Game: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Developer: Namco Bandai
Release Window/Date: October 11th 2011
What's Polished: Graphics and gameplay looked great, but...
What Needs Polished: ...the air-to-ground Close Range Assault System didn't seem all that challenging.
I remember playing the original Ace Combat in a faux-cockpit in my hometown arcade 15 years ago, and my 12 year old self was greatly aggravated at the lack of realism. 100 missiles? I only see 6, sir. You can’t fool me. Nowadays, I’m grateful for nearly any flight sim I can get on the home console, and Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is a particular treat for me, blending arcade flight combat with a dash of increased realism (for the 12-year-old hater that lives deep in my…well, pretty close to the surface, actually).
For the first time in the series, AC is ditching its semi-anime touches like giant flying fortresses and fictional nations in favor of real-world locations mapped out using satellite technology. Players will command such aircraft as F-22s, B-1B bombers, and for the first time, helicopters.
Another change to the gameplay involves the Close Range Assault System, a kind of assisted-flight dogfight mode like H.A.W.X’s Enhanced Reality System, that is intended to create turn-and-burn dogfights and prevent the kind of “I just shot down a dot” ennui that modern missile-focused air combat can occasionally create. It can be used against both air-to-air and air-to-ground targets, and in my particular demo I saw the air-to-ground mode, which the player used to bomb a series of targets which, if struck correctly, would trigger a short cinematic that followed the bomb from the bay to the target to a satisfyingly explosive conclusion.
AC:AH will take to the skies on October 11th
for 360 and PS3.