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Ace Combat Infinity preview: free-to-play done right

Perhaps the most impressive of Namco Bandai's upcoming free-to-play efforts is Ace Combat Infinity for PS3.


Perhaps the most impressive of Namco Bandai's upcoming free-to-play efforts is Ace Combat Infinity. It certainly doesn't hurt that Project Aces' PS3 game is absolutely gorgeous. Utilizing the latest version of their engine, it looks absolutely phenomenal. However, it also looks to offer a fully-featured campaign, with a free-to-play model that doesn't appear to be intrusive at all.

At first glance, it would be impossible to know that Infinity is a free-to-play game. Like every Ace Combat game before it, you select between Standard or Expert controls, and then go after a number of objectives. In the TGS demo, we had to take down some anti-aircraft turrets, while engaging in a dogfight. You'll be able to team up with three other players in online co-op--and there will be a competitive element as well, with Alpha and Bravo teams competing to take down more NPCs, for example.

As you progress through the game, you'll begin unlocking vehicles and special parts via an unlock tree. For example, you'll be able to work towards unlocking American crafts, or Russian fighters. As you customize the parts and emblems on your aircraft, you'll be able to save them as presets to use easily before missions.

Of course, a free-to-play game with deep customization options should make it pretty obvious exactly how Namco Bandai plans on monetizing the game. You'll be able to buy boosters to unlock things faster, and "pay for fancy" special items. There will be 15 planes available at launch, with more than 30 planned over future updates.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

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