unfortunately you can't skip it on future replays. You're forced to fly an unarmed trainer plane though a decently long level in order to escape a Belkan squadron, and you're following instead of leading for once so there's no real freedom on how you fly.
- Wangst: Your wingmen's constant anti-war belaboring can fall under this. While they're not wrong and the characters are likable regardless, the fact of the matter is that they're repeatedly whining about being fighter pilots, a job they chose to sign up for (even if they did so to experience the thrills and beauty of flying a plane as opposed to shooting down hostiles), and do so long before they learn they're being had in a conflict orchestrated by an unseen third party.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The anti-war stance the game takes has some think it is a commentary on George W. Bush and The War on Terror. While there may be a grain of truth in there, if anything it is closer to the Cold War.
- Given the Belkan War 15 years prior in universe being akin to WWII, right up to being ended by nuclear weapons, That would make the political climate of this game akin to 1960's earth, almost immediately before the Vietnam War, yet another conflict that wasextremely unpopular with both the military and the general populace, not to mention around the same time as the Cuban Missile Crisis.
YMMV / Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War