For some, a huge part of the appeal for Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is its additional PlayStation VR mode. Much has been made of the VR content in Bandai Namco's aerial arcade action title, as the idea of dogfighting among the clouds sat in the virtual cockpit is a perfect fit. Luckily, Project Aces hasn't hastily slapped something together to placate PSVR owners -- the mode offers an impressive new perspective on the series' breakneck in-air gameplay.
An enforced first person view keeps you firmly in the boots of the ace pilot, Mobius 1, in a short series of missions that take place several years before the events of the regular campaign. There are three missions to play in PSVR, all of which are a little less complex than some of the main game's tougher sorties. However, you'll appreciate the slightly lower difficulty, as piloting a fighter jet in virtual reality is a very intense experience, regardless of enemy threats.
Controlling your aircraft is identical to how it all works in the base game, meaning those familiar with Ace Combat's flying should feel right at home. The effect VR has on the experience, though, is potentially overwhelming. When you're trying to pin down an enemy fighter, pitching and rolling all over the place, there's a possibility it'll cause some lightheadedness, as though you're actually feeling the effects of high g-force. Not everyone will be affected in this way, of course, but it's worth bearing in mind if you're prone to motion sickness.
The good news is that some of the UI moves with you, providing you a point for your eyes to focus on. The radar normally affixed in the bottom left corner, however, now resides physically in the cockpit, meaning you'll need to glance down to get your bearings. The same goes for information regarding ammo and damage to your plane; it's made part of your aircraft, enhancing the feeling that you're really flying a supersonic jet. It's all been handled very smartly, and in some ways, you'll feel like a better pilot in VR because you can look all around you and out of the canopy to better locate your targets.
Once you've completed the trio of missions, you'll unlock a couple of other modes of play in PSVR. Free Flight is a feature also found in the regular game in which you can fly in any of the three maps with no restrictions or enemies to worry about. The final mode is called Air Show, which places you aboard an aircraft carrier watching planes pulling off air stunts. You can pick and choose what you want to see as well as your position. It's a nice addition that's a welcome change of pace after the high octane missions.
The only real downside to Ace Combat 7's VR component is that there isn't more of it. There's nothing stopping you playing through those three missions again, of course, but you'll probably be left feeling a little disappointed there weren't a few extra sorties to tackle. What is here is of a very high quality, make no mistake, and it certainly fulfills that fantasy of being an ace pilot. We hope this isn't the last we see of Ace Combat in PSVR, though, as this short but sweet experience proves it's a match made in heaven.