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Ace Combat Assault Horizon

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon's Dogfighting Mode Gives Reason For Concern
by Dan Ryckert on Jun 09, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Developer: Namco Bandai
Release: Q1 2013
Rating: Rating Pending
Platform: PC

Ace Combat has always been one of the best flight combat series around, but fans have started getting fatigued by sequels that don't do much to change the format. Namco is trying to add some spice to the franchise with a new dogfighting mode in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, but its implementation in the game's E3 demo is jarring and unpleasant.

Dogfighting mode can be activated once you're close enough to an enemy, and it begins a pursuit sequence. The camera zooms in uncomfortably close, and the camera becomes very jittery. Once you're in this mode, you're supposed to keep the enemy within a circle until it turns red, then you press circle to fire missiles. This mode sees the jets flying between buildings and around obstacles, giving the player the feeling that they're constantly about to crash.

A different demo focuses on helicopter action, and it's much more precise and engaging. Zooming in on rooftop RPG soldiers and handily taking them out with machine gun fire or a barrage of missiles is rewarding, and it felt like a modern version of Desert Strike.

The helicopter action was solid, but I'm concerned about the jets. In its current form, dogfighting mode is one of the worst things I've seen in the entire series. Here's hoping Namco either overhauls it or scraps it entirely.