Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
|Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies|
|Preceded by||Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere|
|Followed by||Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War|
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies (alternatively known as Ace Combat: Distant Thunder in Europe) was a substantial leap forward for the semi-realistic Ace Combat series. Unlike other games of its genre, the Ace Combat series has focused on gameplay and story over realism.
Taking place in the fictional world of Strangereal, Ace Combat 04 tells two stories - one of the ace pilot known only as Mobius 1, and an unnamed child who is thrust into the midst of the war. This unnamed child, henceforth referred to as the "Storyteller boy", makes friends with Mobius 1's greatest adversaries - the legendary Erusian 156th Aquila Tactical Fighter Wing - also known as the Yellow Squadron.
During the course of the game, the player has the opportunity to purchase 21 different planes, from models that actually exist to prototypes or relatively new aircraft that were in development (at the time of game production) and their weaponry. Every plane has two alternate paint schemes, gained by achieving a superior, or S, ranking on a stage in hard difficulty mode, by shooting down the ace pilots on each stage, or by completing the challenge modes.
Players have a specific amount of time to accomplish their objectives. Missions generally fall under two categories - the destruction of all necessary targets (labelled "TGT") or the elimination of as much of the enemy's force as possible within the given time limit. There are several exceptions, however, and they are mentioned where appropriate.
The difficulty mode determines the number of enemies per stage, their AI skill and damage threshold, and how much damage the player's aircraft can sustain in total. On the hardest difficulty level, a single enemy missile will down the player's aircraft, whereas on the easiest level it takes several.