I've played the game on PS2 first to figure out its quirks and things. The only tips I found were online sources like IGN and GameSpot, but they didn't tell the story, so I figured out more of it on my own for a good long time. However, I was wondering if there was more to the game that I can't find???
Buying this tip book is definitely worth it. I discover a few things I didn't know about the planes, weaponry, and bonuses, like unlocking the X-02 or the Falken (especially if you've played in "Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan Conflict" after defeating Pixy), or the Grand Falcon medal for destroying all enemy aces (the named aircraft when you play on NORMAL level or above).
There's just one area where it comes up short: The Arcade Game. If you select "Arcade" from the main menu, it takes you to a special arcade game where you're Mobius 1 (Ace Combat 4) saving the world against "Free Erusea." You only have two planes to fight with -- F-5E Tiger II and F/A-22A Raptor -- and they're both intro/unexperienced level. You may be able to unlock a color change or two after beating the game the first time through. What the guide DOESN'T tell you is whether or not you can earn more planes or play with a different plane. The guide claims that, after you cleared all four routes, you can do so, but this didn't work at all for me. I discovered the following trick the hard way:
- Go into "Campaign" and load the latest version of your saved game data.
- Once it loads successfully, then tap Triangle to back up to the main menu (Campaign, Arcade, Options are displayed).
- Go into "Arcade." If you have any saved data here, then load it and start the game. If not, then you can still start the game.
- When the game allows you to change your plane from the Raptor (default) (after all the narration is over), you should have available the same planes at the same levels during the Campaign mode. For example, if you have unlocked the YF-23 Black Widow II during the Campaign mode and saved it, then you'll be able to play it here in the Arcade mode.
* I also discovered that the machine gun and fast flight are your best friends. What the guide also doesn't warn you about is that it's a timed game and, you're limited on ordnance. The more enemies you destroy, the more time you gain to finish each level. Also, be on the lookout for aircraft with the "TGT" label attached; these are your resupply bonuses should you run low on ammo (they're also worth big points). The more points you score and the more time you accumulate, the higher your score and the greater your level at the end of the mission. [The level starts at "E" and goes up to "SSS".].
Between the guide and the above tips, you'll earn your way as an Ace Combat 5 expert. The only low point, though, is the lack of guidance on the Arcade mode. However, it's still worth owning.