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Name: Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere (59.23% in 13 votes)
Type: SIM
Platform: PSX
Company: Namco
Release date: 1999
Reviewed by: Sympathy

Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere is a futuristic flight simulator game for the Playstation created by Namco (of Tales of Phantasia, Ridge Racer Type R4 fame) There are currently two versions out: the Japanese Import and the US Version, with a very big difference between the two; read on.

Ace Combat 3 is one of the finest 3D flight sims out for the Playstation today. It boasts excellent futuristic aircraft designs, a beautifully implemented flight engine, interesting and innovative mission specs and (for the Japanese Import), a very engaging storyline with incredibly rendered and animated cutscenes and top notch Japanese voice acting. For some reason, Namco removed most of the plot from the US Version of Ace Combat 3, along with the animated cutscenes and any hints of the original characters of the story.

The Story
It is sometime in the distant future. The world is now run by megacorporations, who pull the strings of the civilian governments. Foremost among these megacorporations is the General Resource Group and Neucom, both bitter rivals that compete against each other both economically and militarily. You play a newly recruited fighter pilot in an international peacekeeping organisation called UPEO, which actively intervenes against both General Resource and Neucom forces in the hopes of diffusing potential threats to world peace. As
you progress through the game, different parts of the story will be revealed based on your performance and decisions.

Ace Combat 3's storyline has many different branches, each focused on one of the several pilots from different factions in the game. Each story branch is different, yet interelated, coming from a different perspective of the story. Even the missions will sometimes have you playing the part of your opposition in another mission from another branch in the storyline.

The game is mission based, with numerous mission branches based on your performance and actions in the game. Sometimes, success or failure may branch you into a new and different mission while at other times, you will be given the opportunity to join forces with a particular pilot and faction. In between missions, you are treated to numerous news broadcasts, briefings, video mails from fellow pilots and other cutscenes that introduce you to more and more of the game's intricate plot.

The actual gameplay is simple and intuitive. Some hard core flight sim fans may be disappointed in the fairly simple and not-100%-realistic flight dynamics in the game but in my mind, Namco did an excellent job with the game engine, creating an aircraft control system that is both simple to use and a joy to behold.

A unique flight simulator with a rich branching storyline and RPG elements as well as incredible rendered CG scenes and top notch Japanese animation and voice acting. This game is easily one of Namco's finest creations. A true masterpiece and a must-try for any Anime/Top Gun fan.
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