First reactions: Ace Combat Assault Horizon

by: Sean Cahill -
More On: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
I've had a chance to get my feet wet with the Ace Combat Assault Horizon demo that is currently available on Xbox Live, and I have plenty of observations to offer up in preparation for the full release on October 11.

- Demo gives you two options:  F-22 Raptor or the AH-64 Apache.  We were told there would be more than just aircraft in this version of the game, and Namco Bandai delivered.  It will still be strange dealing with something other than a regular attack aircraft.

- Controls have changed slightly to offer a better feel.  Veterans of the game will want to switch back to "Classic/Original" mode as it offers the best control over the craft in my opinion.  The new control just feels weird, especially since it auto-levels you after you are done.

- This is the first Ace Combat game released that has the protagonist of the game speaking.  In past versions, you played as the protagonist, but were never shown what he looked like or how he sounded.

- The new dogfighting mode is a challenge...and can send you into a seizure.  I'm not sure I really enjoy the major rattling that goes on when you are in close combat.

- Great idea to break up the targets into "TGT" and "TGT_LEAD" reticles.  It will give a better challenge throughout the game itself.

- You still have a ridiculous amount of missiles.  This has always been a staple of Ace Combat.

- The demo takes place in Miami.  You get an up close and personal look at SunLife Stadium where the Dolphins and Marlins play right away.  It looks like the developers did a fantastic job getting as many little details as possible.

- The Apache feels stiff and sluggish, but it's still a lot of fun to attack with.  Evading missiles and other attacks, on the other hand, is a lot harder than in a regular fighter.

- The HUD is a lot smaller this time around, especially in comparison to Fires of Liberation.

- Chaffing and Flares are going to be the bane of my existence in this game.  Lead Targets will have one, the other, or both at their disposal to throw off missiles.  It means that there are going to be times where you have to use guns and not just go missile happy.
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