24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Passable but this is not an Ace Combat game.,
This review is from: Ace Combat Assault Horizon - Limited Edition (PS3) (Video Game)
As a long standing Ace Combat fan, my first being Ace Combat 2 on Playstation, I have had high hopes for this game but I am somewhat disappointed; gone is the world of Strangereal and in steps Earth; there's no more earning money/credits in missions to buy planes. Instead you are given them meaning there's no real sense of achievement or goal in campaign other than to just find out the story. It is closer to Hawx than the AC of old.
The story and gameplay so far seems painstakingly influenced by the Modern Warfare series (something the devs themselves admitted). This has annoyed me somewhat since it is ruining games that I have loved up until this point by trying to be "accessible" to a wider audience. I have no problem with making games accessible to more people, but this doesn't mean dumb the controls and gameplay down. The most apparent example of this is the default control mode, literally left moves left and down moves down; no barrel rolling, aileron rolling or performing manouevres (thankfully this can be changed in settings). It's almost impossible to crash with this setting on and there's no challenge whatsoever. Another example of simplified gameplay is the semi scripted dogfighting mode, initated manually when in close range to another jet. This physics-defying mode places the camera into a sort of "over the shoulder" angle for the jet and the computer essentially takes over the path of your aircraft whilst you concentrate on gunning down the enemy ace. Fun on paper but in actuality in this mode you cannot crash, I have seriously aimed for buildings on purpose only to have the computer kick in and guide me away. The mode itself would be good if it didn't just spoonfeed you kills and avoid terrain in an almost quick time event. What's more is that the game forces you too use this hand-holding mode by making enemy squadron leaders (aces) almost impossible to hit conventionally. I understand wanting to introduce new elements but I don't want to be given kills on a plate. Another example of the almost baby-esque gameplay are the sidegunner helicopter missions. You don't even have to aim properly, just within 5-10 metres of an enemy is sufficient. It would also have you believe that Black Hawks are sponges for rockets. Allied AI jets are next to useless now. On many occasions I've had upwards of 2 or 3 enemy jets on my tail whilst my allies just flew around doing nothing, presumably to make the environment look pretty. Even in the PS2 versions, a whole generation earlier, you could issue basic commands to your wingmen. As for the story, though it is...ok there is no player immersion. You play a bunch of characters who you hop between from mission to mission and the fact that you actually see their faces just blows the immersion for me, almost in a breaking the 4th wall way. What happened to the days of Mobius 1 and Cipher? I actually felt like those characters with their emotional personal story behind the war which is further enhanced by not seeing them, so I could project myself into their shoes. With this instalment I feel like I'm playing another "America hell yeah!" game, with some bland characters just doing what they're paid to do.
Overall this game is a complete letdown, I'm very critical of games normally but this game deserves all of the negatives being thrown at it. Dogfigthing mode is forced down your throat; the enemy cheats all too obviously (planes identical to yours going faster than yours whilst being more manouevrable at high velocities); it's impossible to manually shake enemies on your tail if they're in dogfight mode with you (you have to use the flawed L2+R2 system); constantly respawning enemy jets (I've had some appear right in front of me, at least make them fly from the edge of the map like you used to) and the ally AI being absolutely useless in helping get jets off your tail and even shooting down other enemies, which is what they're meant to do! The only positives, and they are very minor positives are that the story is passable and the controls can be reverted back to that of standard Ace Combat games. It was bold of Project Aces to make such radical changes to the gameplay of a proven series, but in this reviewer's opinion it really hasn't worked. It is an oversimplified spin-off that, whilst satisfactory in some areas, doesn't live up to the history of awe inspiring Ace Combat games. New fans will probably enjoy this game but longstanding AC'ers like myself will probably find themselves thinking more about what could have been.
5/10 overall, or 3/5 on Amazon's scale rouding up. (The fun factor is also 3, I reduced this after further playing but for some reason it won't edit).
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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Oct 2011 01:34:42 BDT
M. Hill says:
Thanks for getting your review in so quick - I was wondering how it would hold up against AC6 and the PS2 games. Your description of gameplay is cause for concern indeed but as a fan of the series I still want this game.
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2011 14:58:55 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Oct 2011 15:00:10 BDT
You're welcome, I'm roughly just over halfway through so I don't think the gameplay will change much now! I also forgot to mention the regenerating health so don't be surprised if you find it disappointing; I hope you don't since I'd never wish anyone to dislike a game, but I certainly was so wanted to give the heads up to AC fans.
Posted on 15 Oct 2011 16:06:16 BDT
Mr. R. Foulkes says:
Thanks for the review. I too am a fan of the PS2 AC games so I was really looking forward to this. From your description it does sound very similar to HAWX so I certainly won't be buying it. What a shame that they've dumbed it down. I guess the wait for a decent dogfighter continues on PS3...
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2011 16:58:17 BDT
I'd recommend at least giving the demo a try but it is lacking, especially for an Ace Combat game.
Posted on 15 Oct 2011 22:46:34 BDT
David Gori says:
Nice review, thank you. You let me save my money, I am a fan of the Ace Combat series and plainly this one is not an AC game.
Posted on 17 Oct 2011 08:01:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 17 Oct 2011 09:15:48 BDT
Mrs. Ac Mills says:
Thanks for this. Regrettably, you seem to have confirmed my worst fears! Like every fan, I was so looking forward to tagging another Arkbird, taking out a goliath installation on the ground via tight tunnels and dogfighting in the semi-sim/arcade gameplay that the AC series had so utterly perfected on the PS2. A next gen AC....hopefully something like AC6 that the XBox had but 'we' didn't. I played the demo a thought WTF?
The game itself arrived on Saturday, by mistake I had left it on my pre-order list - after the demo I thought I'll leave it to drop in price. I've not played it yet. It feels a bit like Christmas with no Santa Claus. I hope I'm wrong.
So back to Hawx which is 'OK', or IL2 which is a great sim but lacks AC excitement. Or, buy a cheap Xbox and AC6.
By the way...I hear they're modernising GT6. You can't pass cars anymore. They've decided it would be far better to get close, press L2+R2, and the game switches to 'automatic', overtakes then lets you drive up close to the next one, press L2+R2...sounds like an improvement doesn't it??!??
Posted on 18 Oct 2011 15:46:59 BDT
K. Covington says:
I had a sinking feeling that they were going to do this.
After playing the demo I was left extremely disappointed, the stupid dogfighting system was just irritating and as you said; it's impossible to shoot down "Aces" with regular combat.
This is what I liked about the previous game, fighting through incredibly difficult dogfights and actually given a challenge.
I want to be harassed by QAAM's fired from a single Yellow in an entire squadron of Yellow's, not spoon-fed a quicktime action in order to get these kills.
I'll most likely rent the game or watch some gameplay before making the decision to buy it.
I'd suggest that the hardcore AC fans do something similar.
Posted on 3 Jan 2012 21:43:01 GMT
H. Steinarsson says:
You say the default controls are dumbed down when in fact Ace Combat 2 had the exact same default controls. I even remember when I was a kid that I found it way too difficult to play with expert controls, and even more so because the PS controllers back then didn't have any thumbsticks. Not every 10 year old can play with expert controls and It just happens to be that I was first introduced to the series when I was around that age.
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Jan 2012 03:12:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 4 Jan 2012 03:18:23 GMT
Was it? I can't even remember the story of AC2, let alone the control system. Anyway, I have to disagree with you there, most of the kids I know of around 10-12 (relatives) seem to be able to pick up games like this with ease. Besides this review and all comments are directed at Assault Horizon and not AC2. You say yourself that the controls back then were hard without the sticks which are now present, kind of making that argument moot.
Please don't take my reply as me being hostile, I'm not, but your comment makes expert controls sound like a DCS, true to life flight sim when they're not. I'd call them (even back as a child growing up with the games) easy. The left stick controlled the pitch and roll of an aircraft and the right was a freeview, with two buttons for accelerate and decelerate. That's 3 (arguably 4) buttons to fly on this "expert mode"; it's not exactly challenging to get used to and now you can't even perform an aileron roll with the normal, basic controls. What's the point in having a flying sim/arcade hybrid if you can't even perform a basic manoeuvre or enjoy full blown aerial combat like you could previously? There's a difference between accessible controls and the game more or less flying for you, I almost found it insulting that Project Aces went in this direction with the interactive cut-scene dogfighting, but every one to their own I guess. At least they made the basic controls optional.
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jan 2013 16:06:02 GMT
"Not every 10 year old can play with expert controls"
The game is rated 16. Of course far younger people will play it, but it doesn't mean the game should be designed so a 10 year old can play it.