Set your sights to lock on and push full throttle on your afterburners as you take control of a fighter pilot in the mercenary airforce of Ustio, the region's last defence against the Belkan airforce. Soar into the skies to intercept the incoming Belkan bombers. The fate of Ustio is in your hands. The hopes of the entire population rest on your shoulders.
Ace Combat: The Belkan War is the latest PlayStation 2 version in the popular Ace Combat series. Never before have your piloting skills and battle outcome meant so much to the success of your mission and the storyline.
The features of Ace Combat: The Belkan War have been improved upon from the previous title in the series, Ace Combat: Distant Thunder, and the ability to affect storylines and interact with characters through your individual gameplay is the most exciting.
Decisions taken during missions determine your "Ace Style". Your range can be from ruthless mercenary, pragmatic soldier or honourable knight. Determining what kind of pilot you will be is an interesting exploration, as long as you don't unsettle your wingmen too much as rash comments could mean losing their respect. The Emotional Feedback System allows actions in battle and responses over the radio to affect how characters respond.
These features really give Ace Combat: The Belkan War more meaning than just an arcade game and flexible gameplay means it's not just a straightforward simulation and allows you to be immersed into the storyline and enjoy the excitement as the plot evolves. This is illustrated well when the lead aces of the enemy squadrons that you meet in battle appear in post-mission cut scenes. Each is interviewed years after the war's end and their recollections will vary according to how you reacted in battle.
This does mean that you can play through different twists in the story as your "Ace Style" affects mission progression and playing through multiple times in different ways will produce alternative missions.
The roots of Ace Combat are firmly strapped into aerial combat and how the new features involve you with the storyline, tactics and improved enemy A.I. makes the action that more intense and surprising. Some enemies will team up, others take you on in one-on-one dogfights while rival ace pilots will always be there to disturb your concentration.
To give yourself time to concentrate on the mission in hand you will need good co-ordination of your wingmen and brand new wingman commands will help create deadly attacks.
The visuals are again improved and a huge range of modern fighter planes, including more than 30 fully licensed aircraft are available. There are 18 varied missions in which you fight off the invading forces and determine the fate of Ustio. There is also a two player mode where you can take on a friend in split-screen dogfighting action across 10 different stages.