The longtime running Ace Combat series is back, and this time it seems like the folks over at Project Aces are trying to hit a bigger and wider audience. Unlike most of the previous iterations of the game, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon takes the setting into a realistic one with real world locations. They have also included the ability to customize your aircraft, and included a narrative driven campaign that has you going from mission to mission. Not only do all of these features indicate the desire to hit a bigger audience, but the fact that this is the first time the series is going multiplatform should say enough. So how does this newest title stack up? Should we still care about a game that is already up to its 7th console appearance? Read on to find out.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is, as the title well indicates, an action-driven flight simulation-type game. However, this latest Ace Combat title also includes ground combat for the very first time. It’s not what it sounds like, though. Here, you get to ride around in a chopper and blow up stuff on the ground. The controls were a bit iffy, but the folks over at Namco told me that they were still working out some of the kinks. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, but it fun to blow up highly explosive vehicles and buildings. When asked if there would be any co-op functionality for the ground combat, we were told ‘no’. I thought to myself, ‘what a missed opportunity’. I felt that shooting from and controlling the aircraft made things a bit cumbersome, and to have a buddy steer while you aimed to shoot would have been tons of fun. Oh well…
I then got a chance to play the jet flying portion of the game. This is more of what you would expect from a traditional Ace Combat game. While in the air, you hunt down enemy jets and try to take them out. When you get close enough to an enemy, you can lock on to them and begin ripping them to shreds. This lock-on feature is called “close range assault,” and it is something you have to see. The moment gets really intense, you see metal flying everywhere, and the screen gets very blurred up. It was very satisfying to shoot down enemy jets with this feature, and it’s even more satisfying that there is even a little explosion sequence when you finally finish them off. This was only the first mission, and everything looked and sounded great. I only wish I could have seen more.
From what I’ve seen so far, this game is going to be promising. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon will feature a robust online system, customization, skill points, and all that stuff you would expect from a modern multiplayer game. We didn’t get a chance to see any of this yet, but hopefully in the near future.