Ace Combat[a] (often stylized as ACE COMBAT) is an arcade flight action video game franchise developed and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment since 1995. The franchise typically features accurate real-life military aircraft in addition to unique fictional designs. The Ace Combat games are characterized by dramatic stories, fast-paced gameplay, and grandiose soundtracks.
Ace Combat is recognized as one of the most successful and longest-running arcade flight franchises in the video game industry. As of 2020, the franchise sold over 16.5 million total copies across all games and regions.[note 1] The newest major game in the franchise is Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, released in January 2019 on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam.
Most Ace Combat games follow the same general gameplay format. Players are tasked with a consecutive series of missions. These missions start with briefing cutscenes that outline the main objectives and the enemy forces the player will face. After the briefing, the player can select one of their owned aircraft or purchase a new one, as well as a secondary weapon in addition to standard missiles.
Ace Combat mission objectives, enemy types, and friendly supporting units greatly vary across the franchise. Players will sometimes shoot down a squadron of enemy bombers, destroy ground installations, face off against ace squadrons, or battle a massive superweapon. Gameplay remains the same throughout; the player controls their aircraft in a 360° field in the sky with freedom to fly anywhere within the mission boundaries. Missiles must lock on to an enemy target to be guided, but players can also use an assortment of non-guided weapons such as machine guns or rockets.
Some missions also feature a Mission Update, where the objectives and enemy types change halfway through. Once all objectives are cleared, most games follow to a debriefing screen that summarizes the player's performance in the mission. Some games also feature a Replay Mode that presents the player's flight in various cinematic viewpoints. Players are also treated to additional story cutscenes during and between missions to provide context to current and past events affecting the conflict.
|Ace Combat 2||PlayStation||1997||1,092,000||83|
|Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere||PlayStation||1999 (JP)
|Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies||PlayStation 2||2001||2,640,000||89|
|Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War||PlayStation 2||2004||1,802,000||84|
|Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War||PlayStation 2||2006||792,000||75|
|Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation||Xbox 360||2007||700,000||80|
|Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown||PlayStation 4
The "Secondary Games" are handheld Ace Combat games that take place within the Strangereal universe.
|Ace Combat Advance||Game Boy Advance||2005||100,000||56|
|Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception||PSP||2006||476,000||75|
|Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion||iOS||2009||N/A||61|
|Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy||Nintendo 3DS||2011
|Ace Combat: Northern Wings||Mobile phones||2011||N/A||N/A|
The "Spin-Off Games" are Ace Combat games that do not take place within the Strangereal universe.
|Ace Combat: Joint Assault||PSP||2010||N/A||71|
|Ace Combat Assault Horizon: Trigger Finger||iOS||2010||N/A||N/A|
|Ace Combat: Assault Horizon||PS3 / X360
GFWL / Steam
|77 / 78|
|Ace Combat Infinity||PlayStation 3||2014||[note 2]||54|
All games in this list were also developed by Bandai Namco and feature some ties to Ace Combat, but are not officially considered to be in the Ace Combat franchise.
|Air Combat||Namco System 21||1992|
|Air Combat 22||Namco System 22||1995|
|The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces||Nintendo Wii||2008|
|AR Aircraft Hanger||iOS||2012|
|Mach Storm||Namco System ES3||2013|
All games in this list were also developed by Bandai Namco and feature at least some ties to Ace Combat, but were never released.
- Ace Combat (エースコンバット Ēsu Konbatto)
- ► WTF Is... - Ace Combat Assault Horizon ?. TotalBiscuit, The Cynical Brit on YouTube. Published February 17, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
- Harradence, Michael. "Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown Tops 2.5 Million Sales, Is Best-Selling Game In Series". PlayStation Universe. Published on 18 January 2021. Retrieved on 23 January 2021.
- 『エースコンバット』シリーズ全世界累計1,000万本突破!. Retrieved on April 14, 2015.
- Dark Souls sells 1.19 million. GameSpot. Published May 8, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2014.