Game – Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (Rated T for Teen)
Version – Nintendo 3DS
Obtained – Review copy from Namco Bandai
Reviewer – Steve Cullum
The critically acclaimed aerial combat series flies onto the Nintendo 3DS in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy. While it looks pretty, does it also pack a punch in other aspects? Read on to find out.
Story & Plot
You are a pilot for USEA Allied Forces, a group of nations who have joined forces against two world superpowers. However, the northern and western nations are strongly against a specific treaty between the southern nations and the Osean Federation. A band of conservative extremist have staged a military coup, and the allied forces have initiated their retaliation attack. You have been chosen for this mission as a member of Special Tactical Squadron “Scarface,” a part of Operation: Fighter’s Honor, to take out the rebel forces.
From the menu, you are given ability to jump into the story, pursue specific challenge modes (unlocked as you progress), view your game data, and change options within the game. As you begin the story, you are briefed on each mission, given the ability to choose your airplane, gear, and (sometimes) your wing-man. Then, you are off to the skies to take on whatever mission awaits you. After you complete your mission, you are debriefed and given a ranking based on how you performed. In addition, you can even keep a video copy of your mission by saving it to your SD card. Unfortunately, you cannot share these videos with anyone.
Gameplay & Controls
Each mission is pretty straight forward. Sometimes you will be shooting down rebel pilots. Other times, you could be taking out targets on the ground. Still, other times, you could be shooting down supplies dropped from enemy airplanes. Usually, you will complete the initial mission, and then go back to your base. On occasion, though, harder enemies will surprise you afterward. It is very easy to understand what you are to do each time, and you will rarely get confused.
Ace Combat feels great. It is not a simple flying game, as you will find a slightly higher learning curve than something like Star Fox. However, the controls are fully customizable. This includes changing which buttons fire which weapons to inverting the axis for flight. If you prefer, you can even change the language for the subtitles. With all these options, you are sure to find the control scheme that works for you, which is just another strong point to this game.
Graphics & Sound
Every aspect of Ace Combat looks amazing on the 3DS screen. You do not have to play with the 3D on, but it is highly recommended. It gives a depth that really adds to the gameplay. The only problem is that you may end up moving around while flying, if you are that type of pilot. If so, you may drop out of the 3D “sweet spot,” so just be careful not to move around quite a bit. You are able to change the in-game view from third-person, cockpit, and HUD view. I prefer the third-person view myself. There are few animated cut-scenes in the game, but when they do show up, they are also very good.
The music during the menu is some sort of Japanese slow pop style, but during gameplay, you will get a variety of orchestral music that fits very well to the feeling of flying in the open sky during combat. Sounds are spot-on, and it sounds great coming out of the 3DS speakers. However, if you plug in a set of headphones, you will be even more drawn into the combat.
In all honesty, there are very few things to be said against this game. In fact, all I can think of is the lack of multiplayer. Connecting with a friend for a local or online dogfight would have been a great addition. In the end, though, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy is an excellent game. If you are a fan of flying games, you have to get this today.
FINAL SCORE: 4.5 out of 5
Here is a video I shot off-screen of the opening song and video sequence.
Here is a video I shot off-screen of Mission 02.