Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Preview
True, there have been many great ones, while others have been ordinary, but perhaps the standout among the crowd of aircraft sims is the Ace Combat series, and we’ll be soon witnessing the release of yet another game in the series, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon.
Let’s face the fact: the Ace Combat games have been great, but its greatness comes more from the story, narration and experience than the in-game combat.
It isn’t intense most of the times, and things seem to go rather slow-paced, which is strange for a game that concerns faster-than-sound jet fighters.
Assault Horizon tends to change that in a some ways. Previous Ace Combat games featured dog fights in a more passive manner, with the more intense combats being a rarity, but this time fighting in the skies is far more intense, far more shooter-like, and with lots of adrenaline-pumping action.
While watching enemy fighter jets go down thanks to your missile in earlier AC games was almost soothing, Assault Horizon will offer a more violent approach to it, like frying flying birds in the air.
Yes, it’s a strange analogy, but the ripping apart of metal shards from the sophisticated awesome aircrafts with oil leaking out of the fuel tanks is like watching metal bleed and burn, and sadistic as it may sound, every sight of the violence is realistically satisfying (and satisfying realistic).
If you ever wondered what the heck the turret guns on your aircrafts were for in Ace Combat and even HAWX, you’ll soon find out that they have a use that was under-developed in the previous games. Turrets will rip enemy tangos into pieces, literally.
Bullets won’t just make the opponent plane go ‘poof’ and crash-and-burn, but wings, fins and tail will violently break and detach with the impacts, until only a naked-looking burning fuselage is left.
Camera angles add to the intensity of the scenario, and the new Close Range Assault mode uses clever camera placements behind the canon of your wing, as you shoot away your missiles and turret at an enemy tango framed in a dynamic circular reticule.
What’s cooler is that enemies will actually encourage you to use this mode, as their aggression and mobility will thwart your expectations of an easy and lazy long ranged battle.
Another interesting addition is the slower paced-action of helicopters. Yes, you just read helicopters. Choppers are being introduced for the first time in Ace Combat, and with them a totally different, low altitude experience.
In addition to chopper flying and ground support, you also get to be the bad-boy who shreds ground infantry with the bad-ass mounted gatling gun. Yeah, it’s overly Call of Duty inspired, but what Assault Horizon is trying to show is that it has variety, and variety is the demand of the day by gamers.
When it comes to the story, few may squint while others frown at the setting of Assault Horizon, which based on real-life locations, so no more Osea, Belka, Yuktabania, and all those other fictional, war-hungry countries with cool names. Instead we’re playing as William Bishop of the United States, and it’s a somewhat familiar United States vs.
Russia setting, with a bit of twists and turns. The story telling is interesting, as on many occasions things aren’t exactly how they seem and you won’t always be seeing from a jet fighter’s perspective.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is making a lot of changes to the conventional but loved features of its predecessors. Some may not enjoy a few of the changes/additions, but one thing that is definitely looking positive is the action-packed combat.
Action blockbuster is the term to define what this game feels like, but we can only know once it is released, which will be on October 14th for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.