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Okay, so let's talk about Clouds ( + Kono Apologia )


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#1
Scherzo

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The whole "Clouds as gameplay" element is something I've seen a lot of AC Fans roll eyes at, especially on Ace Combat Skies. And honestly it's hard to blame them given AC's record for 'gameplay innovation'. But I think lumping it in with CRA as an obviously awful idea is a mistake. I believe clouds actually might actually end up enhancing AC's gameplay strengths.

 

Before getting into why I believe 'Cloud Gameplay' will succeed, we need to dig into why Close-Range Assault failed. And more fundamental than being too heavily scripted. CRA ripped out any notion of maneuvering from the gameplay loop. It boils down the process of dogfighting to initiating an (often-scripted) minigame where your actions are often trivial or irrelevant, and attempting to engage with the game outside of CRA--when it is even possible-- reveals how half-cooked everything else is, as if the game is pushing you at every step to constantly engage in CRA.

 

As I said before, I understand Kono's reasons for wanting a major gameplay revision, wanting to enhance the 'immediacy' a player has in controlling the game. The problem was he reduced what makes Ace Combat 'fun' to the act of firing a weapon, ignoring that half (if not more) of dogfighting is the cat and mouse chase, and that can NOT be simply replicated with a minigame. AC7's development team seems to understand this, promising that one of the core pillars of AC7 is 'Freedom of Movement in 3D'.

 

How do Clouds factor into this then? It's hard to say for certain, as the actual mechanics haven't fully been revealed yet, but the biggest take away is that it adds an element of level design to aerial combat that previously hasn't existed.  They have the potentiality to break up the luftbury circles that have, for example, plagued AC Multiplayer since 6. It  could allow for tactics in what enemies to pursue and how to pursue them. This is potentially risky of course, as if the benefits of clouds are too important it will make combat overly formulaic, while too small a benefit will make them superfluous. Kono's challenge is to implement Cloud Gameplay in a way that complements a maneuver-oriented gameplay loop.

 

Kono's a bit of a punching bag in certain parts of the community, and I'll admit I disagree with many of the creative choices he's made. But I don't think he's as hapless as many people make him out to be, and I sympathize with his efforts to make the gameworld more immersive to the player, even if some of his solutions have been half-baked. I know it's premature to come to any definitive conclusions yet, but I'm in the corner of being excited for what gameplay changes 7 will bring to the series.

 


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#2
Cobalt_Wild

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Count me in the cautiously optimistic camp as well. Much as Ace Combat is a damn good series of games for the most part, its very nature as an arcade flight sim that's at least vaguely grounded in reality means that it's difficult to change up how each entry feels without resulting in disasters like Assault Horizon. That's probably one reason why the series hasn't had much competition in the genre, Namco got it right first, and no one's been able to change up the air combat formula enough to present a real threat to AC's dominance. HAWX gave it a go with that flight assist nonsense, but Ubisoft being Ubisoft, it was bungled spectacularly. Air Force Delta Strike made a somewhat better showing, but it was unpolished as fuck and had a plot and characters that made AC5, its direct competition, look sensible and well thought out.

 

With that in mind, I say it seems Kono's learned from the mistakes of Assault Horizon. Grindy bullshit and the innate downsides of a Free-to-Play model aside, Infinity's core gameplay is fairly solid and functional. Had it been a full-fledged new entry in the series with an actual campaign, I certainly believe it would have absolutely smoked Assault Horizon. But I doubt that it would have looked quite as good when put next to 6 or any of the PS2 trinity. 7's looking to set itself apart while still being recognizably an Ace Combat game, but the limits of the genre mean that any sort of innovation will have to be very carefully handled. Fortunately, 7 seems to be on a good path so far. Clouds being more than decoration is a good start, but we also have the greater focus on more sci-fi weapons like the railgun and pulse laser we've seen so far, as well as emphasis on combat versus UAVs. Should make for a notably different experience from past entries. Of course, only time will tell if it's different in a good way, but I'm willing to give it a shot. 


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#3
Grimace

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I don't have any idea, besides the weather you know rain, ice, thunderbolts or whatever what diffrence will it make? Because if we have an enemy locked on it will stay like that on the hud. What i mean it's electronics will beat the clouds.

Edited by Grimace, 19 February 2017 - 03:02 PM.

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#4
Hue

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I don't have any idea, besides the weather you know rain, ice, thunderbolts or whatever what diffrence will it make? Because if we have an enemy locked on it will stay like that on the hud. What i mean it's electronics will beat the clouds.

 

Would only make sense if the clouds were more like chaffs, but I don't think anyone at PA wants to change the story that far into development.


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#5
Grimace

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Would only make sense if the clouds were more like chaffs, but I don't think anyone at PA wants to change the story that far into development.


Chaffclouds lol.

If they just get rid of that green arrow pointing at the target when it's off-screen when you are in the clouds it would be really great and could be good a move to shake off.
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#6
Hue

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Chaffclouds lol.

 

Goddamn that actually sounds totally badass. Screw muh drones, the game should have been equally focused on the use of chaffclouds to mask aerial offensives, thus also making everyone mad because the chaffclouds pollute the air and thus make the enemy not only invaders, but also eco-terrorists. Now that would be great for a narrative.

 

hire me pa


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#7
Grimace

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Goddamn that actually sounds totally badass. Screw muh drones, the game should have been equally focused on the use of chaffclouds to mask aerial offensives, thus also making everyone mad because the chaffclouds pollute the air and thus make the enemy not only invaders, but also eco-terrorists. Now that would be great for a narrative.
 
hire me pa


Lmao.

You know planes will have flares right?
I'll be happy if they just get rid of the green arrow for what i said before.
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#8
Hue

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Lmao.

You know planes will have flares right?
I'll be happy if they just get rid of the green arrow for what i said before.

 

Why would flares be required in the first place considering the missiles will be garbage anyway? It would make sense if they were AC 3 tier or better.


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#9
Grimace

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Why would flares be required in the first place considering the missiles will be garbage anyway? It would make sense if they were AC 3 tier or better.

Why would flares be required in the first place considering the missiles will be garbage anyway? It would make sense if they were AC 3 tier or better.


Mmmmm it's really farfetched and it might work, but they won't do anything close to the chaffclouds. I rather stay low on my expectacions (just get rid of the green arrow).
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