Here is a full list of teh games. I took teh GB and iPhone and PSP ones off because I want to know what people will like (or desire) from the next large console title.
|Ace Combat 2||PlayStation||1997|
|Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere||PlayStation||1999|
|Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies||PlayStation 2||2001|
|Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War||PlayStation 2||2004|
|Ace Combat Advance||Game Boy Advance||2005|
|Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War||PlayStation 2||2006|
|Ace Combat Xi: Skies of Incursion||iPhone||2009|
|Ace Combat: Joint Assault||PlayStation Portable||2010|
|Ace Combat: Assault Horizon||PlayStation 3 / Xbox 360 / Microsoft Windows||2011 (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360- later for Windows)|
|Ace Combat Infinity||PlayStation 3||2014|
|Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown||PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / Microsoft Windows||2019|
I cut my teeth on the Ace Combat 2, and played all the way up to Zero...which was the last liked. I'll be honest I felt like Assault Horizon was so bad that it made me sour on the property totally.
I think when Ace Combat is at its best, players have a story and cutscenes that are just the small parts that weave teh gameplay together. A nice simple format of mission briefing, fly into combat, and that is followed by a short cut scene or story element is best. Gameplay should always be 5:1 to scenes and story. If the mission take five minutes at most I want to see one minute of cutscene before the next briefing or ability to play another mission.
For that reason, my favorit is Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, which I just think of as the one about "the kid" who has a complex relationship with the occupying military of the man he admired who was his enemy - Yellow 13. When you think about it the story is a bit melodramatic and far fetched, but the whole game is about conflicted characters on all sides. On the positive side the game really is about playing the game and just getting tidbits of story, from the outside looking in, as the player progresses. The other games focus teh story on the pilots which too often has been over the top melodramatic and angsty.