Rewriting the article since i think the article was a pile of mess when i wrote this back in 2010 and feels that the game needs better treatment that it deserved. In any case i always held Another Century Episode 3 with high regard as it was the game that opened my eyes to mecha series other than Gundam before i get serious with SRW. As of now i have played my 3rd Playthrough on the game and unlocked most of the units already. I will be highlighting the best things that come out from this game in this article.
At its core Another Century Episode series was always about 3D Crossover Mecha game featuring plenty of mecha series mostly from Real Robot Stereotype. ACE 3 wraps up the presence of the series on PS2 platform with a big bang, boasting the largest amount of mecha series included in its rosters, more fluid gameplay and tag-team combos and inclusion of Vocal songs for the series in the game. It was the popularity of the ACE 3 that FROM Software decided to re-release ACE 2 with the Vocal pack as well.
To this day i still find ACE series have the best control for Macross units simply for being really fluid gameplay for the Valkyries. ACE 3 no doubt is the best one since it got both Macross Plus and DYRL units in the roster. The Valkyries in my opinion are some of the best units in the game since they are really good at Hit&Run tactics and capable of taking down multiple enemies in a single volley not to mention that they got really cool team attack as well.
|Three Ship Alliance|
The main premise of ACE 3 storyline is mainly about Dimension hopping between two worlds and the effort between the mecha pilots of the two world to prevent the world merging together resulting in possible catastrophe. Since ACE 3 was developed around the same time with SRW Z it shares some of its theme which are incorporated into the storyline. While ACE 3 features the largest amount of series included in its roster, most of the storylines from these series are unused due to possible bloating. ACE 3 mostly use the plot from Eureka 7, Gundam X, Overman King Gainer, Nadesico: Prince of Darkness and Shin Getter series and the character interactions are surprisingly cohesive.
Personally i find some of the best character interaction in the ACE 3 are done by the three youths from Eureka 7, King Gainer and Gundam X as they share quite close relationships just like them in SRW Z. Being in their springtime of youth and their romance relationships with their partner just make an adorable sight to see. In ACE 3 there is one stage where these three youths declare their love on their love interest bashfully to weaken the opponent which is really a sight to see.
|The Red Comet is back!|
ACE 3 also comes along with Char's Counterattack plot conveniently. While Nu Gundam had appeared back in ACE 2, Char only make his appearance in this game. CCA doesn't have much screentime in ACE 3 but Axis drop always make a convenient climax part even for no good reason. While it is nowhere close to Alpha 2, CCA in ACE 3 comes with the ACE team pushing away the Axis from earth which is not too shabby i guess.
ACE 3 does play some sort of continuity where some of the previous casts ACE 2 returned to the game playing some minor role. Marina returned to this game with Tak's Gunark which is somewhat weaker as it lost some of firepower and the devastating Guardian system.
For the ACE 3 Original, FROM definitely put more effort than ACE 2 where the original characters play more role in the game. The main protagonist is Barrel Orland, your average (possibly Beta) High School Kid until some Coralians from Eureka 7 popped up in his town and he was saved by a female Earth Federation Soldier named Fey Roshnante who's quite a cutie and pilot a delicious mecha called Exbrau from that point on.
Soon after, Barrel and Fey encounters a mysterious pilot named Berkt piloting a customized Black colored Gunark called BloodArk trying to do something sinister by hijacking device called Baldnar Drive. I think the story of ACE 3 pretty much about the ACE team chasing down Berkt as he tried to merge 2 worlds with the device while at the same time goading different antagonists for his agenda. For some reason Berkt really despise Barrel and they have the same look for some reason even though they are different individual. By the way ACE 3 original characters are all designed by Shigenori Soejima so you probably noticed some similarities of the character design with the Persona 3 and 4.
I guess one of the reason why i get back into ACE 3 series was Exbrau, the original protagonist mecha. While not the most original mecha i still consider Exbrau to be one of the better Takayuki Yanase design who designed some of the Gundam 00 mechas and now doing Kotobukiya's Frame Arms. Exbrau possessed multiple forms for different combat purposes like Strike Gundam and its equivalent. Compared to other units in the game, Exbrau is rather mediocre unit and unfortunately not all of its variants are usable due to the game mechanics but still the G Form variant are pretty good. Probably at some point i will write a mechatalk article for Exbrau
ACE 3 is probably the best entry of the whole ACE series as it culminates the achievements from previous games then vastly improve them. It is one of the better mecha games in PS2 and definitely the best one when it comes to crossover mecha action game. It is a shame that ACE:R ruined executive meddling while ACE Portable is playable even though slightly bare-bones. I still hope one day we will get some good mecha action game worthy to be ACE 3's successor whether it is an ACE title or another crossover mecha game.