Review: Ace Combat Assault Horizon Enhanced Edition

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East Africa, 2015. Attached to an international peace-keeping force, Colonel Bishop leads a small squadron in operations to suppress an insurgent rebel force. The operation, however, rapidly escalates as Bishop and his company come face-to-face with the rebels’ devastatingly powerful experimental weapon. Tearing its way through the desert states and up into the frozen North, the struggle to control the weapon ignites a devastating global conflict.

Pros:

  • Graphics have had a overhaul, looking stunning on PC, running 60+ FPS. Missions through built up areas look gorgeous, which really give you the feeling that you are after burning through the sprawling metropolis below. Whilst manning a turret gun, the amount of detail going on screen is pin sharp, from the explosions in the water to boats,helicopters or planes blowing up, its like a Micheal Bay movie on acid.
  • New never before seen features such as “Dogfight Mode” or DFM for short. Now the game goes all Hollywood. Getting close to an enemy plane allows you to go into a new attack sequence. The camera pans round and sits behind your machine gun as you rain bullets upon the enemy. A circle appears which you use for aiming, plane controls are temporarily taken over by the game for the most part. Killing an enemy in this mode creates some truly epic explosions. The camera will follow the target plane to its demise. For the true seat of your pants Top Gun aint got nuffin on me experience, enter DFM in a built up city.
  • Pure plane porn for the fans, the level of detail is incredible, So many planes to unlock and use throughout the game. Customise your plane with paint skins, choose your arsenal and any unlocked stats.
  • enhanced Edition gives you a selection of new skins, mostly relating to the Idol Master series, they are bright and colorful and will please fans of the series. Even people who know nothing of Idol Master will appreciate the skins.
  • Improve your skills by getting upgrades in game.
  • Now you have the ability to live out your Air Wolf fantasies and take to the skies in an attack helicopter. Again you have a few models to choose from. They are actually easy to control, surprisingly agile and a pleasure to fly. Course having the Air Wolf theme tune blaring out as you take out AA guns on the mountain side, would elevate the epicness.
  • Health regenerates which may sound like a bad thing, It may well be to the Ace Combat vets but to new players it makes the game a lot more accessible.
  • Clear clean non intrusive HUD means you can concentrate on the action more than juggling a million different numbers all over the screen.
  • Online is a fast, easy to get into and has a cod style unlock system via XP.
  • Story Written by New York Times Best-Selling military author Jim DeFelice. Giving players an authentic believable experience. The game now has named players in it, going more down the blockbuster route than ever before. The story holds up well and keeps you on the knife edge of despair and glory.
  • The array of non plane flying missions show up through out the campaign. As said you can pilot helicopters, there are also bomber sections, very reminiscant of the Call Of Duty bomber kill streak reward. Another new addition is the ability to hang on the side of an attack helicopter and use a turret gun, made famous in the Ghost Recon series.
  • Fully optimized for the 360 joy pad.
  • Campaign length is about 5-7 hours depending on skill and difficulty.

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Cons:

  • No proper flight joystick support on the PC version.
  • No mouse support.
  • Runs on Games For Windows
  • Turret sections whilst good looking, dont really fit into the Ace Combat series and is dragged out for far too long. It feels more like a filler than an actual addition enhancement.
  • Opening FMV is unskippable and long.
  • Veterans of the series will not like the “Hollywood” approach the game has taken, dumbing down the complexity and skill will turn vets away.
  • The DFM mechanic may not be for everyone and can be dis orientating
  • Hitting the floor at full speed will not kill you out right. Suffering just damage, the regenerating health will fix that.
  • Especially in the turret sections, enemies will just appear. Its possible to see them spawn out of no where in open ground. Eliminating any skill or tactics in one fell swoop.
  • Helicopters in the game may not sit right as Ace Combat has always been about the planes.
  • When flying up high engaged in fighting, the barren lands below start to look blocky and flat, more obvious in open land warfare.

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In summary, vets may not like the new approach and additions to the series, while new players may be able to get into a lot easier than before. The game takes a while to get used to as you adjust to the fast paced style of the game. I had only played a bit of Ace Combat before this game. I found it a lot more immersive due to the new additions than my previous play. The game will split the community in terms of “why this” or “why add that”, I would say the game is better suited for new players looking to dip their toe into plane combat.

 

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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