Ace Combat: Assault Horizon revitalizing the series

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Don’t look at Ace Combat: Assault Horizon as just another Ace Combat game. This is a complete revitalization of the series, and one that I’m truly excited for. Past Ace Combat games (and even stuff like Ubisoft’s H.A.W.X. series) are fun, but get boring for meafter the first couple of hours. These flight games have just never truly captured that Hollywood-like feel when it comes to jet combat.

Developer Project Aces is looking to change that up though, as Assault Horizon is introducing a new mechanic called the Close Range Assault system that puts the combat right in your face. Oh, and before you continue on, the trailer you just watched is all in-game footage. That’s really the player controlling the action, not just some cinematic!

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Developer: Project Aces
Publisher: Namco Bandai
To be released: 2011

You still have the standard way of playing Ace Combat, of course. You’re flying around, taking shots at your enemies as you normally would and so forth. The kew now is that Close Range Assault puts you right on the ass of the enemy jet.

Once a player has a target in sight, they can press the left and right bumpers on the Xbox 360 controller and the camera pushes in, putting it right behind your plane, similar to the over-the-shoulder perspective in standard third-person shooters. So long as you’re keeping your target within a red ring called the Assault Circle, you’ll be hunting down your opponent until you’ve taken them out.

The machine gun on your jets finally serve a real purpose now, thanks to CRA mode. You can still use your missiles and such, but it’s actually fun gunning down enemy ships, especially as the jet are shredded to pieces.

If you manage to lose the enemy from your Assault Circle, they’ll get on your six instead, and you’ll have to preform a Counter Maneuver in order to shake the enemy and get back behind them. You have to press the button at the right time, otherwise you might get taken down yourself. It wasn’t clear if this was a reward for nailing the Counter Maneuver, but when Assault Horizon’s Executive Producer Kazutoki Kono nailed the Counter Maneuver, he instantly shot off four sidewinder missiles that took down four separate planes.

As for the single-player story campaign, it’s the year 2015, and Africa has developed Weapons of Mass Destruction. You play as multiple characters, including main man William Bishop, who must put a stop to Africa’s destructive plans. Unlike past Ace Combat games, the action takes place in our real world that was shaped by Project Aces with help from real military adviser Jim DeFelice.

I am really excited for this new Ace Combat. The action is all right in your face, and it just looks so brutal in action. A lot of games have been re-launching their brand as of late and in most cases, it’s completely unnecessary. I welcome this new take when it comes to the Ace Combat series however.

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