Ace Combat Assault Horizon is an interesting game. Writing this post is really conflicting. A part of me wants to really recommend the game to others while another part of me just want to say that it is not worth playing. Ace Combat does a lot of things right that previous Ace Combats failed to do. The combat, flying, and even the story is better. However it still falls back to it’s old roots by having long missions that gets really repetitive by the end.
Ace Combat would be an amazing game if the missions were just a little bit shorter. There were many times during the missions when I asked myself “Really? They’re making me do this again?” The missions are only about 20-35 minutes long but even then I wish they were only about 15 minutes long. Fortunately each missions are unique to each other. One mission requires you to bomb naval ships while another require you to use a helicopter to save ground troops from incoming attack. Even though each mission goals are unique, the game forces the player to repeat this task at least 5 times each mission. One mission where you have to take out incoming bombers before they blow up Dubai requires the player to take out 5 waves of bombers. Five! Each wave has at least 4 bombers with 3 enemy airplanes for each bomber. The first 2-3 waves are a blast but I got tired of doing the same thing afterwards. The weird thing is that the next mission would make the player do something fresh which would really get me pumped up and excited only to be let down by the repetitive structure of the goal. I really wish that these missions would have been shorter. I clocked in at 8 hours and I felt that the game cheated me on that because of these long missions. I would have liked more missions but shorter burst.
Another thing that really didn’t make sense is the aforementioned helicopter sequences. Though there are only 2 in the game, I felt that these missions were just dragging the game. They’re even longer than the airplane missions which I already mention that I didn’t like. Even worse is that the helicopter controls are horrible. They fly really clunky and some of the buttons are mapped weird. The button to shoot machine guns in a jet is the A button while you use the triggers to shoot the machine guns in a helicopter. I get that the developers wanted to make some kind of a shooter type level but it doesn’t make sense to change the controls. Another weird change was how use button combinations to dodge missiles. You press the RB+LB button to dodge missiles but you press the RB button to shoot missiles. I found myself shooting the missiles myself as I was trying to dodge them. Someone should have looked into the controls or at least let these controls be customizable.
One more thing that really didn’t make sense is the turret levels. There are two missions with this type of gameplay also and they both felt out of place. Using the turret is fine but it really gets tedious when you’re doing it for 30 minutes. It plays like a rail shooter but imagine a turret sequence where you’re in one place for 10 minutes shooting at the same stuff. Yea not so fun.
Aside from the long missions, helicopters and turret sequences, the game is a blast to play. Flying around the jets were always exhilarating. There were certain moments when I had my mouth open because of the amazing visuals the game had. Flying through a storm only to fly higher and see no more rain was a nice touch the developers added. The environments and weather effects they added made the flying so much more immersive. The missions as mentioned before were really different from each other. One mission in particular was so simple but yet really amazing. It involved chasing after a missile that was going into space to target the united states. All you’re really doing is chasing the missile vertically but trying to dodge the missile’s rocket flames as you’re trying to shoot it down is one of the most impressive part of the game.
The new mechanic that they added called Dog-Fight mode is also a great feature. It takes the flight controls away from the player and makes the player take aim and try to shoot down the enemy. Most of the time, the enemy will try to run away from you in some of the most amazing airplane chase sequences I’ve seen in a game. Flying through buildings and over stadiums as building are crumbling over you is an amazing feeling. You have to speed up to try to get a better lock on but enemies may sometime try to trick you and make you fly straight into a building. Even though you don’t have much flight controls, the auto follow the game does when in Dog-Fight mode isn’t perfect that it’ll just follow the plane everywhere. You still have to keep the lock on to the enemy aircraft or else you’ll be taken out of the Dog-Fight mode. The Dog-Fight mode really makes the game much more interesting as you’re not just flying around trying to lock on to the enemy and shooting a missile. Though you can still do that, I found myself trying to get into the Dog-Fight mode as much as possible. The Dog-Fight is a feature that was really needed to Ace Combat games and I hope this feature goes over to the next Ace Combat games.
The multiplayer mode is interesting too as the Dog-Fight mode goes over to the multiplayer. It get hectic as everyone usually goes into this mode and you can clearly see planes trying to fly away from one another as there might be 4 jets chasing each other. Though I didn’t play much multiplayer, I was surprise to really enjoy the time I had with it.
Ace Combat is a conflicting thing to write about. I really want to recommend this game to people but the missions might get too long and repetitive for people. I stuck with it because I wanted to see what other unique missions that the game had to offer. I’m glad that I stuck with it because the end missions were one of the best in the game. They were also short too so that might had to do something with it. If you’re into flight combat games I would say to try this game out as it adds new features that you would think wouldn’t work in these types of games. Though they might have added too many features with helicopters and turrets, I believe the new addition of the Dog-Fight mode really makes the game worth playing.