Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown features a veteran fighter pilot whose full name is Mihaly Dumitru Margareta Corneliu Leopold Blanca Karol Aeon Ignatius Raphael Maria Niketas A. Shilage. That’s fabulous. It’s also got plenty of smashing dogfight action. But you know what it doesn’t have? Support for most flight sticks. That’s disappointing. However, there are now at least a few more twisty toys functional with the game, the developers have said in a Steam update. The bad news: only joysticks made by Thrustmaster have been added. They are the hardware folks who make admittedly good flight sticks and HOTAS, and who cause untold spluttering as its customers try to explain to their significant others why there is a transaction for something called the “Thrustmaster hot ass” on the bank statement this month. Well, Gareth? WELL?
You can see the list of supported sticks on the Thrustmaster website. Previously only the T. Flight Hotas 4 and T. Flight Hotas One were fully supported. Hopefully, one of yours is on the list now too. The flight sticks are deemed “plug and play” with all the controls pre-bound and unchangeable. Which is not ideal, since binding your own controls is part of the appeal of having a complicated gizmo with twenty-six buttons and a tiny plastic cover over a scary red switch. Mod bods and ini-tweakers have probably already figured out how to change those controls to use their flight sticks the way they like, but it would have been nice for the game to let you do that without the faff.
It’s a good dogfight ‘em up anyway, in case you were wondering. It’s got a gloriously ridiculous story about princesses and space elevators and giant drone motherships gone rogue. There’s lightning that hits your plane and makes your engines briefly fail and your HUD go all screwy. There is a bit where you have to explode sea platforms by flying between the narrow struts and machine gunning the “core” as if this was a Star Wars space fighter game.
And it feels grand to play on a controller, like I did for our Ace Combat 7 review. In short, it’s a blast, one of my favourite games so far this year. To be honest I’m mostly telling you about these boring flight sticks because I needed an excuse to remind you how ludicrous and enjoyable this sky-nonsense is.