It is late and I am falling asleep but just wanted to get some words out about this.
Ace Combat 3’s international release was lacking. A lot. A large chunk of missions, it’s entire narrative, and the majority of what made it anything was stripped out. Another sad localization story.
A few days ago, the (mostly) finished fan translation of the Japanese release took to the skies. You can find it here: https://projectnemo.net/
Ace Combat 3, in its uncut form, is delightful. If you liked the PS2 games, then you will probably appreciate it as a link between the series’ arcade roots and the overwrought “Strange-real” melodrama it became famous for. If you like late '90s-era anime bullshit in your video games, then buckle the fuck up because talking heads are ready to call you over hyper-cyberspace with hot takes on the socio-economic impact your last mission had on the corporation-nation you’re fighting in. If you like PS1 aesthetic, then oh boy, are you going to love some of the spiffy bullshit Namco pulled off in this jam.
I use the word “ambitious” multiple times down there because that’s what this is: a really ambitious project. Branching mission paths, aggressive world-building/lore, Production I.G. cutscenes and character design, sublime and emotive techno soundtrack - all to prop up what is essentially a 3D time attack shmup.
There is a single space mission with unique zero-gravity physics that lasts for three minutes that is barely even acknowledged by a single person in the story.
I love Ace Combat. And 7 is right around the corner, too.