Project Wingman – A Beginner’s Guide To Conquest Mode

Project Wingman’s Conquest Mode adds something new to the arcade-style action flight games popularized by Ace Combat. Basically a rogue-lite game mode, Conquest gives the player a single life to defeat escalating waves of combatants in order to reconquer all of Cascadia, and it’s pretty much just as hard as it sounds.

Along with Mercenary difficulty in the main campaign, Conquest Mode is considered Project Wingman’s endgame. Only the best pilots can even hope to complete all 43 missions in a single life, and even then, they’ll probably need some strategy to go along with pure skill.

That’s where this guide comes in. We’re going to give you the info you’ll need to take yourself as far as your reflexes can, and if that’s not far enough, well, you can always just buy the PW-Mk1.

Conquest Mode Basics

But first, let’s go over the basics. Conquest Mode is available right from the start if you don’t care about the main story, but you really should play through the campaign at least once in order to avoid spoilers. Just like the campaign, you can choose between Easy, Normal, Hard, and Mercenary difficulties, but unlike the campaign, choosing a higher difficulty results in greater payouts of Prestige and Credits at the end of each mission.

The objective of Conquest Mode is to complete 43 missions in a single life. Each completed mission will result in your air force “conquering” a section of Cascadia, and each mission will reward you with Credits and Prestige. Credits can be used to purchase additional friendly units in the Hiring Den, while Prestige allows you to purchase bigger and better aircraft.

You’ll start Conquest Mode with only the trainer aircraft unlocked. As you gain Prestige, you’ll be able to purchase more capable craft that might have a hope in hell of taking you all 43 missions. When you die, you lose everything except your Prestige points and whatever aircraft you’ve unlocked.

With enough playthroughs, you’ll eventually be able to unlock every plane in Project Wingman, but there are a few aircraft that are perhaps a bit more worth your time than others. More on those later.

The Hiring Den

Besides your personal hangar where you purchase new planes for Prestige, the Hiring Den lets you purchase allied units to fight by your side. These units can include other planes of various quality all the way up to allied airships.

Even if you manage to get far enough into Conquest Mode to acquire your own personal air force, none of these units will complete a mission’s objectives for you, so don’t think you can rely on your friends to take down an incoming enemy squadron. Your friendlies will take some of the heat off as Conquest throws swarms of fighters after you and they’ll pick up a kill here and there, but that’s about it.

Still, you should spend your money as you get it. Airships seem to be the best bang for your buck in terms of distracting enemy fighters, while allied aces are pretty good at taking out the occasional ground target and straggling bomber.

In general, I recommend prioritizing airships and their upgrades as much as possible. If you don’t have enough Cordium for airship upgrades, allied Aces are your next best bet. But don’t sit on your cash forever! Even the early missions can benefit from having a few fighters in your wing to distract opposing squadrons and let you slip in to nail your targets.

You can purchase six planes each of the Rookie, Competent, and Mercenary Pilots, three of the Frontline and Infamous Aces, and two War Heroes. Each one you buy makes the next one more expensive, so you’ll likely wind up spreading your purchases out throughout each Conquest playthrough. The prices are listed below.

Fighter Wing Contingent

Rookie Pilot (Talon Wing)

  • Aircraft: F/E-4
  • Costs: $2000, $3500, $5000, $6500, $8000, $9500

Competent Pilot (Eclipse Wing)

  • Aircraft: F/C-15
  • Costs: $4000, $6500, $9000, $11500, $14000, $16500

Mercenary Pilot (Cleaner Wing)

  • Aircraft: SK.27
  • Costs: $8000, $11000, $14000, $17000, $20000, $23000

Frontline Ace (Rift Wing)

  • Aircraft: F/C-16
  • Costs: $10000, $13500, $17000

Infamous Ace (Beaker Wing)

  • Aircraft: F/S-15
  • Costs: $15000, $19500, $24000

War Hero (Inferno Wing)

  • Aircraft: SK.37
  • Costs: $20000, $25500

Airship Contingent

Anura MK.I

  • Armaments: 2x AA, 2x SAM
  • Cost: 1x Cordium Engine & $12500

Arcion MK.I

  • Armaments: 2x Railgun, 2x SAM
  • Cost: 2x Cordium Engine & $15000

Littoria MK.I

  • Armaments: 3x AA, 3x SAM
  • Cost: 3x Cordium Engine & $17500

205 Class

    • Armaments: 6 CIWS, 6 ADV-SAM
    • Cost: 4x Cordium Engine & $20000

    Mission Overview

    There are 43 missions to complete in order to achieve victory in Conquest mode. As you play, your Alert Level will increase as the Federation considers you a greater and greater threat. This means more and better enemies will come after you in every mission. At Alert level 1, you’ll be up against a few MG.21s and F/E-4s, but by Alert Level 15 you’ll be up against prototype fighters like the SK.37 and VX.23.

    Because Alert Level is based on overall playtime, you’re encouraged to complete each mission as quickly as possible to make sure your future missions don’t become too difficult.

    There are quite a few different types of missions you could face in Conquest mode. We’ll go over each of them here as well as some recommended weapons. Keep in mind that EVERY mission will end with a dogfight against an enemy ace squadron, so make sure that every loadout includes some air-to-air weaponry.

    Fleet Hunt

    This mission type has you hunt down several enemy airships. ASMs can make short work of an airship, but otherwise, MLAAs are your best bet for taking down airship subsystems quickly and easily.

    Score Attack

    Each enemy destroyed is worth a certain amount of credits, and in Score Attack, you’ll need to destroy enough stuff to satisfy the mission parameters. Here, a mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground armaments can be very helpful but note that the targets worth the most points are usually found in the air (those would be enemy bombers, transports, and airships).

    Transport Hunt

    This mission type is a lot like “Clear Skies” in the main campaign, only there aren’t any civilian transports to worry about. Down the transports and their attendant escorts to beat this mission. MLAA and SAAs are recommended.

    Clean Air Defenses

    Scattered across the map are several anti-air batteries that all need to be taken out. MLAGs, bombs, and rockets will make short work of them, but keep in mind that your MLAGs will be useless against the enemy ace squadron, so don’t take more than one slot’s worth of them.

    Most Wanted

    Several enemy ace squadrons are flying around and they need to be taken out. They’re pretty much the same as the ace squadrons that keystone every mission, so gun pods, MLAAs, and SAAs are your friends here.

    Experimental Unit Sabotage

    Just like Most Wanted, except some of these enemy planes have fancy weapons on ’em like guns that can fire backward. The same strategy still applies, just be more careful.

    Suggested Aircraft And General Conquest Tips

    If you’re just starting out, expect to fail unless you’re an extremely talented pilot. Starting with the MG.21 or F/E-4 means your aircraft is just too slow to fly to the various mission objectives fast enough to prevent your Alert Level from ticking up, and even if you manage to buy a faster aircraft later on, it can be hard to overcome that initial disadvantage.

    Because of the Alert Level mechanic, it’s best to focus on planes that have high speed. The F/D-14 is a great choice for its mix of decent maneuverability, reasonable price, and high top speed. The MG.29 and F/E-18 can also be highly effective for their speed and varied weapons loadouts.

    However, to make real progress in Conquest Mode, you’ll want to purchase one of the prototype fighters as soon as possible. The VX-23 and F/S-15 are both phenomenal choices for their high speed, superb maneuverability, and access to gun pods in order to quickly take out enemy aces that often dodge MLAAs and standard missiles.

    Once you’ve gained enough Prestige to unlock the SP-34R and PW-MK.1, your odds of completing a full 43-mission run go up substantially.

    Next: Skyrim: The Real World Influence Behind The Daedric Princes

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