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Ace Combat Assault Horizon: A new maverick?

H.A.W.X. beware... missile lock is confirmed...

If you're looking for the Top Gun of plane sims on console, IL-2 Sturmovik is the daddy. Its old school flavour might not be enough for the jet fighter generation though, in which case we'd definitely recommend taking Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation for a spin.

We had one big beef with that Project Ace shooter though; it was just a little too... Japanese for our tastes. So the devs' decision to bring some Western flavour to their latest plane game Assault Horizon - bizarrely but beguilingly triggered by their love for Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare - is welcome and has resulted in a cool 'don't shoot until you can see the whites of their eyes' combat.

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We know - it's a tricky one to get your head around. Relax though Ace fans: this isn't a reboot but rather a reinterpretation of what makes supersonic combat so thrilling.

Enter the 'Close Range Assault' mechanic, an ultra cinematic riff on chase cams where you'll stalk - and be stalked - before demolishing bogeys with gore and gun metal-splattered takedowns.

This'll involve weaving in and out of skyscrapers and getting up close and personal at far lower altitudes than you're used to.

BISHOP BASHING
The fantasy settings are also history - no more Republics of Emmeria and Estovakia, thank heavens - with real-world locales including Africa and Russia.

The main focus of the narrative revolves around an ace pilot called Bishop, who gets caught up in a nuclear furore. Yada yada. Anyways, in a similar fashion to CoD you'll be experiencing the playing out of the saga through various perspectives - including (in a series first) a chopper pilot... think less speed, more strategy.

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With all these fairly major renovations enveloped in a new graphical shell that really does its high-octane subject matter justice, it's plane (arf) to see that Project Aces are pressing hard to establish their baby as the CoD of the skies. From what we've seen so far, they might just hit the target.

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