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YMMV / Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation

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  • Awesome Music: This IS an Ace Combat game, after all. To give but two examples of the amazing musical score, "Invasion of Gracemeria" starts things off with a hopeful and gallant, tribal-influenced march that will make you want to go dance with the angels, while its Triumphant Reprise "The Liberation of Gracemeria" is considered to be one of the series' all-time greats with its slow buildup and powerfully exultant feel.
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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Shamrock's decision to disobey direct orders, leading to him and Talisman (who cannot disagree with him) getting suspended, has literally no effect on the plot. The very next mission, Garuda Team are forced to go after WMDs the Estovakians are about to ship into Gracemeria... which, if prior Character Development is any indication, Command would have ordered them to do anyway, and which the two would have happily taken on anyway. After succeeding, the Garudas are cleared of wrongdoing, and life is back to normal. Was there a point? (Especially when his Heroic BSoD in Mission 14 is even more effective than this one.)
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • The Strigon Team planes can be REALLY REALLY ANNOYING to get a bead on, while they don't have as much of a problem shoving missiles up your tailpipe. And that's assuming that you're on a mission where you can even shoot them down.
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    • The ultimate spiders of AC6, if not AC as a whole, have to be the Nimbus drones, and Pasternak's UAVs are even worse than those. Even once you master the art of shooting them down, it still comes down to whether or not the computer allows you to hit them or not.
      • Actually, you can hit them — it's just very hard to get a very good lock-on and catching them when they're not maneuvering like sparrows on steroids. Same thing goes with Pasternak's UCAVs, but that has more to do with how long you can dodge the constant barrage of ADMMs and gunfire.
      • Once you get the hang of it, it's not hard to destroy a Nimbus drone. They sit pretty well in one place for a short time when the missiles come in, letting a quick QAAM or well-timed SAAM shot get the best of them.
      • As for the others, you can just go the No Kill Like Overkill route and call in Allied Support on them. Allied Cover is great for cleaning up Pasternak's drones.
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  • Game-Breaker: Has its own page.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The story starts off with the Russian/Eastern European-expy Estovakia going to war as a last ditch attempt to recover its economy after being devastated by meteor impacts. On February 14th, 2013, hundreds of people in Russia were injured (thankfully no deaths or major damage) as a direct result of a meteor shower.
    • In another sad real-life parallel to Strangereal history, Russia launched a large-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine on February 24th, 2022. Not unlike the attack on Gracemeria, the conflict began with an air strike targeting the capital of Kyiv (among several other major Ukrainian cities), followed by reports of Russian ground forces meeting fierce resistance from Ukranian armed forces and paramilitary on their way to the capital. The situation flipped in November 2022, where once reports of Kherson being liberated by the Ukranian forces began spreading, people began celebrating with the soundtrack "Liberation of Gracemeria", calling it "Liberation of Kherson" instead.
  • Memetic Badass: The entire Emmerian Armed Forces are canonically incredibly competent for A.I. allies, but Captain Ford of the Marigold in particular is depicted as an interuniversal angel of death pulling The Cavalry duty to the triumphant strains of "The Liberation of Gracemeria"'s chorus.
  • Memetic Loser: Strigon Squadron is sometimes regarded as this by Ace Combat veterans, because of the fact that they can get shot down by no-name mooks on your side. It makes them look a lot weaker compared to other rival squadrons, which most rival squadron planes can only be shot down by you or your wingmen.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The allied attack sound, followed by allied squadrons moving in to assist you.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Estovakians using the Chandelier on Gracemeria, for the sole purpose of leveling it, civilians and all.
  • Narm:
    • "Go Dance With the Angels!"
      • Get used to hearing that nearly every cutscene. Every cutscene.
    • Everyone in this game is a wannabe poet and none of them are any good at it.
      "I vaguely hear a scream of terror that sounds much like my own voice from afar... I feel as though the Golden King's gentle smile is moving... moving further away from me."
    • Don't forget Ghost Eye's reaction to Shamrock getting shot down. He sounds almost bored when it happens to you!
    • Let's face it; it's hard to take any moment in the game seriously if you're using one of the DLC iDOLM@STER planes.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: The story is a cheesy, fairly straightforward retread of Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies with a lack of in-depth characters and has monotonous (if not Narm-tastic) voice acting put front and center, though it has a bit of its Narm Charm for series veterans and approaches the on-the-ground perspectives mid-war in a unique way. What most fans are really here for is the Serial Escalation of the gameplay, from the Wingman system, to mid-mission Operations as sub-objectives to accomplish for in-game benefits, and topping it all off with some genuinely intense and beloved mission design. It's one of the only Ace Combat games remembered primarily for its gameplay quality as a result.
  • That One Boss: "Liberation of Gracemeria" is by far one of the best climax missions the series has to offer, with a whopping 6 operations to choose from and a required completion quota of 4, mixing air, ground and sea battles in a giant map. All is good... until you hit the second phase of the mission and you are pit against Pasternak's missile-spamming CFA-44 and his army of UAVs, the latter of which are infuriatingly hard to shoot down due to unpredictable A.I. Because you are required to shoot down a large number of them to ensure an overall S Rank in the mission note , players cite this boss fight to be the cheapest wrench to dampen an otherwise excellent mission, and a major reason to call the Estovakian ace "Pasterhack."
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • The aforementioned Game-Breaker planes, due to their immense power in multiplayer. Also, anything that carries QAAMs, because of cheap abilities like extreme maneuverability, lots of damage, and the fact that they disappear off radar.
    • This game's incarnation of the F/A-18F is widely hated by many Ace Combat fans who like to fly the Hornet line, due to being one of the slower F/A-18s in the series and having a mediocre special weapon loadout.
  • Unintentional Uncanny Valley: Most of the people models in this game look really wrong, more like animated mannequins than people.
  • Vindicated by History: To a degree. In the years following the release of Fires of Liberation, very few AC players actually played the game, due to the console hop to the Xbox 360 that made many longtime fans seethe. After Assault Horizon dropped, however, fans became a lot more forgiving. Said players and fans gave the game a try, and finding out that the story and characterization are on par with the Holy Trilogy (or the oft-overlooked—and unfortunately neutered in translationElectrosphere), AC6 had several good things going for it: a phenomenal soundtrack (no surprises there), solid gameplay accompanying tremendously large-scale battles that put the rest of the series to shame, and being the last major (read: console) title set in Strangereal for over a decade until Ace Combat 7's release.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The graphics in Ace Combat 6 allows for Scenery Porn and battle scenes in truly huge scale never seen before in the series. You can fly through thick realistic-looking clouds, dance with missiles which leaves trailing smoke behind, witness several battalions of armies duking it out across the vast beautiful maps, tank shells, rockets and cruise missiles flying everywhere. All in HD glory. Many years after its release, the graphics are still held up well.
    • At the time of the release, the official website had a minigame where visitors were tasked with telling the differences between in-game screenshots and real aircraft photos.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The Operations System, an evolution of the distinct operations used in a handful of missions from Zero, where almost every mission consists of several simultaneous sub-operations and you win if the majority of them are completed before time runs out. It also lets 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.
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