Ace Combat: Assault Horizon – Demo Impressions

I played as two separate characters in two separate locations in the demo.

It’s a different article but a familiar introduction. I’ve begun a few articles by stating I’m familiar with a series but have never played a related game and Ace Combat is no exception. However, I played the recently released demo for Ace Combat: Assault Horizon and was surprised by how much I liked it.

The demo had two missions. The first took place in the skies above Miami as I flew in a jet aircraft. I engaged in many dogfights and was introduced to a new mechanic for the series called “Close-Range Assault”. Some enemies could only be defeated by entering CRA. To do so I had to stay on their tail until a circle flashed around them; I then pressed L2 and R2 (or the triggers for the Xbox 360) and I was locked onto to the enemy. The view changed to a much closer shot and the camera was shakier; I thought it was intense. I had a blast controlling my plane and shooting down the enemies. The plane was very maneuverable and fun to pilot, yet it still felt like it had weight.

The second mission took place in Africa and much closer to the ground; this time I was piloting a helicopter. For this mission I was providing air support to soldiers on the ground as they were entering a town and taking objectives. It was fun to play from this perspective but this mission dragged on. Controlling the helicopter gave me more to think about. I quickly changed views as the helicopter continually obscured my vision. To take out enemies effectively I would zoom in on them which would lock me onto them and fire away. I had a few neat special weapons but that’s basically all I did in this mission and it took way too long.

While the HUD initially appears cluttered, you'll soon learn what to focus on.

So honestly I really liked fifty percent of the demo. The first mission was super fun to play. Piloting the plane was fun, the soundtrack added to the thrilling feeling of shooting down bogies and CRA was intense. The second mission was really cool in concept (providing air support) but it had me doing the same thing for too long. The demo boasts that there are more aircraft in the game as well as a story penned by an acclaimed author so the single player sounds diverse. It also features a multiplayer component, although the demo didn’t have access to this so I can’t comment on it. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon was developed by the Project Aces team within Namco Bandai Games, who will publish it when it releases for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 3, 2011.

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