Generally favorable reviews - based on 45 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
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  1. The amount of intricate detail found on the planes is astounding, as the developers obviously put a lot of time and effort into making the aircraft as realistic as possible.
  2. Heavy on action and ramping the difficulty to new heights, Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War is one of the best flight combat games you can play on the PS2.
  3. A fans dream and an excellent place for newcomers to enter. The best of AC 4 & AC 5 have been melded to make what feels like the best iteration of the series yet. [JPN Import]
  4. 88
    The Belkan War doesn’t change the formula established by its predecessors. It does, however, add yet another layer of polish and refinement to a series that’s near perfect at what it sets out to do.
  5. Game Informer
    The seemingly complicated flight sim-like elements scared me away from this game for a long time, but once you give it a shot, you'd be surprised how accessible and fun it can be. [May 2006, p.102]
  6. 85
    The story is engaging and well-presented although its themes are a bit overused.
  7. The storyline is maudlin at times, but it is told in better fashion than most games.
  8. Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War is a game that any player at any skill level can get the hang of in a few minutes, but be warned that the last part of each mission is a killer - literally.
  9. The game is also disappointingly a little on the short side, and a dedicated player could probably blast through the game’s missions (of which there are less than 20) in a good day of playing – it’s primarily in the unlockables and different avenues of play which give the game any semblance of staying power.
  10. It's got a few noticeable errors, especially when it comes to repetitive gampelay, no drastic enhancements, and erratic enemy AI. But it's extraordinarily pretty, the controls are nearly flawless and quite accessible, and the fun factor remains high throughout.
  11. Games Master UK
    Multi-player adds afterburners to this pretty, nifty, slick acrobatic shooter. Good stuff. [Oct 2006, p.66]
  12. The varied missions, near photo realistic visuals, real world planes, and live action cut scenes have been mixed to produce a thoroughly enjoyable combat game, and the addition of aces, these skilled NPCs that can take forever to destroy, and a two player mode, only add to the product's rain slick sheen.
  13. The live-action cinemas that narrate the game's passable storyline are a cheesy, unnecessary addition, but the truth remains that for modern-era aerial action, there's no substitute for Ace Combat.
  14. 80
    Ace Combat Zero is, without a doubt, the most fun I've ever had with a flight simulator, and it's the best one in the series yet.
  15. Except for a few subtle-but-effective additions, Ace Combat Zero doesn’t do much else but marginally evolve the series from its last effort, and in the end that leads to a familiar feeling of “been there, done that” more often than not.
  16. PSM Magazine
    Still, even though the coating is a little stale and the mechanics at work are slightly overused, The Belkan War soars above other air combat titles, PS2 or otherwise. [Jun 2006, p.79]
  17. The Ace Combat games nail the rush of pulling g's and kicking on afterburners, that much will never change. But then, little else has changed too, and without an online component, it feels a bit too much like an expansion.
  18. 80
    The Belkin War lives up to the entertainment legacy of the Ace Combat series by subtracting much of what didn't work and adding valuable new elements.
  19. Even without online support, this is a supremely enjoyable game and despite being the fifth Ace Combat sequel to arrive on PS2, it still feels refreshingly different in a release schedule crammed with racing, fighting and shooting clones.
  20. AceGamez
    Except for a few subtle-but-effective additions, Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War doesn't do much else but marginally evolve the series from its last effort, and in the end that leads to a familiar feeling of 'been there, done that'.
  21. Official Playstation 2 Magazine UK
    A cracking surprise, The Belkan War is hardcore plane porn tuned for maximum thrills and money shots. [Oct 2006, p.90]
  22. Play UK
    It's fun flying about and pressing the missile button when the target gets red. It's just it's not so fun when missions take up to half an hour on the later stages; it really does get a bit repetitive after a while. [Issue 144, p.76]
  23. Ace Combat Zero may not do anything particularly different or better than its predecessors, but it still delivers some excellent dogfighting and a good story tying it all together.
  24. Pelit (Finland)
    A decent flight shoot 'em up that tries hard to look like a simulator. The flying is too easy for its own good and the enemy AI is too repetitive. More sci-fi missions would not have hurt, either. [Sept 2006]
  25. Surviving one of these encounters is extremely satisfying — if only this game let you buzz the tower in celebration.
  26. The game is engaging, fun, and even offers a two player versus mode to provide for a bit of longevity.
  27. PSM2 Magazine UK
    It's neither broken nor particularly bad overall, but it seems somewhat confused as to exactly which aspects of gameplay need work and which don't. [July 2006, p.78]
  28. netjak
    What a horrible, horrible waste. The game had it all. Slick presentation, a decent, yet completely predictable story, fun gameplay, and even branching to add levels of replayability. And then someone cast that all aside because of their stupid need to have their own version of the final trench run mission, combined with the fact that they have no idea how to create a good boss.
  29. 70
    Pretty much what you'd expect from another sequel. No more, no less.
  30. 70
    Taken as an afternoon sitting with an old friend reminiscing about the good old days, it works. But that's where it ends. The PS2 chapter of Ace Combat has closed.
  31. 70
    It's by no means a terrible game, but it simply isn't any better than its older brethren.
  32. Namco improves upon their possibly last current-gen flight-sim with multiplayer support, but fails to add anything new to the formula.
  33. Suffers slightly due to its similarities to previous games in the series, but the package is as slick as ever.
  34. Five years is a long time for things to essentially stay the same, no matter how enjoyable they may have been in the first place.
  35. 70
    You have an accomplished, if a little generic, arcade aerial fighter that will please those already in love with the franchise. Equally here's a game that doesn't move the genre forward or in anyway justify the full price tag when you can buy Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War for cheaper - essentially what you get is a new narrative.
  36. Play Magazine
    It's not that it's's just not as good as the last few games in the series. [May 2006, p.52]
  37. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    In spite of the lackluster design, Zero is, if nothing else, another addition to the barren landscape of flight games on the PS2. [Jun 2006, p.95]
  38. There's simply nothing here that leaps out as being interesting, innovative, original or inspired. It's solid, entertaining, and for anyone with an interest in arcade flight combat, will while away quite a few hours some damp weekend - after which time it will be consigned to the corner of your games shelf and forgotten within a matter of weeks.
  39. games(TM)
    As good as The Belkan War is, it’s nothing but more of the same. [Oct 2006, p.125]
  40. A solid and entertaining game with exciting dogfighting action and many planes, but offers very minor changes to its predecessors.
  41. 60
    Not terrible, just an extremely pedestrian air shooter that makes no clear effort to distinguish itself as a game (or series) worth getting into. The very genre suffers from uninspired and unambitious titles such as this.
  42. The sensation of speed and power is immense and the graphics are as good as anything the PS2 has produced so far. The problem with Ace Combat 6, then, is simply that it does nothing new.
  43. When you’re on the fifth one in the series and it doesn’t play all that different to the first one, it’s probably time to stop. That’s not to say that Ace Combat Zero is a bad game, it’s just that you’ve seen it all before, done it all before, and got the t-shirt.
  44. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    The always-excellent controls and wide assortment of different planes are fairly entertaining, but Zero's a huge step down from either of the last two games. [Jun 2006, p.113]
  45. Edge Magazine
    Namco’s design process seems so addled by the multiform calls for improvement – the aforementioned mission design, multiplayer modes (which remain entirely offline), storylines and sheer content volume all trailing expectations – that it’s momentarily lost its focus. [July 2006, p.88]

Awards & Rankings

#23 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2006
#18 Most Shared PS2 Game of 2006
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 79 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 79
  2. Negative: 2 out of 79
  1. Jul 2, 2012
    More replay value than 5 and better mission design in terms of playing it again, Zero does a hands down amazing job at adding in enemyMore replay value than 5 and better mission design in terms of playing it again, Zero does a hands down amazing job at adding in enemy squadrons and really makes them feel personal, adding in enemy squadrons and bios for named aces really gives you the feeling of fighting an actual war against actual people, not just computer controlled pilots. However the acting seems just a tad odd, I can't quite put my finger on it, other than that they do a good job of giving each squad a theme. The game tries to really model a real war, and does a good job. You end up bombing civilians and Pixy constantly acts as the voice of reason towards PJ, the stereotypical peace fighter with no complexity or depth. The gameplay is standard, nothing really too new other than the change of the plane roster to(for some reason) remove a lot of planes from 5 and add in a few new ones, this is remedied by more special weapons and paint schemes. wingmen customization is also slightly removed by not allowing plane choice, yet also adds in the ability to specify for your wingman to only attack ground or air targets. Difficulty is nice, with the final squad mission being the highlight of the game for me, the final battle is pretty eh, and a death of a close character is added in very randomly and really feels useless and anti climactic. Soundtrack is simply amazing as expected, with a nice mix of genres that stays fresh. Overall the game does a good job of setting up a real war, but it really just doesn't do it 100% justice, meanwhile gameplay is improved in certain aspects and hurt in other places, it's odd that ACES forgot what they excelled in in their past installments, yet found new things to improve this time around to balance Full Review »
  2. May 18, 2017
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This review will be long, just for the sake of people interested in the game.

    The sixth entry in the whole franchise. This game takes you into the seat of a mercenary known as Cipher, and the game narrates of his efforts during the Belkan War, giving you an in-depth prequel that explains the events that were mentioned in Ace Combat 5. The game itself doesn't change much from the rest, as the mechanics are basically from AC5, which is a bit of a let down. That, and the fact that you can't choose your wingman's plane, anymore, but instead, you choose his special weapons, which is more useful, to a point.

    What the game doesn't have in new mechanics, it has in story and difficulty to spare. You don't have a tutorial mode, which is also a minus on its score, so it requires you to either have played previous AC games, or learn the controls by yourself. But when you master the controls and increase the difficulty up to ACE, the game rewards you. A lot. It presents a difficulty leap from the previous entries, which you'll either love or hate. The average Belkan planes are quite aggressive on their own, and the Ace squadrons only make it more challenging. And when you unlock the bonus mission, you'll understand that this game is not for the weak. Even more when you discover the secret boss.

    The story it's more than a simply "good vs bad", cliched trope that was previously used in AC5. In Zero, you manage to see the reasons of why Belka started the war, and why the Gray Men returned in AC5. The references in this game are a bit more implicit, excluding the WWII ones, and you'll probably have to replay the game several times to understand them, and do some subtle research on your own. The story on its own its quite engaging, and it becomes more mature and grayer than the plots used in the previous two games. And it gives you a huge leap in character building, giving you the records of almost 200 enemy aces, whose stories are seen in the Assault Records, which are updated every time you down an enemy ace.

    The soundtrack is nothing less than superb. More energetic and aggressive than AC5, which had orchestral and more refined tone, fitting for the story setting. The briefings have this 80 's synth bits that also fit the era, reminiscent to the Cold War era, The orchestral tracks are ominous and imposing, and the rock segments are quite really heavy, imitating what AC2 did back in its era, and the final mission has one of the best boss battle themes ever composed.

    Overall, this game is one of the best in the whole franchise. Zero, along with 5 and 4, has its place well deserved in what we AC fans call the "Holy Trinity" tier. It has its flaws. The lack of tutorial, not any particular new mechanic, short gameplay, as it only has 18 missions plus the bonus one, some tedious missions, and minor frame drops in a certain one. That being said, this game is truly a good recommendation.
    Full Review »
  3. May 13, 2014
    Another awesome game in the underrated Ace Combat series. The game serves as a prequel to Ace Combat 5 (15 years prior). You play as a pilotAnother awesome game in the underrated Ace Combat series. The game serves as a prequel to Ace Combat 5 (15 years prior). You play as a pilot only known as "Cipher", flying with his wingman "Solo Wing Pixy". The two mercenaries are hired to defend the nation of Ustio. The story is very good, although it could be developed more. If the campaign was as long as AC5, then we might have a powerful story. However, if you're really good, you can easily finish the campaign in 4 hours. But replayability is what keeps the game alive. There are branching paths. Depending on the amount of neutral targets you destroy or spare, there are certain aircraft you unlock and different enemies you face. Find this game, and play the crap out of it. And help us Ace Combat fans in convincing Namco Bandai to release an HD remake of 4,5 and Zero. Full Review »