Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Review

Slycne

Tank Ninja
Feb 19, 2006
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Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Review

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is solid fun dogfighting, but smoke and mirrors hide some disappointment.

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maturin

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Jul 20, 2010
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As someone who plays Lock On, just a few seconds of gameplay were enough to leave me incredibly bewildered. Is this game even played in an actual 3D space? Or does it just present you with bogeys who flash in front of your screen at dizzyingly short distances so you can shoot them? Can they even approach you from any direction except dead-ahead?

It looks like a game in an old school arcade machine with better graphics.
 

BakaSmurf

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Dec 25, 2008
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I played the demo after absolutely loving Ace Combat 6, and was completely turned off from ever playing the finished copy. It was like Micheal Bay directed the damn thing, it was nothing but flash without any real substance... Save for the helicopter mission, that was just a chore to play through (terrible controls + camera ahoy!), I've never played any of the earlier Ace Combat games, so I can't really have a say on the whole 'stagnating' thing I keep hearing about, but if this is the direction the series is going in... Well, I'm not planning on getting any of the further games in the Ace Combat series should this be the case.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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BakaSmurf said:
I played the demo after absolutely loving Ace Combat 6, and was completely turned off from ever playing the finished copy.
Amazingly, this will be the first AC I skip out on since 2, and that was because of financial issues, not an objection with the game.

I've been a pretty big fan of the AC series, but having played the demo, I'm so totally underwhelmed.

The review sums it up pretty well: "rental."

Well, that, to me, is a big letdown.
 

Slycne

Tank Ninja
Feb 19, 2006
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Urrrggg... im not really a die-hard fan of this genre but the whole "Getting oil on your 'face'" from combat just makes me cringe. Swing and a miss guys, i get that you think people need to be engaged in this way but making your game into an FPS is not the answer.
 
Mar 28, 2011
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Personally, my only complaint was that the story (lauded to be written by some guy apparently quite big in military literature circles) was practically non-existent. I had no idea what i was supposed to be doing before each mission as there was no briefing screen to give me details on my targets.

It's a real blast once you get used to it (and switch the controls back to classic so you can actually fucking roll the plane.) and DFM in the multiplayer? Hell Yes. i had a literal five minute dogfight with someone on deathmatch where we were both countering each others counters. Played like a fighiting game.
 

LobsterFeng

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Apr 10, 2011
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I love this review for reminding me of Descent.

Never actually played one of the Ace Combat games though so whatever.
 

INF1NIT3 D00M

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Aug 14, 2008
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I'm just glad he mentioned X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter. Someday, I'll get a crack team of geeks together and make a new X-Wing game. We'll pretty it up, add some new features that the old Windows 95 games didn't have, and give it to everyone for free; while Lucasarts throws a fit because they haven't been able to make a decent star wars game in at least the last 5 years. They can try to stop us, but by the time Lucasarts' lawyers find out it exists, it'll be too late.

...Assuming they don't run out of ideas before I can get my team together, and they make some god-awful reboot of X-Wing.
 

SenorNemo

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Mar 14, 2011
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My thoughts, as a long time Ace Combat fan (taken from my post on ACS):
Well, the gameplay was pretty nice, but what the hell was with the storytelling? I swear I must have missed every other cinematic, because often I'd end up flying a mission without a clue what its significance to the plot was until the very end. Show-don't-tell applies very strongly to videogames, but I was paying attention, and still stuff just seemed to be happening arbitrarily. Sure, the story wasn't impossible to follow - there was just enough there to put the pieces together - but this is the first AC game I've ever played where it felt like the missions didn't have much connection to each other. AC has never had that problem.

The story itself is pretty groan worthy. I was laughing so hard when the villains turned out to be Russian ultranationalists, but aside from that, what story there is kinda works, in its own cheap-paperback-you-read-on-the-beach-because-you-already-read-all-the-good-books sort of way. The characters are more than a little inconsistently written, even assuming they actually get much characterization in the first place, but the voice acting was at least better than in AC6 (I thought). It's not an ambitious story, but I still liked it better than AC6's.

The air combat missions were pretty fun, and air strikes, when the camera wasn't screwing with you, were pretty cool too. The level design was generally pretty good for those missions. The helicopter gameplay...less so, but that's mostly the fault of the controls and the camera. I'm certainly not going to be replaying those very often, unless I feel like getting my rotors torn off at the governor again by those hinds. The first part of the bomber mission was straight out of Airforce: Delta Strike, and I can't decide whether that's a good thing or not. The bombing itself was kinda meh.

The soundtrack is Keiki Kobayashi, so of course it's awesome. I was very pleasantly surprised though by the piece that played during the final dogfight with Markov. It's very different from what we would normally expect from the last fight in an AC game, and it works perfectly.

The whole real world thing on a whole is much more of a limit than anything else, but I actually found myself, to my surprise, really enjoying the last mission over Washington DC. I live very near DC, so I'm pretty familiar with the area, and fighting the last battle over it was kinda fun. I did somehow manage to crash into the Washington Monument though. That takes some serious skill >_<

So yeah, I think the game could have been a heck of a lot more than it was, but I still rather enjoyed it. 2.5/4 Now I gotta stay fly go do homework.

Note: This was on pilot difficulty with original controls. None of it was too difficult, but there was enough of a challenge there to keep interested. The game recommended pilot for veteran AC players, and I think that's about right.

Speaking of which, is anyone here from ACS, by any chance? I go by KonoBaka there.
 

Worgen

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Apr 4, 2020
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Whatever, just wash your hands.
When I first saw video of this game I was blown away but after playing the demo, Im gonna pass, I really don't like how the dog fighting mechanic feels, I played the hell out of ace combat... 4 I think and really enjoyed it but this one.... ehh, the music is awesome and it looks fantastic but I want the old style of play back.
 

SachielOne

Former Escapecraft Op
Aug 10, 2009
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The other complaint I had was the lack of a superweapon to take out toward the end of the game. Anyone else remember taking out the falling SOLG satellite at the end of AC 5? That was especially fun while flying the Falken, where you could use its laser to literally carve the thing into pieces.

Which brings me to the next point: Ace Combat games have, in the past, included some seriously overpowered fictional aircraft (the aforementioned Falken from AC5, the CFA-44 Nosferatu from AC6, X-02 Wyvern from AC4, and the ADFX-01/02 Morgan from AC0 are some examples). Where the heck are planes like these now? The closest thing we got this time around was the PAK-FA, and that is an actual fighter being developed by the Russians today. I get that they would seriously unbalance the multiplayer, but at least let us have something like that in single player.
 

arealperson

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Oct 1, 2009
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I'm a little disappointed by the scripted events in particular. &nbsp;While reducing the sim elements can create some antipathy from me, the lock-on mode might add to immersiveness and if it creates a new element in multi-player, might actually be pretty great. &nbsp;It's important that the artist not intervene with such jarring effect as that billboard sequence though, especially in a game.
Shia-Neko-Chan said:
I'm not actually seeing what's wrong with the oil on the screen effect, but okay. :/
The problem with the oil effect is most likely the realism. &nbsp;Travelling at supersonic speeds at angles where the oil (if hit in a particular area to actually leak oil) would fall is not likely to stain your craft, unless your trajectory is aimed at crashing into the debris already (the angle of his capture certainly wasn't). &nbsp;Even if being hit by oil, it would end up a specks or streaks, not big gobs. &nbsp;Also, your real view wouldn't be a 2D glass pane of a windshield, obviously. &nbsp;P.S. I'd like to see a bit more content in your post next time.

Now to be a little critical of the review. &nbsp;In the video portion, the sound of the game effects/sounds during the talk-over was much too muted. &nbsp;It was of especially poor execution during the cut-scene, where you had flapping mouths, but no way of letting us in on the actual feel of the dialogue.
 

Awexsome

Were it so easy
Mar 25, 2009
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I really want to pick up this game from the demo. The DFM mode has riled a lot of veteran's feathers from skimming around online but I think it's more of a knee jerk reaction to change than anything. I've heard it's made the online multiplayer playable and fun instead of the crap I put down after an hour in AC6's online. And the nay-saying I hear is most of the same fanboy crying of "ruined my franchise FOREVER." and the like.

The chopper controls from the demo were a bit wonky but still enjoyable and not nearly enough for me to throw away how awesome the flight mission was. Anyone with a brain could tell that half the mission was fighting planes with tutorial armor to teach the basics and could take 4 missiles until the right mechanic was taught. The end fight just as the demo was closing against about 4 or 5 enemies with all the training wheels off felt just awesome.

When I pick up some money I'm still getting this one. I like how Project Aces did this little side-game to their main series to try these things out too. Instead of trying to radically change the next main game in the series they did this little offshoot to get some reaction and broaden the fanbase a bit. Was a smart move.
 

Shia-Neko-Chan

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Apr 23, 2008
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arealperson said:
I'm a little disappointed by the scripted events in particular.  While reducing the sim elements can create some antipathy from me, the lock-on mode might add to immersiveness and if it creates a new element in multi-player, might actually be pretty great.  It's important that the artist not intervene with such jarring effect as that billboard sequence though, especially in a game.
Shia-Neko-Chan said:
I'm not actually seeing what's wrong with the oil on the screen effect, but okay. :/
The problem with the oil effect is most likely the realism.  Travelling at supersonic speeds at angles where the oil (if hit in a particular area to actually leak oil) would fall is not likely to stain your craft, unless your trajectory is aimed at crashing into the debris already (the angle of his capture certainly wasn't).  Even if being hit by oil, it would end up a specks or streaks, not big gobs.  Also, your real view wouldn't be a 2D glass pane of a windshield, obviously.  P.S. I'd like to see a bit more content in your post next time.
See, the problem with criticizing a feature like that because it isn't realistic is flawed reasoning really, because it obviously wasn't an attempt at realism in the first place. I guess it'd be kind of like playing Resident Evil and criticizing it for having Zombies because "zombies don't exist lol".

It just sort of rubbed me the wrong way when I'd heard his dismissive "Whatever dude" tone aimed at something meant to be cinematic, dynamic and fun, rather than realistic or believable.
 

arealperson

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Oct 1, 2009
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Shia-Neko-Chan said:
arealperson said:
I'm a little disappointed by the scripted events in particular.  While reducing the sim elements can create some antipathy from me, the lock-on mode might add to immersiveness and if it creates a new element in multi-player, might actually be pretty great.  It's important that the artist not intervene with such jarring effect as that billboard sequence though, especially in a game.
Shia-Neko-Chan said:
I'm not actually seeing what's wrong with the oil on the screen effect, but okay. :/
The problem with the oil effect is most likely the realism.  Travelling at supersonic speeds at angles where the oil (if hit in a particular area to actually leak oil) would fall is not likely to stain your craft, unless your trajectory is aimed at crashing into the debris already (the angle of his capture certainly wasn't).  Even if being hit by oil, it would end up a specks or streaks, not big gobs.  Also, your real view wouldn't be a 2D glass pane of a windshield, obviously.  P.S. I'd like to see a bit more content in your post next time.
See, the problem with criticizing a feature like that because it isn't realistic is flawed reasoning really, because it obviously wasn't an attempt at realism in the first place. I guess it'd be kind of like playing Resident Evil and criticizing it for having Zombies because "zombies don't exist lol".

It just sort of rubbed me the wrong way when I'd heard his dismissive "Whatever dude" tone aimed at something meant to be cinematic, dynamic and fun, rather than realistic or believable.
Thanks for elaborating. I was trying to explain on his behalf, by the way, I think I would need some more playtime, personally. But the realism's still a fair thing to bring up, seeing as the universe is semi-realistic jets, it just might seem all the more jarring.

What I missed on pointing out the first time was also the 'it's like COD' factor. It's one thing to blow up in a ridiculous way, but to make an effect resembling the game everyone's cynicism revolves around, it might just stick out that little bit more.
 
Jan 23, 2010
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Umm.. The video breaks around 1:35 when the reviewer says: "Except for the final battle with the..."

Then it's completely frozen and no audio is playing until he's talking about the multiplayer.
 

Ishigami

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Sep 1, 2011
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I love the Ace Combat series but Assault Horizon is BETRAYL!
I hate it and I think it sucks, the worst Ace Combat I've played.

Might be that DFM improved the MP but I have to say that I give a damn shit about the MP. I only care about the SP and it sucks in AH.
 

RA92

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Jan 1, 2011
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Old series fails to sell well, tries to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Rinse.

Repeat.