Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. 91
    Another one of those games that looks almost real, to the point where you can't quite peg exactly what it is that tips you off it's a videogame.
  2. A highly enjoyable, well-executed flight sim that perfectly blends the action elements found in the series' earlier games with the sort of narrative typically reserved for other genres.
  3. 89
    There is exceptionally thrilling gameplay, eye-popping graphics, a solid and plausible storyline, and an overall fun factor that will keep you coming back for more even after you’ve beaten it several times.
  4. 90
    The arcade gameplay retains the Ace Combat trademarks: tons of firepower and a simple control scheme.
  5. There’s a dramatic war story and fantastic scenary, and the trademark Ace Combat arcade gameplay is more solid than ever.
  6. Simplistic and intuitive controls are what make the game fun to play. The analog controls are dead on, and very precise.
  7. That the plot is furthered only periodically, rather than religiously at the end of each mission, highlights Namco’s tempered hand, ensuring that it’s the gameplay which remains firmly at centre stage.
  8. Controls are practically perfect, plane selection is extensive, and the whole package is exceptionally polished. [Dec 2001, p.160]
  9. Although some graphical elements are not what they should be, others look amazing. In addition, there are eighteen different jets with assorted armaments available, and they all handle well.
  10. If you like games that tell stories, this is one of the best yet for the PS2. It’s shocking that it’s also one of the best shooting / action games as well.
  11. 88
    This is probably as close as a game is going to get to realistically portray what it’s like to get behind the helm of a fighter jet and waging battle in the air. Even though the game is over a year old and at a measly $20.00, Ace Combat 4 is a must have for the Playstation 2.
  12. 100
    Without a doubt the best flight sim available for a next-gen system. Ace Combat 04 shatters the competition.
  13. If you are looking for a topnotch flier, you can call off the search. This one is a must-have for any PS2 owner.
  14. The game seems to hearken back to the successes of "Ace Combat 2" by adding fair doses of realism with a good amount of action and intensity. The game's biggest fault lies in its brevity, as it ends much too soon.
  15. 100
    Offers a heady, elating sense of flight, adrenaline-charged combat, perfect controls, and breathtaking visuals that will humble titles played even on the mightiest PCs.
  16. This game is so beautiful and addictive that I fear the quality of the writing in this review has greatly suffered, since I find it difficult to concentrate as the game beckons to me even now.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 77 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38
  1. Feb 15, 2013
    It's been 10 years since I got this game. Yet every year since, I always find time to play this game. Sure, I play games like Battlefield and Call of Duty today, but this game will always be hold a special place in my gaming library. Graphics were stunning in its time, almost on par with MGS2 (released in the same year). And gameplay, it defines fun. Of course, when you play it for too long, it gets boring (like any other game). But after a couple days (or maybe hours), when you pop it in again, it feels like a new game. If you still have a PS2, or a PS3 that plays PS2 games, go find this game. You won't regret it. Should it be released on the PS Store, buy it. If they ever release an HD remake, buy it. Full Review »
  2. Jul 2, 2012
    The gameplay lacks, there are simply too many missions where the objective is "score x amount of points in y amount of time". It gets a bit tedious, however thankfully this is not every mission and some inspired missions are added in like one based on D Day, the gameplay is very much in touch with the arcade roots and some of the planes are a bit too roller coastery at times. The somewhat lacking mission variety is balanced out by the amazing storytelling and fun missions thrown in, The story is told only in pictures paired with dialogue and missions. The slideshows really show how simple a concept paired with good voice acting and exceptional writing can make a great story, you don't need animations and cutscenes. The main character, Yellow 13, has depth and you really get a feel for who he is by the time you fight him in the final mission. It also sets up the stage of the war and the town, having the feeling of an occupied town during WW2. Seeing the characters on the ground in cutscenes gives the locations life, to the point where while flying overhead you really feel as though you're affecting the local population. The final mission isn't anything too complicated, but it's built up so much by in game dialogue that it still feels as though you're at the climax of the war. Less melodramatic chatter compared to 5 really gives it a more mature feel. Flawless story paired with some good gameplay Full Review »
  3. Feb 13, 2012
    The graphics aren't the best. That's inevitable. But as long as you don't crave the absolute best graphics, this is a phenomenal game. The missions are engaging and aren't different versions of the same goal over and over again. But what really never seizes to amaze me is the incredible story-line. It gives a great look at what war is really like. It gives an inside look at the civilians in towns that have been victimized by wars. It shows that the enemy in war thinks the exact same thing of us as we think of them. They think we're the trigger-happy murderers. They aren't bad people in many cases. They are simply people who have views, opinions, and actions that conflict with us, and so we respond with violence. Of course, there are people like Bin Laden and Hitler who really are horrible people, but in this game, that's not the case. What also makes it unique is that it doesn't take the violence lightly. It doesn't make it seem fun to kill all the time, like C.O.D. and Battlefield do. It shows how war breaks hearts, kills innocent civilians, and we aren't necessarily the good guys. For example, the cut scene in which they say that Yellow-13's pride doesn't come from his kill record, but from his record of never losing a squadron member, shows that the enemy isn't a gun-toting demon. Full Review »