The first thing you'll notice playing this game are the awesome graphics. The graphics engine developed for Ace Combat 4 is definitely one of the most impressive seen so far on any gaming console. The game runs always at 60fps, rendering at the same time a high number of planes and enormous environments with no pop-up or aliasing issues.
The planes are absolutely identical to their real counterparts, built with an extraordinary number of polygons, smoothly animated in their mechanical parts, boasting reflections and shadow effects that look just real.
The environments are gorgeous too. Water and weather effects, millions of colors and great textures create a continuous spectacle made of sea, mountains, glaciers, canyons, a show of such a beauty that really impressed me.
Anyhow, just like it happens in great part of flight simulators, when you approach the ground the terrain reveals its blocky nature, and becomes evident that Ace Combat 4 is a videogame, and not a movie. Also, explosions are not even close to what was shown in LucasArts' Starwars: Starfighter, where you could see the ships actually exploding in the air. In Ace Combat 4 you see the fire and then the plane disappears.
Anyhow, Ace Combat 4 remains one of the best looking games ever seen on any platform. A must see, really.
Sounds are good, but they didn't excite me like the rest of the game. Each level has its own orchestral, dramatic music. Nothing particularly original, but it works fine. Sound effects are more interesting, and they add realism to the game. Through your radio you can hear the voices of your comrades and of your opponents. You can hear them cry with joy, or scream with fear. The acting is excellent and the dialogues never get repetitive. Overall, good sounds.
To complete the game in the single player mode you'll need no more than a few days. The missions are just 18, and most of them are quite brief. Anyhow, unless you hate the genre, this is one of those titles that you could probably want to play several times, starting with the easy difficulty setting and then working your way up to the the Very Hard Mode. If you have a few friends to play with, the VS mode is another good reason to buy this game.