In a world where robots can control the skies as effectively as pilots, what's the point of human aviators? Ace Combat 7 brings its Strangereal universe (the term given to the grounded, but entirely fictional world portrayed in the majority of Ace Combat titles) into the near future to explore that very scenario.
Ace Combat 7: Unknown Skies takes place several years after the events of Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation and takes the series back to Osea, the main location from Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War (with the possibility of characters from 5 reappearing in 7). The Osean Federation has undertaken a massive construction project to create a space elevator. Unfortunately, that construction spilled over into the Kingdom of Erusea, and they don't take too kindly to the project. That leads to a declaration of war from their ruler, Princess Rosa Cossette D'Elise. The writing and story are being handled by Sunao Katabuchi, who also wrote the highly acclaimed Ace Combat 5.
I had a chance to play with the PSVR version of Ace Combat 7 recently. The VR setup for the combat flight sim places players directly in the pilot's seat, leading to one of the greatest VR experiences I've personally had to date. The demo constituted one of the early missions from the game, tasking players to launch themselves from an aircraft carrier to engage several incoming waves of adversaries. Being able to look out of the cockpit at various angles to identify bogies as I did barrel rolls and loops through the air was incredibly freeing. While Ace Combat 7 will release on Xbox One and PC as well as PlayStation 4, the PSVR version of the title will release with unique missions.
Outside of the VR experience, Ace Combat 7 sticks to the classic Ace Combat gamepad control scheme. While the series might strive for realism in the graphics department, the moment to moment gameplay resembles an arcade flier more than anything else. Players take to the skies in aircraft that are sometimes armed with upwards of 100 missiles. Simple controls make learning the ropes relatively easy for newcomers, while veterans will find enough depth and difficulty to keep themselves hooked for a long, long time. Players can take to the skies in two player local co-op or multiplayer.
Ace Combat 7, originally slated for a 2017 release, will now become available sometime in 2018 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.