In the real world there's no competition when it comes to the choice between serving with the Air Force or the Army. Soaring through the skies in a state of the art personal jet, or dodging suicide truck bombers on border patrol. Hmm... that's a tricky one. It's a different story in the world of videogames, though, but the Ace Combat series has taken off where others have crashed and burned and that's a feat that's set to continue on PSP in Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception.
Despite the complex-looking Heads Up Display, Ace Combat X helpfully retains the simple, arcade-style controls of its PS2 forerunners. The emphasis here is on quick, explosive action as opposed to flight manuals as thick as Jade Goody.
Multiplayer is high on the fun agenda. Hook up with three friends and you can Wi-Fi dog-fight across 15 unique environments (although they're all a blur from up here, mate). Alternatively, fly together co-operatively and you can tackle the missions as a squadron of fighters. Either way, you'll get complete freedom to fully customise your aircraft, weapon load and flight performance using spare parts collected during the single-player game.
The other innovation is the 'Strategic AI' system, whereby Ace Combat's mission structure subtly alters depending on the actions taken mid-sortie. Although we're yet to see this in action, Namco promises 'almost limitless replay value' courtesy of the constantly changing mission objectives.
But best of all, Ace Combat X somehow manages to recreate the same awesome feeling of speed you'd get from a real F-15 fighter jet. On a PSP! For sheer white knuckle, stomach emptying gaming, Ace Combat X certainly looks a good bet.
Looks great, flies faster. This could be Top Gun in the palm of your hand.