It looks pretty cool. Instead of a fixed cockpit view, players can look around them. They can also use the helmet’s HUD to lock-on to targets. The ability to view the skies around your fighter in nearly 360 degrees is nice, but apparently, it is available only as a separate mode and not in the campaign.
Ace Combat 7 was initially announced in 2015 as a PSVR exclusive. After several delays that have pushed it into January 2019, Road to VR reported last year that AC7 would not be an exclusively VR title as the main campaign does not support VR at all. Instead, the game will offer players a VR mode that Bandai Namco Brand Manager David Bonacci says will provide “several hours of VR gameplay.” How many hours Bonacci means by “several” remains unclear.
Ace Combat 7 will be the first we’ve seen of the franchise since Ace Combat Infinity was released on the PS3 in 2014. It has been even longer since Bandai Namco has launched a numbered version. Ace Combat 6 came out for the Xbox 360 way back in 2007. Of course, there have been seven iterations since then including two iPhone originals.
One thing I found confusing about the trailer was the 20th Anniversary announcement at the beginning. The first Ace Combat (called Air Combat back then) was released on the original PlayStation in 1995. That's about 24 years ago. Okay, so maybe the devs are counting from the name change? Ace Combat 2 was launched in 1997 — still, 22 years. So no matter how you look at, it has been around for more than 20 years. The third game came out in 1999, which would be 20 years, but why start counting anniversaries from the third game? If you see something that I’m missing, let me know in the comments because I’m puzzled.
Ace Combat 7: Unknown Skies launches on the PS4 and XB1 January 18, 2019, in the US and a day earlier in Japan. It will also be coming for PC on February 1. You can pre-order a physical copy from Amazon for $60. Digital pre-orders are not yet available.