We recently got the chance to climb inside a fighter jet, take it to the clear blue skies, and shoot down some other planes that we were assured were “enemies”. This was thanks to Bandai Namco allowing us to check out Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown‘s VR mode in PlayStation VR. It was quite the experience.
I’ve already played VR fairly extensively — mainly PlayStation VR. The simple act of being locked to one position in-game can really help with VR feeling properly immersive, so being in a fighter jet in Ace Combat 7 is a perfect reason for that. It’s wonderfully intense.
Take off was pretty standard, and is (I imagine) just as easy as actually taking off in a fighter jet. I left the aircraft carrier behind me, hurtling upwards, passing through a layer of clouds. Looking around the cockpit clear blue skies surrounded me, the ocean miles below, and one other friendly plane. That’s when I tapped the left analogue stick to the side, rotating the plane. My stomach lurched as the plane flipped through the air.
As enemy planes appeared in the sky I gradually began to get used to the sensation, and everything started to slot into place. Accelerating, decelerating, spinning, and banking to the sides all began to feel easier to handle, and being able to physically look around my plane helped me pick out targets and how I should be manoeuvring. Locking enemies into my sights one by one (you actually need to look at them), I launched missiles with a single press of a button, taking out their own missiles with my machine gun before they could get close to me.
I only had one major mishap, which, admittedly, did involve crashing into an island. There was a split second moment of panic in my body before the plane made impact, but it wasn’t so bad as it quickly blacked out and respawned me in sky once more.
PlayStation VR still needs more key experiences to continue to prove it’s a technology and a peripheral that everybody needs. Resident Evil 7 was a strong start, and it’s games like Ace Combat 7 that are going to continue to prove VR is an experience worth having. We only played a short dogfight, but if Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown can provide generous heaps of some of the most exhilaration VR action, then it’s going to be something everyone should try.
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is due out in 2017 on PlayStation 4 (with PlayStation VR support), Xbox One, and PC via Steam.