Yesterday came the announcement of Ace Combat: Assault Heroes, a new game from Project Aces and Namco-Bandai that had a bit of a different feel to it from the Ace Combat games of the past. And today, I'm still sitting here wondering how I feel about it. As a long-time Ace Combat fan, and someone who bought his PS2 originally for Ace Combat 04, I've had some good times and bad times with the series, but I don't yet know where this is going to fit in.
On one hand ... it looks good, at least. Hopefully the trailer represents how the game will actually look, I mean, and isn't ten times better than how Assault Heroes will look in the end. And the helicopter parts don't bug me a whole lot, as it might add an interesting twist if you have to pilot one here and there, or if you could play the same level, but have different objectives because you've selected a different type of craft. If done right, it could be tremendously satisfying.
But my main worry is that in pushing for realism, Ace Combat will be more and more pigeonholed into being more like H.A.W.X. or a sim game and allow for less wiggle room. Like Josh said yesterday, this is a series known for having giant flying carriers that can shoot cruise missiles out of them, or massive rail guns in the middle of the desert or giant bases with ICBMs and lasers. Put it here, and we can't have that. Any of that. And that's a tiny little piece of Ace Combat that's gone. And on top of it, from the trailer, it already sounds like that's the old "Americans vs. Russians/Soviets" storyline is going to happen here, with the enemy ace's name as Marakov (man, that Modern Warfare 2 guy sure gets around!) and his nickname of Akula, or "shark" in Russian.. It's nothing we haven't seen before, after all, right? Not like it was the underlying basis for a ton of action films and video games over the past 15 years, right?
So we'll have to see how it all shakes out. I'm willing to give this new Ace Combat a fair shake ... but I just hope it doesn't let me down. I can deal with it being in the real world. I can't deal with it being just another real-world combat simulator, something it hasn't been before.