Despite the cheese factor, the latest Ace Combat game to arrive on
the XBox 360 is actually quite a decent arcade flight simulator that
not only just includes jets but also helicopters! Bring on
the gunships! With that said,
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon contains over 30 licensed military
aircrafts such as the F22 Raptor and Apache with some
sturdy gameplay, slick visuals and some thumping sound effects that
will turn your lounge room into a battlefield, provided you have
surround sound. At its core, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is an
arcade flight simulator and although most of these games are on the
realm of the PC, it's great that Namco have continued this genre in
the console world.
The first thing that you will notice about Ace Combat: Assault
Horizon are the stunning visuals that really make it appear like you
are flying one of these airplanes. From detailed countryside
environment to city areas and some gorgeous cloud and lighting
effects, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is as close as you can get to
flying a real plane.
The only downside to the graphics is when you
go too close to the ground and just like most flight simulators,
everything looks a tad too flat but thankfully you'll spend most of
your time in the high skies, unless your on a helicopter mission.
But there is some detail... just look at the following screenshot.
Another cool effect in the game is the bullet-time explosions that are
sometimes used in the game and gives the title a very slick
Hollywood feel to it.
Story wise, Assault Horizon is Mr. Cliché as once again, the West,
more particularly the good old United States of America have been
called to action in order to save the free world. Ugh!
Even though the story sounds like a bad Tom Clancy rip-off, it's
actually quite amusing and does help enhance the story, except for
some the stereotypical banter between your wingman.
the only annoying downside to the game is the voice acting which seems to
repeat and repeat. However repetitive voice acting and flat graphics
when you fly too close to the Earth are the only two problems with
the game. Everything else works and it works very well, especially
with the controls.
soon as you pick up the controls on the XBox 360, it's like coming
home again, especially if you enjoy this genre. The controls work
perfectly on the XBox 360 and whether you are strafing, engaging in
dog fights or firing your missiles, even the most novice of gamers
should have no difficulties in mastering these controls.
Add in some
careful use of force feedback and this is enough to immerse you into
the realism of this game, specifically if you have a big screen TV. 50
inches of Sony goodness is more than enough for me. Missions are
quite varied, especially with the inclusion of helicopters as it
really changes the dynamics of the game and you do need to think.
did enjoy the dogfight mode employed into this game by the
developers which basically assists in "dog fights" when you are
close to the enemy. This essentially removes the need to control your
jet as the game takes over as pilot and you can concentrate on
shooting down your enemies. Even with this mode, it's still not easy
but definitely works and enhances the gameplay.
With over 30 aircrafts in this game and besides the high speed jets,
my second favourite was the helicopter which is so much fun to
control, especially when you are helping your buddies on the ground.
It feels like you are in some war movie. But just like a Hollywood
action movie, your jet can take a healthy amount of damage before it
is destroyed and sometimes you need this on harder levels. Given
that, the AI is no pushover either and you do need to practice
before you become a Top Gun, principally when you have a lock on your
The game even supports a multiplayer for a break during the campaign
or you can jump straight into this mode from the get go. Although
dog fights are quite enjoyable, it's also fun to join in team-based
matches and you can really get some great strategies going here. I
think this is why I enjoyed multiplayer so much because it was quite
unpredictable as opposed to the rather lengthy and sometimes
repetitive campaign missions. Needless to say, the whole game came
together rather well.
the end, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is one of the most enjoyable
games of the last few months because it's a totally different console game with some amazing
graphics, especially of the aircrafts and sturdy gameplay. My only regret with the title
is the close-ups but as mentioned, you spend more time in the air
than on the ground. This is a must have game for arcade flight
simulation fans and if you want to burn that jet fuel on your XBox
360, than look no further Ace Combat: Assault Horizon has landed!