Another Century's Episode 3: The Final, abbreviated as A.C.E.3, is a mecha action video game produced by Banpresto and developed by From Software. It is the sequel to the popular 2006 game Another Century's Episode 2, and the final game in the Another Century's Episode series. It was released for the Sony PlayStation 2 on September 6, 2007.
Note: Perfect Gundam, and the pilot Shiro Kyoda, is actually coming from the Gunpla-related manga "Plamo-kyo Shiro", not Mobile Suit Gundam
Excluding originals, both Overman King Gainer and Eureka Seven have never appear in any other crossover mecha-related game series (they would both appear in the following Super Robot Wars production), like Super Robot Wars. King Gainer and Shin Getter get their first appearance in an action-type game. The Falguen Custom, designed by Kunio Okawara at early-2007 in the Sunrise's official mecha-setting file, takes its first appearance in video media. Wings of Rean's storyline is present in A.C.E.3, as the ONA started airing when A.C.E.2 released, which made it impossible to include it in A.C.E.2's storyline at that time.
A.C.E.3 makes a departure in the A.C.E. franchise by including Shin Getter Robo and Overman King Gainer, both super robots, as past A.C.E. titles exclusively contained real robots (though the appearances from G Gundam in the prequels are questionable). The entire series was marketed as "Real Robot Action". Though King Gainer's mecha did not have a lot of change in their performance, the power of the Getter Machines is greatly reduced with its armor and speed weaker than relatively smaller robots as it would be extremely unfair to other series if it had as much power as in the original anime. Other than that, the game also first features units which can only jump (using boosters gauges), but are also unable to float on air continuously like other mechas, which all RX-78 types and Gatchko do.
The overarching storyline of the game involves Barrel Orland, a high school student who is caught in the middle of a Coralian attack and is rescued by Londo Bell pilot Fei Roshenande, the pilot of the two-seater mecha Exblau. Marina Carson, the heroine in A.C.E.2, also returns into battle in the middle of the game, piloting Tak Kampford's Gun Ark. The game's original characters are designed by Shigenori Soejima, the character designer for the Persona series, while the leading mecha Exblau are designed by Takayuki Yanase, who was a designer for Eureka Seven and Gundam 00. Yanase also worked with Banpresto on Super Robot Wars W. The Ark series, as well as the other original mechas are designed by Junya Ishigaki, the designer for After War Gundam X, Turn A Gundam.
A.C.E.3 is set three years after the events of A.C.E.2, between the final battle between the UCE and the Zentradi in A.C.E.2 (the antagonists of Macross), known as The First Defensive War. It also mentions that the UCE forces has been reformed into the Earth Federation forces. The game's overall plot deals with the sudden appearance of a second, war-torn Earth from which new and more deadly enemies emerge. At the same time, enemies who survived the First Defensive War begin reappearing on the original Earth, further complicating matters. The game is primarily divided between two sides with "Earth Side A" (the Earth in A.C.E.2), dealing with the stories for Endless Waltz, Char's Counterattack, Macross, Macross Plus, Dragonar, Wings of Rean and Prince of Darkness, while "Earth Side B" (the new, ruined Earth) involves the plots of Gundam X, Eureka Seven, Shin Getter Robo, and Overman King Gainer. The stories behind the remaining series (Gundam, Turn A Gundam, Gundam SEED, G Gundam, Dunbine, and Brain Powered) are not included (with the latter three's storyline get concluded in A.C.E.2), existing mainly to support the other series. Also, the storylines of Dragonar and Macross are given original treatments, as their main plots have been concluded in A.C.E.2; Endless Waltz only involves with a very brief appearance in certain route (while showing power eliminating hundreds of unit at an instant, through it cannot be seen).
The events of A.C.E.3 are mainly connected by a device called the Baldora Drive, which was originally planned as a teleportation device for outer space travel in Earth A and the invasion of the space colonies in Earth B. However, both sides abandoned the use of the Baldora Drive 18 years ago, but recently got back into service when they had the technology to repair it. Through this device, a wormhole is created in the space between the two Earths, which allows the protagonists to travel between them. However, as the wormhole expands due to the effect of the Baldora Charge (which is used to power the device) obtained from various sources of energy, it would eventually make the size of a wormhole large enough to make the two earths collide with one another, due to gravitational attraction, from which its final outcome will be the destruction of mankind. In order to stop this, heroes from sides must ally together and find a way to stop the device, before the wormhole fully expands.
The primary battleships in A.C.E.3 are the Gekko from Eureka Seven and the Nadesico B from The Prince of Darkness, with the latter eventually being replaced by the Nadesico C as per the movie's plot. Tower, the main ship from Getter Robo, is also given lots of appearance in the game. The main ship of the Londo Bell (as well as the launching ship in A.C.E.), the Ra Cailum and its captain, Bright Noa, also appears in the game, but due to the death of Hirotaka Suzuoki (the voice actor for Bright) in 2006, most of his scenes in the game are simply cut out (and his voice mainly re-uses the recorded ones in A.C.E.).
A.C.E.3 retains the combination attack system from its predecessor, inspired by Super Robot Wars. Previously, SRW only allowed "crossover" combinations when the units were from the same general universe, such as Mazinger Z and Getter Robo, or the Universal Century protagonists. A.C.E.3 differs because it allows characters from vaguely related series (such as Endless Waltz and Gundam X) or completely unrelated series (Eureka Seven and Overman King Gainer) to team up. Except of originals, First Gundam/Plamo Kyo-shiro, all titles has their combination attacks, whenever the attacks are cross-overed or not.
Some of the known Variable Ace Combinations are:
Note: Unless stated in type. Most of the cases variation of certain units of same types (usually upgraded units) are accepted, for example, most combination attacks involving Gundam X can be replaced by Gundam X divider or Gundam DX; or using Spec2 instead of Spec1 in cases of Nirvash Type ZERO (but not Spec3 as the nature of unit is completely different). This rule also applies with attacks involves Nanajin, Billbine, Valkyrie/YF types (other than Armored Valkyrie), Yuu/Nelly Brain, Falugen (MAFFU/Custom), ν Gundam, and Black Salena. However, the case does not apply with units arming with detechable large weapon devices, such as METEOR Units (Freedom Gundam and Justice Gundam) or G-Falcon (Gundam DX).
Hitomi Shimatani, who performed the opening and ending themes for the first A.C.E. game, returned to provide the themes for A.C.E.3 as well. The opening theme is named Shinku (深紅, Scarlet), and the ending theme is Ai no Uta (愛の詩, Poem of Love). The single containing both songs was released on September 5, 2007, one day before the game was released.
Banpresto and From Software released the original game, Another Century's Episode, on January 27 2005. It was re-released on November 02 2005, as part of the "The Best Series" budget collection. On March 30, 2006, Banpresto released Another Century's Episode 2. The August 2007 issue of Famitsu announced that Banpresto will release a special version of A.C.E.2, featuring the vocal theme songs of its series. This edition of A.C.E.2 is set for a November 29, 2007 release.