Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception is a flight/action game developed by Project Aces and first released in October 2006 for the PlayStation Portable. It is the seventh home release for the Ace Combat series. Although it does not utilize realistic physics, the game prominently features actual, licensed jet aircraft from the United States, Russia, Europe, and other parts of the world.
The main storyline features a war between the fictional countries of Aurelia and Leasath. The game features thirty single-player missions, although the game's choice-driven mission structure allows the story to be completed in much fewer. In addition to the campaign mode the game also features five ad hoc multiplayer modes for up to four players.
Ace Combat X plays very similarly to previous games in the series. Players take off with a large but limited payload of missiles and special weapons and battle against both air and ground targets in both the single and multiplayer modes. In the default control scheme, the analog stick is used to control pitch and roll while yaw and trim are assigned to the D-pad. The shoulder buttons control acceleration while the face buttons control weapons and targeting. The game features options for first-person viewpoint with or without the cockpit visible, as well as third-person perspective. Many elements were recycled from Ace Combat 4 to save time and showcase the PSP's power. Recycled elements include plane models and stats, the hangar and the Ace Combat 4 physics system.
The game features around thirty playable, licensed, real-world aircraft from the third to fifth generations of jet planes. The planes are divided into fighter, multirole, and attacker types according to air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. Each playable jet is equipped with several dozen multi-purpose homing missiles with limited range and tracking capabilities. Each of these aircraft also has several unlockable special weapons such as long range AA missiles or unguided spread bombs.
Skies of Deception also introduces a new aircraft customization mechanic unique to the game. Parts are unlockable throughout the campaign which allow the player to tweak various statistics of their planes such as speed, maneuverability, armor, machine gun range, and more. Licensed aircraft are not able to be customized, though the game features seven fictional aircraft that can be tuned in this manner.
The game reintroduces many of the systems from the previous Ace Combat games. The player is graded at the end of each mission, from C to S rank, according to various statistics such as time to completion or percent of allies saved. Higher rankings and increased number of enemies destroyed earn the player more money with which to buy additional aircraft weapons, and parts to customize aircraft. The game also features a medal system, as well as optional special units to destroy in order to unlock additional aircraft colors and special parts.
One of the game's most prominent new features is its branching mission structure. The campaign is sectioned into several pieces, with each segment culminating in a major encounter, typically a boss fight. An example early on in the game is a faceoff against the Gleipnir, an airborne superweapon equipped with a ballistic missiles, a laser cannon, and optical camouflage. Along the way, the player's choice of which missions to take on and the order in which different areas are liberated open up different missions in each area. For example, a player's decision to advance quickly towards a boss encounter may enable the enemy to recapture an allied territory, placing a cap on your weapon payloads; conversely, completing more missions may suppress enemy attacks or have other effects in other missions.
The game features five multiplayer modes: dogfight, air superiority, escort mission, beacon battle, and base assault. The game features an complimentary medal system for its multiplayer mode. The multiplayer is local wireless only, with no infrastructure support.
On the southern end of the Osean continent, two nations, Aurelia and Leasath, have been at peace. However Leasath plunges into a civil war and new leader, Diego Gaspar Navarro assumes power. Blaming Aurelia for instigating the civil war, Leasath invades Aurelia in 2020. Aurelia was taken over in just 10 days thanks to Leasath's Gleipnir airborne fortress. Reduced to a single airbase, the Aurelians launch a counterattack. At the forefront of this counterattack is Gryphus 1, also known as the Southern Cross. Gryphus 1 shoots down the Gleipnir flying fortress and helps take back key assets. Eventually arriving at Aurelian capital, Griswall, the Aurelians discover that their capital has been turned into a literal fortress armed with the Meson Cannon Defense System. Despite overwhelming odds, Giswall is liberated and the Leasath retreat.
After recuperating, the Aurelians invade Leasath, determined to put an end to Diego Navarro once and for all. Navarro unveils his new Fenrir aircraft as well as the Archelon Fortress containing the Shock Cannon superweapon. Once again, Gryphus 1 shoots down the opposition and destroys the Shock Cannon, putting an end to the Aurelian-Leasath conflict. It is revealed that the Leasath Civil War and the Aurelian-Leasath War was instigated by Diego Navarro. Navarro, the head of Leasath's Arms Industry, had hoped to use the war to improve his booming arms business.
The game is very similar to Ace Combat 04 in terms of narrative structure. The player character Gryphus 1 is a silent protagonist never seen outside of his aircraft, while most of the game's story only indirectly features the player. A lot of the narrative is told through narrated still animation cut scenes featuring Albert Genette, a journalist who seeks to uncover the truth behind the Leasath-Aurelian War and who also has a fascination with the Southern Cross.
Ace Combat X features 40 aircraft. Most of them are exist in real life or are proposed variants/prototypes.
The following 7 aircraft are fictional and can be tuned
- XFA-24A Apalis
- XFA-27 (Super plane introduced in Ace Combat 2)
- YR-302 Fregata
- XR-45 Cariburn
- YR-99 Forneus
- X-02 Wyvern (Super plane introduced in Ace Combat 4)
- ADF-01F FALKEN (Super plane introduced in Ace Combat 5)