Did this game's voiceovers really start with "Um..."? Talk about informal.
First four missions of Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception on the PSP are easy, easy. I've got difficulty set to "Normal" and I'm cruising through. If it doesn't actually get difficult, I may have to play through on a higher setting just to get see what the creators change to make the game challenging.
First mission is pretty ho-hum: defend the base. You've got a set of enemy bombers to stop, and if I understood correctly, the bombers decide to bomb a civilian target on their way to their intended target, your base. Pretty nasty. I can't tell if I could have stopped the bombing of the civilians by being faster or whether it was simply destined to happen.
Second mission has you playing offense, attacking a supply base for the enemy. Lots of stationary ground targets, and no surprises.
Third mission has you destroying ships coming into a port. The voiceover during the briefing is hilariously badly dubbed. The targets are all "landing ships" but apparently something changed after the briefing was recorded and they pasted in the same voice actor saying "landing ships" where there used to be some other word. I think I could have done a better job of splicing the audio. Regardless, the ships never got close to the port, and I cruised to another victory.
Fourth mission presents a branching path. There are three stops possible along the way to a fourth main waypoint in the mission structure. From what I can tell, you can choose to do one, two, or three of the interim missions, although some of the path may depend on which mission you do first. I chose to keep enemy land forces from entering tunnels leading to the port I'd just defended from a sea attack. Almost no challenge here, and I'd bought a new plane with special air-to-ground weaponry that made it almost like point-and-click warfare.
Once again, as in Ace Combat 04, we have parallel storylines. There is a reporter writing about the war and the fighter pilot you play (who also happens to be written about by the reporter). There is some string music reminiscent of Ace Combat 04 as well, although not as good. The hand-drawn art during the cut scenes also reminds me of Ace Combat 04.
Like all Ace Combat games, the "war is bad" message is hammered time and time again.