ACE COMBAT 7: This is a jet fighter game which allows you to pretend you are a jet fighter.
ACE COMBAT 7: This is a jet fighter game which allows you to pretend you are a jet fighter. Contributed

Strap yourself into the jetfighter cockpit

IF YOU have ever wondered if you've got the right stuff to be a jet fighter pilot, the Ace Combat series of games have been the place to be for several years now.

The latest instalment, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown has been released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the PC version due out next week.

The campaign involves a war between the confusingly similarly named countries of Osea and Erusea.

There was obviously some back story I missed, having not played any of the previous entries in the game.

The short version is they're at war and you (callsign: Trigger) are a talented rookie pilot who ends up as part of a Suicide Squad-style squadron.

There are a lot of real-life jet fighters in the game, including American, Russian and European aircraft and you can load them with a range of missiles and bombs, depending on what you're doing.

It's worth noting this isn't a hardcore simulation.

You're not in the cockpit trying to work out which button starts the engines and where the USB port is and how to read all those dials.

I have to confess I've often struggled to see the appeal of modern jet fighter games.

Because all the planes are equipped with homing missiles, it simply becomes a matter of achieving a target lock, firing your Sidewinders, and moving on to the next target.

Ace Combat 7 does a good job of bringing the enjoyment of flying jets and blowing stuff up to your living room.

But missile evasion becomes an important skill to learn if you want to stay airborne.

The ground attack missions are also fun, taking out tanks, SAM sites and fuel storage facilities.

The graphics are great, the planes handle well and it's simple enough for new players to strap into the pilot's seat and get going.

There's a variety of view modes on offer and, while the default is third person, you can select a cockpit view that provides a much more realistic experience.

PlayStation VR owners get a bonus element too, in the form of three VR missions that put you in the cockpit of the plane.

The VR missions are limited - there's only a handful and you're limited to one plane.

However, the VR effect is excellent and, frankly, I don't know why the whole game wasn't done this way as it's a lot of fun and would make for a great experience.

This isn't a purist's flight simulator.

The story is needlessly melodramatic but it's fun, there's not many games like it on the market and there's something satisfying about blasting enemy aircraft out of the sky and bombing fortifications that makes this worth a reconnaissance trip if you are in the market for an aeroplane-based action game.