AC8 stays with the Ace Combat Infinity controls and gameplay (Fuel system is deleted). For the first time in the AC series, the players can control 5 different pilots through the game. The online mission system is not included and returns to the old mission system (Air Combat - Ace Combat 6) to keep the storyline through the game. The post-mission scoring system from the previous game is replaced by a letter-based ranking mechanic, which ranges from "D" to "A". Such ranks are determined by the outcome of the mission, including remaining time and total score. D ranks are unique in that they require the player to fail the mission objective, as indicated by a "Mission Over" message, but do not demand a successful replay to continue.
Like in Ace Combat 3 (and later titles), a greater focus is placed on the plot of the game, which uses anime-style cutscenes in combination with radio chatter by allies and enemies as a narrative medium. Wingmen cannot be chosen at will to accompany the player, but certain characters will accompany the player depending on the mission. Like in Ace Combat 3, the game has missions set in outer space (4 missions).
World's plot: The game takes place in the future (February, 2039 - May, 2040) of the Earth. New governments, new weapon technology and international political conflicts made the world fall to a huge crisis. January 15, 2039, after developing new technologies the Russian Federation launched a global offensive to increase the power and world control, starting with the re-unification of the USSR. The U.N. tries to stop the New USSR through dialogues and warnings, but the crisis gets higher. January 28, 2039, territorial disputes on the entire world sparked tensions between the soviets and U.N..
Meanwhile, in West Europe. Erika Müller, a 23 years old German and Alesya Kuznetsova, a 22 years old Russian, were living their days normally together. But not everything will be calm due the current situation. Alesya travels to Russia to know how the things are going.
6 days later, after a Soviet nuclear attack on Australia, the 3rd World War started.
Alesya tries to run away from the USSR, but she's captured and forced to serve for the VVS (Russian Air Force). Nothing else was known about her...
The war against the new USSR. In this mode you will control 5 different characters:
- Erika Müller
- Desmond Edwards
- Misaki Ayano
- Bastian Cardenas
- Alesya Kuznetsova (as USSR & U.N.)
Free Mission/Free Flight
This mode can be unlocked after beating the game. The player can choose any mission in any difficulty.
In this mode you can play as the U.N. or the USSR. Choose a character and play with your friends in online battles.
Multiplayer (Dual-screen): Choose a character play with teams or 1vs1.
|progress of the character's design||
- General Ross Keegan : General of the U.N. Forces during the 3rd World War.
- Dmitri Leoniv : USSR Ace. Leader of the Soviet Revolution.
- Unit 57 : Female pilot, member of the U.N. Defense Force
- not yet....
- Mission 1 - Awakening in hell - : The USSR begins a territorial invasion through Europe. Their first objective, an air raid over Budapest... As an emergency call, U.N. sends an aerial defense group to stop the raid. In this mission you'll learn the basics of flight and dogfighting (basic controls).
You play as: Erika Müller
As a training mission, you start the game flying the EF-2000.
Historic battles/missions mode
This mode has 12 missions:
- Mission 1: May, 1917 - 1st World War - RAF
- Mission 2: July, 1940 - Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe
- Mission 3: December, 1941 - Attack on Pearl Harbor - JASDF
- Mission 4: August, 1944 - Road to Paris - RAF
- Mission 5: March, 1964 - Vietnam War - USAF
- Mission 6: September, 1973 - Chilean coup d'état - FACH (Armed Forces)
- Mission 7: October, 1990 - Gulf War - USAF
- Mission 8: September, 2015 - Attack against ISIS - VVS
- Mission 9*: June, 2019 - Attack to the rebel forces - RAF
- Mission 10*: August, 2023 - Battle of the north - FACH
- Mission 11*: November, 2028 - Attempt of coup d'état - Luftwaffe
- Mission 12*: February, 2039 - The beginning... - VVS