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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Developer(s) Project Aces

Publisher(s) Namco Bandai Games

Platform(s) PS3 & Xbox 360

Release date October 2011

Genre(s) Arcade, Combat Flight Simulator

Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer

Rating(s) ESRB T, PEGI 16

                                             The antagonist himself

“Make Metal Bleed” as the back cover of the game said

If you ask me what’s my best jet fighting simulation game i’ve played in my life, that would be Ace Combat series. I played most of them since the first one on PS1. All my life, i never found another game that can par with NAMCOs’ masterpeice.

After a long wait for consoles since Ace Combat 6, it’s back with agressiveness pushing away other games that tried to challenge one of NAMCOs’ pride and asset.

Though did it delivered well? We shall see as i share my thoughts on the game.

                                              That sweet feeling of victory on each and every kill you make

“Modern Warfare in the sky”

The set up is now mentioned in actual world locations, mentioning from previous trailers are Miami, African locations and many more. Surely the game won’t be complete without a storyline and now it’s been aided by a New York Times bestselling military author Jim DeFelice and shaped a story about Lt. Colonel William Bishop from the Warwolf Flight Squadron and his quest to stop a Russian terrorist named Col. Markov “Akula” who has a weapon that can blow up pretty much a city. Unlike the previous and traditional Ace’s direct mission briefing then take off segment, they added some QTE (Quick Time Event) elements for you to react while off the plane (Heavy Rain-ish) which basically pointless for me to be honest. But gladly the phasing is fast & it won’t take long till you get on a mission. It’s a new gesture from the game and also trying other weaponries and aircrafts. Let’s say aside from flying planes, one of them is you can fly an AH-64D Apache Longbow, a gunner on MH-60 Black Hawk and other planes with different functions depending on the given mission. So basically it’s a different curve but it’s still a welcomed add on.

                                              inside the SU-35 cockpit, one of my fave planes in AC games

There are no traces to disappoint the game in terms of visuals. The textures on a blown enemy aircraft is spot on, however I laughed when I saw a blown pilot wasn’t ripped to shreds as I blew his plane sky high. But I guess to avoid being flagged as a bloody game perhaps. But none the less, seeing a shattered plane gives you the sense of sweet victory after taking them down on plane after the other.

                                            yeah a new gameplay comes with flying this chopper

You fly a plane & blow some stuff up, simple? Well it used to be like that but the new installment has some treats to keep you occupied for a bit by flying attack choppers, bombers and also a gunner. Though the main meat of the game is to be the Ace in the air and fly planes with different specs and specialties for each given mission. The new main element of the game is the Close-range assault “Dogfight mode”. It can be activated when you’re close enough to an enemy plane; there, the controls will turn into a semi automatic tailing enemy planes (which is a bit silly for me but it made up by taking control on a close range attack) and stick with them as long as you can till you destroy them in mid-air, that way you will feel the sense of satisfaction after each kill. However there are two kinds of control mode whereas semi auto pilot “Optimum” for those who are new in the genre (which I don’t like to use) & the “Original” mode for those who are veterans (like me) on the game that will let you fully control your plane and do as many barrel rolls as you pleased.

Each plane has their own special weapons and class whether a bomber, an air-to-air or both. There are tons of planes to choose from and that will also please the fans and keep them busy searching for their favorite plan/s (where are my Su planes from the start of the game!!!).

                                               As a gunner, wasn't that bad
Aside from the single player, the multiplayer is back with co-op or a death match for all 16 players and plane customizations.

In co-op mode, you can team up with a trusted buddy while on 16 multiplayer, first there’s Capital Conquest where each team has a group base to protect and destroy the other team’s base; there’s also Domination where you capture ground installations and lastly there’s the classic deathmatch where it’s more intense than the single player by taking down a real player to see who dominates the skies. So basically the other half of the fun lies in the multiplayer.

                                                                Just like MW, you can also try this plane and do your thing

In terms of voice acting, it’s pretty stiff which sometimes feel like the character’s movement didn’t blend well to the voice acting. I also found out that the sound quality wasn’t that epic enough for my 5.1 surround sound headset which I found that the music was louder than rest so I had to adjust the volumes. But on the brighter side, its well done in terms of explosions, weapons and epic OST which has a mixed of Rock Metal & Orchestra feel to it; plus a one of their track called “Rush” gave me Goosebumps whenever I hear the guitar solo.

                                               I just love Russian fighter jets over the rest of the planes.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is actually a good game but not as great as Ace Combat 5 for me. The gameplay, graphics, OST are there but the storyline fell short and wasn’t as epic as I experienced in AC5s' “The Journey home” song which the game also represents “world peace” from two giant fictional country fighting earch other that almost made a world war. But none the less, this game is a welcomed from its genre; Project ACES still is untouchable and cannot be compared when it comes to making a good arcade jet fighting simulator game. So if you ask me again what’s my favorite fighting simulation game? I’d still say NAMCOs’ Ace Combat series and this will be one of them but the best of them. This will be welcomed for young aces with the help of putting a modern feel to it; and for the fan of the genre, go get it, it's worth the wait and you can't find anything better than Ace Combat.

Score 8


Intense new Dog fight system

Awesome Multiplayer

Breath taking OST

Using other air craft

Faster phased air combat in the series


You can forget about the storyline

A few missions doesn’t feel right

Pointless off battle interactions at times

Pointless QTEs

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