e3 2017

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

A Dizzying, Exhilarating Virtual Reality Experience
by Javy Gwaltney on Jun 13, 2017 at 02:00 PM
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Project Aces
Release:
Rating: Teen
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One

The seventh  numbered entry in the Ace Combat simulator creeps toward release. At a recent pre-E3 event, I recently got some hands-on time with the game's VR experience, specifically in PSVR, and came back with a belly filled with butterflies.

We played through a brief enemy encounter, which began with me seated inside the cockpit of a fighter jet stationed on a aircraft carrier. There was some brief disorientation during takeoff as the plane zoomed across the deck of the carrier and shot into the sky, but it quickly dissipated. 

Shortly after takeoff, a squad of enemy jets appeared and I engaged them in a dogfight. Flying around in the jet is fun if a bit disorienting, as I kept turning my head every which way to peer out of the cockpit. The experience felt authentic and enjoyable thanks to the balance of realism and fantasy, with a helpful targeting system assisting during the enemy encounters. Despite the light balloon of nausea that appeared in my stomach every time I did a loop-de-loop to escape enemy fire, I had a blast chasing foes through the clouds, peppering them with machine gun fire and taking them down with missiles. 

Ace Combat 7 isn't due out until next year but fans of VR and fighter pilot simulations should be excited The VR experience I had, in spite of some motion sickness, was definitely the most exhilarating and straight up fun demonstration of VR being used well I've seen so far.