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This game and its DLC are no longer available for digital purchase on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
"Those we've lost gave their lives to bring the morning light. Living this day to the fullest–is the highest tribute we can offer to their memory."
AWACS Ghost Eye[3]

Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation (エースコンバット6 解放への戦火 Ēsu Konbatto Roku Kaihō e no Senka) is the ninth installment of the Ace Combat series and the seventh numbered installment. It released in 2007 exclusively for the Xbox 360 console. It will be added to Xbox One backward compatibility in January 2019.[4]

The game's single-player campaign takes place in Strangereal during the Emmeria-Estovakia War. The player takes control of Talisman, flight lead of Garuda Team, as they fight to reclaim Emmeria from the invading Estovakians. Cutscenes between missions depict the war from multiple perspectives, ranging from a mother searching for her child to the very enemies the player fights.

Ace Combat 6 is the first Ace Combat title developed for a seventh-generation video game console, utilizing new hardware to deliver graphics considered to be unmatched at the time of its release. The Xbox 360 allowed for more expansive battlefields and increased enemy counts in each mission compared to the previous games. Core mechanics were also improved through the Dynamic Mission System and Allied Support, allowing the player to command and support their allies on land, air, and sea. While the game received positive reviews with an average score of 80 on Metacritic,[5] it is the lowest-selling console game in the Ace Combat franchise, managing only 700,000 copies.[6] This is attributed to its Xbox exclusivity: the Xbox platform is notoriously unpopular in Japan, and all previous Ace Combat games (except Advance) were PlayStation-exclusive.

In 2016, all DLC for Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation was removed from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace; players who already bought items could still re-download owned content, however, new purchases cannot be made.

On September 19, 2018, Bandai Namco announced that players who pre-order Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown for Xbox One will receive a digital copy of Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation on Xbox One through backward compatibility.[4]

Plot

Synopsis

Main article: Emmeria-Estovakia War

Invasion of Gracemeria Talisman

A battle over Gracemeria

Prior to the game's events, the Ulysses 1994XF04 asteroid struck the Earth and devastated Anea. Among the most affected countries was Estovakia, which had its infrastructure and economy left in ruin.[7] In contrast, Nordennavic and–Estovakia's neighbor–Emmeria, managed to recover relatively quickly.[8] The impact ultimately sparked the Estovakian Civil War. When the civil war ended, Estovakia came under the control of The Generals. Tensions rose between Emmeria and Estovakia because of accusations made against Emmeria regarding their stance during the civil war.[9]

In August 2015, Estovakia launched a surprise attack on Emmeria's capital, Gracemeria, and successfully conquered it.[10] Numerous attempts were made by Emmeria to recapture the city, however, none succeeded.[11] The Emmerian military is considered to be one of the most capable forces in the world, but through utilizing their Aerial Fleet in tandem with Strigon Team, the Estovakian Forces managed to drive Emmeria back to Khesed Island.[12] Desperate, Emmeria launched a counterattack and managed to return to the mainland by early 2016.[13] As they continued advancing east, Garuda Team gained a reputation as the Emmerian aces due to them essentially turning the tide of the war in Emmeria's favor.[14]

After liberating San Loma,[15] the Emmerian military ambushed Estovakia's Aerial Fleet and destroyed the P-1112 Aigaion and her support ships; many Strigon Team pilots were killed during the battle.[16] The destruction of the Aigaion threw Estovakia on the backfoot, and Vampire Team was dissolved and its members transferred to Strigon Team.[17] Additionally, Ilya Pasternak became the squadron's new captain. Emmeria began heading straight for Gracemeria, recapturing Ragno Fortress in Grageo Canyon, and pushing into the Moloch Desert.[18][19] During the Battle of the Moloch Desert, the Emmerian military was ordered to cease fire in response to looming threats of weapons of mass destruction. Unaware of the danger, Garuda Team continued to engage Strigon Team and was subsequently penalized for their actions.[19] The following day, Garuda Team redeemed themselves when they flew through the Alma River and destroyed the WMD catalyst.[20]

On March 31, 2016, the Emmerian military launched Operation Free Gracemeria and successfully liberated their capital. Shortly afterward, a CFA-44 Nosferatu piloted by Pasternak entered the airspace alongside numerous UAV-45s. Pasternak engaged in a fierce dogfight with Talisman, a duel which would ultimately result in his death.[21] That night, celebrations took place in Gracemeria, and Estovakia employed its Chandelier railgun to launch retaliatory strikes against Emmeria. Cruise missiles began approaching Gracemeria and all Emmerian squadrons on patrol were ordered to defend the city. Eventually, the attacks came to an end and AWACS Ghost Eye managed to track the missile trajectory back to the Razgriz Straits.[22] On April 1, numerous Republic of Emmeria Air Force squadrons were dispatched to investigate the vicinity around Sonne Island with orders to destroy Chandelier. They located Chandelier and a battle ensued which concluded when Talisman flew into the railgun's barrel and destroyed its core.[23]

Characters

AC6 Box Art C Wallpaper 1280x1024

A wallpaper featuring the Republic of Emmeria Air Force scrambling to defend Gracemeria

  • Talisman is the silent player character of the game. He leads Garuda Team, consisting of himself and Marcus Lampert. Together, Talisman and Lampert fight valiantly to reclaim their homeland, earning a reputation as ace pilots.
  • Marcus Lampert (callsign "Shamrock") is an Emmerian pilot who is assigned to Garuda Team during the invasion of Gracemeria. Forced to abandon his wife and daughter in Gracemeria, he fights ferociously to liberate Emmeria and return to his family.
  • Victor Voychek is one of Estovakia's ace pilots and the former captain of the Strigon Team. He becomes an intelligence officer after he sustains a career-debilitating injury in the invasion of Gracemeria. Throughout his time in Emmeria, he gains a new perspective on the war and the people it's affecting.
  • Ilya Pasternak (callsign "Strigon Leader") is an ace pilot and the new captain of the Strigon Team. Once a pupil of Victor Voychek, Pasternak displays fierce piloting capabilities and prepares for a showdown with Talisman.
  • Melissa Herman is the wife of an Emmerian pilot who dies in the invasion. She believes her daughter, Matilda, to have also died and follows other escaping civilians to safe refuge. After finding out that her daughter is still alive, she begins making her way back to Gracemeria.
  • Ludmila Tolstaya is an Estovakian woman studying in Nordennavic. She is engaged to Strigon Team pilot Toscha Mijasik. She rushes to the battlefield to be at her lover's side and meets Melissa on her way to Gracemeria.
  • Louis McKnight is an Emmerian soldier and leader of the Serval tank company. Initially fighting to liberate Emmeria, McKnight and his crew aims to perform a heist on Gracemeria's central bank.
  • Toscha Mijasik (callsign "Strigon 12") is an ace pilot, a member of the Strigon Team, and Ludmila Tolstaya's fiancé. He fights to help Estovakia claim victory in the war.

Gameplay

Aircraft

Main article: Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation/Aircraft

Ace Combat 6 features 15 playable aircraft, of which 14 are real or prototypes, and one is fictional (the CFA-44 Nosferatu). To purchase aircraft, the player must first unlock them by completing certain missions, then purchase them by spending credits in the Hangar. Credits are earned by destroying enemies and getting high ratings on missions. Only the F-16C Fighting Falcon is available from the start and it cannot be sold. In addition to machine guns and standard missiles, each plane is equipped with a limited number of special weapons which can be purchased in the Hangar as well. Like in 04 and Zero, the player can select their special weapon after selecting their aircraft prior to each mission. Upon purchase, the player is provided with one special weapon, others can be purchased should they have the funds.

Unlike Zero, the player can once again choose both the plane and the special weapons of their wingman before each mission. However, unlike 5, the player does not need to purchase a separate plane for Shamrock.

Before each mission, the player can also select the paint scheme for their and their wingman's planes.

All of the gauges inside the aircraft are fully functional and give accurate information from sea level.

Allied Support

Building off of the Wingman Command system from previous Ace Combat titles, Allied Support allows the player to command their fellow allied troops. To utilize Allied Support, the player must fill up a gauge located at the bottom left of their HUD, next to the radar. The player can do this by completing operations and destroying enemies during missions. When activated, the action depletes one of the five displayed bars. All nearby allied units will attack enemies the player designates or enemies currently engaged with the player, depending on whether the player activated Allied Attack or Allied Defend.

Dynamic Mission System

In line with the larger scale of the battlefields in Ace Combat 6, the game features a Dynamic Mission System whereby players can pick and choose which operations they want to participate in to complete the mission. Typically, half of the operations (rounded up in cases of odd numbers) must be completed to progress the mission. The radar display can be toggled to display targets assigned to each specific operation. Clearing operations will add the associated allies to Allied Support and fill up the support gauge.

Electronic Support Measures

Electronic Support Measures (ESM) is a tool available to both the player and enemies. It increases missile accuracy and rate of fire. ESM is provided to the player via radar facilities and radar vehicles on the ground, allied naval ships at sea, and AWACS Snake Pit in the air. These areas are marked by blue pulsing circles on the radar; when the player enters these blue circles, they will receive a certain level of ESM (denoted on the bottom-right of the HUD) depending on how many ESM sources are present in the area.

Estovakian radar facilities, radar vehicles, naval ships, and AWACS planes provide enemy units with ESM as well. These areas are marked by red pulsing circles on the radar. They do not directly harm the player, but enemies boosted by ESM will pose more of a threat. Enemy ESM areas will negatively impact the player only in the Ace of Aces DLC missions.

Assault Records

Complete Estovakia Assault Record AC6

Assault Records in Ace Combat 6

Main article: Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation/Aces

To unlock enemy Assault Records, the player must shoot down the corresponding Named Aircraft within a mission; Named Aircraft will only appear on Expert difficulty or higher. To unlock allied Assault Records, the player must complete all corresponding operations that allied unit is involved in. Assault Records for Strigon Team are earned throughout playing the campaign.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer in Ace Combat 6 features the following different modes:

Achievements

Main article: Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation/Achievements

There are 49 achievements in the game, including five secret ones, cumulatively worth 1000 Xbox Live Gamerscore Points.

Checkpoints

Ace Combat 6 is the first Ace Combat game to feature checkpoints. Following a Mission Update or completion of an operation, the player will receive a checkpoint, allowing them to restart from said point without having to restart the mission from the very beginning.

Editions

Pre-Order Bonuses

Ace Combat 6 Pre-Order Bonuses

Pre-order bonuses

Players who pre-ordered Ace Combat 6 in Japan and Europe received a download code for the in-game F-15E -MOBIUS- and F-15E -YELLOW SQUADRON- aircraft. The deadline for redeeming the aircraft was September 30, 2008.[24] These aircraft were never made available in North America.

Certain retailers worldwide also offered Xbox 360 faceplates for pre-ordering the game through those retailers.

Initial release copies of the game also came with a 48 hour trial for an Xbox LIVE Gold membership.[25]

Limited Edition Bundle

In addition to the game, the Limited Edition Bundle comes with the HORI produced "Ace Edge" Fligthstick, and an exclusive Ace Combat 6-themed faceplate for the Xbox 360.[26]

Development

AC6Blockbuster

Ace Combat 6 on a Blockbuster database

The making of Ace Combat 6 began in 2006, following the release of Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War. The existence of the game was first discovered in a database of the defunct Blockbuster video rental store in March 16, 2007 by the site Xboxic, together with Beautiful Katamari and Warhammer: Mark of Chaos, which labeled it as an Xbox 360 release in November 16.[27]

The game was formally announced by Namco Bandai on March 23, confirming its release as a 360 exclusive, along with details on multiplayer and plans for downloadable content.[28] The announcement was also disclosed through the March 2007 issue of Famitsu Weekly. On April 27, in an interview, producer Hiroyuki Ichiyanagi stated that the choice to make it an Xbox exclusive was made after research on new game hardware by Project Aces; as well, he commented that the decision was partly made because it was believed that fans had been kept waiting "for a long time", commenting on the timeframe between Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies and Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, and to satisfy popular demand for online gameplay.[29]

As of June 30, 2016, Ace Combat 6 and all of its DLC were removed from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. Players could no longer purchase any Ace Combat 6 material digitally. However, players who already had purchased the game or DLC could still download it at any time.[30]

Galleries

Box Art

Other

Trailers

Screenshots

References

  1. Ace Combat 6 Fires of Liberation trailer (HD).. Uploaded to YouTube by theumbrella94 on May 8, 2010.
  2. ACE COMBAT 6 解放への戦火.
  3. Mission Cutscene following Chandelier, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ace Combat 7 Pre-Order & Deluxe Edition Announcement
  5. Advanced Search Results for ace combat at Metacritic. Retrieved on September 19, 2018.
  6. Dark Souls sells 1.19 million. GameSpot. Published May 8, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  7. Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation Cutscene #02: Realization.
  8. GAZE: Last Christmas
  9. The Emmerian Chronicle: Estovakian Civil War Recurrence?
  10. Invasion of Gracemeria, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  11. Ace Combat 6 Assault Records #25 - Valeriy Nikitov. (Japanese)
  12. FRONT LINE: The Aerial Fleet
  13. Anea Landing, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  14. Siege on Silvat, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  15. San Loma Assault, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  16. Heavy Command Cruiser, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
  17. Cutscene following Heavy Command Cruiser, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
  18. Ragno Fortress, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Moloch Desert, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  20. Weapons of Mass Destruction, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  21. The Liberation of Gracemeria, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  22. Gracemeria Patrol, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  23. Chandelier, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
  24. ACE6 Web - 予約キャンペーン
  25. ACE6 Web - 初回生産限定特典
  26. File:Ace Combat 6 Box Art Flightstick Bundle.jpg
  27. Xboxic: "Welcome to the Xbox family Katamari, Ace Combat and Warhammer?"
  28. IGN: "Ace Combat 6 Set for 360"
  29. GAME Watch Impress: ACE COMBAT 6 Interview
  30. Ace Combat official website.

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