Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation

Ace Combat 2 (PlayStation - 1997)
The situation is tense and we have no time to lose. The fate of the free world is in your hands.

This is exactly what a sequel should be. Nearly twice as many missions, more jets, wingman control, better graphics, branching paths and multiple endings awaited those who suited up for another bout in the sky. Everything from buildings to lighting to the jets themselves looked and sounded better, and the music was just as exciting as the previous game. As impressive as the first was, Ace Combat 2 was that astounding all over again.

The series' overly involved storyline began to take shape here too. This is the first glimpse at Usea, the battleground for all of Ace Combat 2 and a continent housing the soon-to-be villainous Erusean populace. Across the ocean lies the Osean continent, an area that'll soon be embroiled in war due to aggressive movements from neighboring Yuktobania.

As fans of the series, we're happy to hear about the exploits of a fictional globe and its power-hungry warlords, but sometimes you don't need a history lesson to want to blast jets out of the sky. At least most games jump from one area of the world to the next, rarely visiting the same country or continent twice.

Defining moment
Ace 2, already a game of firsts, introduced one more feature that would stick around for a decade - the Namco-developed super fighter. After playing through once, you can run through the missions again with a host of new aircraft, including the XFA-27, a fabricated jet that outperforms all others. The XFA manages to be futuristic yet attainable, a theme that would continue throughout the entire series.

Brett Elston

A fomer Executive Editor at GamesRadar, Brett also contributed content to many other Future gaming publications including Nintendo Power, PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine. Brett has worked at Capcom in several senior roles, is an experienced podcaster, and now works as a Senior Manager of Content Communications at PlayStation SIE.