Ace Combat 6 - Fires of Liberation 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 8.7
Graphics 8.9
Sound 8.0
Value 8.7
Distributor: Atari Australia
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
December 2007
Reviewer:
Jye Nelson

8.6


Ace Combat 6 - Fires of Liberation

One of the oldest console flight simulators returns on the XBox 360 that continues from the highly popular series that was originally launched on the PlayStation, bringing amazing single-player mechanics and intense dog fighting into a new arena with the addition of online modes including co-op missions and of course aerial confrontations.

Features

  • This year, the entire Flight Action genre will be single handedly redefined as Ace Combat 6, the latest in the No.1 flight action series arrives on the next generation console system to continue its absolute domination.

  • Witness the high definition graphics rendering the world around you into super realistic war zones, made possible only by the superior power of the next generation console system. Glide through breathtaking vistas of nighttime metropolitan skylines, snow-covered mountain ranges, gaping canyons, and skies full of beautifully rendered 3D clouds with tangible density and volume.

  • The superior processing power of the next-gen console system gives players the ability to lead not only aerial combat units but also naval and ground combat units. The “Allied Support System" lets you call an army of loyal allies to your aide. Fight alongside fighter planes, gun ships, attack helicopters, tanks, naval fleets, heavy bombers, and electronic warfare vessels. Issue commands with split-second precision and witness the massive combined assault destroying numerous enemy forces at once!

  • Massive conflicts unfold on a “living battlefield” integrated by the “Dynamic Operation System” where up to six independent aerial, ground, and naval battles can break out at once at multiple locations as allies and enemies clash in real-time. Experience the intense realism of war when battlefields come alive with engagingly authentic audio and visual effects: thundering explosions, dense vapor trails of air to air missiles, piercing machine gun fire, booming anti-aircraft artillery fire exploding in mid-air, and more.

  • The long awaited Online-Mode has finally arrived! For the first time in the Ace Combat franchise, several modes of online play with various rules become available, including death match style missions; an all out battle for control of the sky; team death matches; and co-op games, where players cooperate with friends to take on computer-controlled adversaries. Online rankings are calculated on both global and regional levels, with high-ranking players being granted honorable titles on a global scale, adding fuel to the fires of furious competition.

  • Get in the cockpits of your favorite authentically detailed aircrafts from air forces around the globe such as the F-15 E Strike Eagle, F-22 Raptor, and Tornado for the most realistic flight combat action.

  • Seamless pacing and intuitive controls provide an immersive and stress-free gaming experience. Command an array of licensed aircraft as you break the sound barrier and soar 360 degrees through the sky. Player’s performance directly affects the course of battle.

  • Become entangled in an authentic war drama told from the perspectives of seven main characters; both friends and foes, from officers to soldiers to common citizens. Real-time allied and enemy radio communications change according to ever-changing events in battle.

Fires of Liberation spans 15 single-player missions all broken up by a series of cut scenes told from the perspective of people directly affected by the war. The first few missions are standard fare and will likely feel tedious to most gamers, but if you stick with it the game makes a dramatic turn and really delivers a unique and exciting experience more than worth the price of admission.

The cut scenes that break up the action are nicely presented, but feel somewhat disconnected from the core game. This is largely due to the fact that these stories are not directly related to what is going on in the sky. Even with this severed storyline these cut scenes still deliver a plausible backdrop to the events going on in the clouds.

Each mission works just as you would expect with a quick overview before deployment giving you the ability to select aircraft and weaponry best suited for each mission. For the first 5-6 missions the standard layout should work fine, but later in the game you will run across surprise objectives during the mission that really throw a monkey wrench into your plans. This can be frustrating as you will be half-way through a mission only to realize that your layout is useless against a certain type of enemy. Thankfully this is remedied with the aid of your wingmen who you can command to attack and cover you with a simple tap of the d-pad.

One of the cooler aspects of the single-player game is that each mission does have multiple objectives all of which cannot be completed in one play through. This adds a nice layer of replay value especially for purists out there who insist on earning every possible award the game has to offer. The best part about going back is that the missions will actually feel different depending on which objectives you choose to carry out. Couple this with the addition of extreme difficulty upon completion of the game and you have an incredibly robust game without even touching the multi-player.

Multi-player is broken down into two parts and both are equally enjoyable depending on your preference. The co-op missions are basically mirrors of the type of sorties you would perform offline but of course with other players. The biggest differentiator here is that when you die you can actually respawn but it will take time off the clock. Saving precious seconds is crucial which adds to the tension not to mention an overall layer of strategy. The downside is that there are only two co-op missions on the initial disc. I am sure there is a possibility of downloadable content in the pipeline, but as much fun as it is to take to the skies with your friends it makes you wish they had added co-op for all of the single-player missions.

Graphically, the visuals in Fires of Liberation are absolutely jaw-dropping. Smoke trails fill the sky, the planes are so intricately detailed and the draw distance is absolutely amazing. However, there is one drawback; ground textures. Sure from a distance they look fine, but get close enough to the ground and you will think you were teleported back to 1996, I mean these things are terrible. Of course 95% of the time you will not even notice them because you are too busy watching everything else, but when you do fly close enough to the ground try not to crash into the four pixel backdrop.

In conclusion, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation is easily the best flight-sim available on next-gen systems, not to mention the best the series has ever had to offer. Picture perfect controls and lush visuals make this a package that fans of the series will not want to miss. Even with the quirky story and slow pacing through the first few missions Fires of Liberation surpasses all benchmarks set by its predecessors and sets a new bar for the series and the genre. Easy to pick up and play, but hard to put down Ace Combat 6 is the definition of how you keep a franchise going strong for this long.






 
 



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