I have been crazy about fighter planes for as long as I can remember. If it wasn’t Top Gun, I was watching Wings on the Discovery Channel and consuming as much information as possible about fighter jets from all over the world. Fighter jets are maneuverable, extremely fast and blow shit up, so what’s not to like? With my affinity towards fighter jets it should come as no surprise that I’ve been a big fan of the Ace Combat series for a long time. Specifically, I adore Ace Combat 4, 5, and Zero that released on the PlayStation 2.
Imagine my joy and surprise when I found out Namco was running an open beta for the newest installment to their arcade combat flight series: Ace Combat Infinity. The beta ran for one week from 02/04/14 through 02/11/14. The Infinity beta featured a tutorial for rookies and 2 campaign missions along with cooperative missions online supporting up to 8 players. Since I missed out on Assault Horizon, this was the first time I had experienced online multiplayer with Ace Combat and I was hooked.
Playing Infinity online was like playing the Ace Combat I had always dreamed of. The 8 players are split into two wings of 4 and work together to defeat and destroy enemy forces. While both teams work cooperatively to complete the mission, they are both competing to be the highest scoring unit in the mission. The highest scoring player from the leading team is awarded the MVP of the mission and receives a credit bonus at the end. There are also a variety of achievements awarded during the mission debrief that include highest weapon accuracy, most trigger happy, most kills/assists and many more.
Credits and experience earned from each mission are used to unlock and purchase new planes and upgrades. There is also an aircraft upgrade tree which allows the player a visual aid to anticipate or aim for specific planes and upgrades that they want or need. The beta was limited to two online missions and both featured a good mix of aerial and ground targets to destroy allowing players to opt for fighters (air to air combat specialists), attackers (air to ground specialists) and multi-role fighters which are flexible in the ordinance they are able to deliver. Each mission or sortie requires fuel. For the beta, this was not an issue as any used up fuel was instantly restocked but this may be something that comes into play when the full game is released requiring players to purchase more fuel in order to fly more sorties or wait for more fuel to be supplied to them.
Ace Combat Infinity is a PlayStation 3 exclusive and is expected to release later this year. If you’re an Ace Combat fan like me, keep an eye out for this one. I really enjoyed my time in the beta and am genuinely looking forward to playing the final product.