Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy Review
I recently enjoyed Ace Combat: Assault Horizon on the Xbox 360 and now had the opportunity to play through Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy on the Nintendo 3DS. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy keeps you strictly in the skies in this version and I enjoyed every moment of it. It does come with a few issues though, which I will get into.
This has the feeling of an old school story set up with the general giving you orders to go and complete a mission. That’s how the story is set up in this title as there isn’t much going for it besides your mission briefings. Compared to the rest of the series it’s pretty basic. You will be going up against rebel forces and attacking both of their air and ground forces from the skies above. You will also run into their special ace squadrons to go head to head against as well. Story mode features a number of missions for you to play in and a few times it will give you multiple paths to take as you continue from mission to mission. The missions vary in type as you will have your basic dogfight missions, bombing runs and escort missions. The levels really aren’t anything to special though until you face the ace squadrons.
One of the first things I did was go into the settings and changed up the controls so that I could have classic control over the regular control. I like having full control of my aircraft using the more realistic controls. The gameplay took me some time to get use to as it comes off slightly different than what you may expect. It doesn’t feel as fast and at times it even feels like you’re moving pretty slowly until you get close to the ground. The slowness especially appears when facing enemies because it feels as if they are almost just sitting in front of you when you chase them down and line them up for a shot. It’s really not a bad thing but it just seems a little odd. This also doesn’t mean that they are sitting ducks for you to shoot down either.
Piloting the plane still feels really good and the better the plane, the better the controls will be. One thing that I didn’t learn until near the end of the game was that you can also perform high G turns which helps you turn a lot quicker, but it does slow you down. That is a useful maneuver at times. Also, as I had it on classic controls, when you switch to that you have the option to yaw left or right with the thumb pad. This is mighty helpful when you play with the classic controls and it’s a little difficult to use with it being on the D pad. I still did it and made it work, and that’s really the best and only option they had for that. That is what my greatest challenge was with the controls, as the rest felt pretty good.
Another feature in the fighting is the attack maneuver. When you are in range of an enemy you can press the Y button and your aircraft will automatically line you up behind the enemy. When you press Y it shows you a nice visual of your plane making that maneuver which looks just beautiful and especially in 3D. This certainly makes the game a bit easier when you have this option instead of having to do it all on your own. But it’s a good option and certainly a fun one. Plus, it doesn’t always work either as the enemy plane can evade. Speaking of evading, when missiles are fired upon you, you will once again push Y though you have to also pick a correct direction that will be displayed for you to avoid the missile. One of the negative things that I need to make note of while in combat was that a few times during intense battle situations there seemed to be some pretty noticeable slowdowns. While it didn’t effect me too badly it was still noticeable.
Another one of the features is the touch screen targeting system and firing by double clicking on the touch screen. These controls are not necessary at all and something that I did not use except to try them out. It’s a nice feature for sure and one I am sure a lot of people will experiment with, but when you are in the middle of combat it’s hard to take your hands off the controls and put your focus on the touch screen. It was easier for me to quickly tap X to target a new plane. However, it’s still fun to replay some missions and purposely try out the touch screen. The touch screen does have it’s uses as that is were the map, missile count, score, speed and altitude are located. Though speed and altitude are also found on the main screen with the HUD view.
One of the other options that I changed in the settings were my view from 3rd person to HUD. Playing in 3rd person view is great and the plane looks awesome; however, I like my first person approach to flying and that is what I went with and enjoyed the most. I could easily see myself switching up on that every once in awhile just to get a fresh experience and have fun that way. Going into the visuals though the game looks fantastic when it comes to the planes. Even the skies and the sea look great though sometimes the ground can look a little plain and boring. The mountain ranges look decent in 3D and overall the 3D looks really good. It’s even more nice when you are flying fast and you can view the air rushing past your screen. I played the entire time with the 3D slider all the way up and ran into no issues outside of one time where I thought I got a bit of shadowing. It also looks pretty good as well with the slider turned down some.
Some of the extra features you will find outside of Story Mode are Challenge Mode in which you can play previous completed story mode missions. There is also survival missions as well as extra missions for those pilots who want a real good challenge. These missions will be unlocked during your play of Story Mode along with other unlockable features. There are also medals for you to unlock in the game that will provide you with some extra gameplay to try and opportunities to achieve those special conditions to unlock the medals. Also from the beginning you will start out with only one aircraft where you will have to unlock the rest and this will take you some time. You will unlock additional weapons and upgrades for your aircraft as well as you play through and gain experience points. You can also save your replays from your game and view them again in the replay viewer.
You have three choice difficulties to choose from when you start out and I went through it on normal difficulty. I didn’t have the toughest time at all as I found it to be pretty easy going outside of a few slip ups. So you may want to go for the higher challenge or leave that for the second time through. Also, I should make note that each mission you complete ranks you. It keeps track of your score, clear time and aircraft that you used to complete that mission. So that also adds to the additional replay value to go back to missions to try and clear them faster and to get a higher ranking and score.
I love the Ace Combat series and flight games in general, so of course this was a game I needed to get my hands on and I am glad that I did. I had a great time playing through this title as it provides for good air combat. It has a good amount of missions with good replayability and provides you with good bonus content to unlock as well. All of those things will keep you busy for awhile and I still believe this is a title that you will come back to from time to time. It shouldn’t be a one time play through title, at least it won’t be for me. Ace Combat fans should definitely pick this title up even though it is not perfect, but if you like to fly around and want to fly in 3D then this is a good choice. It also features a good and enjoyable soundtrack. One last thing I must mention is that everything is always better when you have the F-22.