Playing demos on the show floor of a major trade show can be a bit hectic, not only it influences the quality of your gameplay because you’re not in ideal conditions, but you’re on very limited time, so you often skip checking out the options, and just jump as quickly as you can into the gameplay. That’s what happened with my first try of an Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown campaign mission.
When a few days ago I sat (well, I was actually standing) at the controls of an F-14 at Bandai Namco’s booth I was so excited to finally try the game that I forgot to switch the controls from Standard to Expert.
The result is that I found myself with controls rather awkwardly clamped in order to make the game more accessible to casual gamers. With standard controls your left stick doesn’t work like a fighter’s cloche, which normally would apply roll and pitch inputs to your aircraft. It replaces roll controls with yaw controls, basically turning the plane into an awkward duck relying mostly on the rudder to turn.
This makes the whole piloting business easy and relatively safe for novices, but it’s a real drag if your wings aren’t made of tinfoil.
On the other hand, if you switch to “Expert” controls, the stick does what it should do. most turning is done by rolling and pitching, with the rudder used as a support control surface, without unnaturally carying the weight of the whole thing.
Controlling the plane with this setting is a bit more challenging (it isn’t really hard, Ace Combat 7 isn’t a simulator after all), because you can put yourself in situations where it’s harder to recover and to find your bearings. On the other hands, your aircraft is truly unleashed, and you can rely on its full agility to get up close and personal with the enemies’ tailpipes.
So I went back to Bandai Namco’s booth, and begged the local rep to let me fly and record again. Luckily, he’s a nice chap, so off I went to grab the controls again, this time in expert mode.
You can see the results in the video below, and it’s very noticeable, if you compare it with the previous playthrough, that the aircraft is much more responsive and agile.
Unfortunately there was a bit of a problem with the capture card, which caused a few skips in footage, but there is still plenty to see. You’ll notice it mostly because the music skips as well. Since this was an emergency recording outside of scheduled appointments, I did not have the chance to get a second take.
If you want to see more of the game, you can check out another mission played by Producer Kazutoki Kono (who is visibly better than me, not surprisingly), and the newest trailer and screenshots. You can also take a gander at another recent batch of screenshots, and at the previous story trailer.
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown will launch in 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Incidentally, I also interviewed Kono-san at Gamescom, and you’ll be able to read the whole thing soon. For now, you can enjoy a small tease.