Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Winging it

Project Aces have tried so hard to take the repetition out of the repetitious act of shooting down planes. This is the biggest Ace Combat ever, and that almost makes it the best, right up to the point where the newfound variety gets in the way of the simple joy of just blowing up planes.

There's more game here than in any other Ace Combat, with a
real-world story, gunner, chopper and bomber missions all seasoning the usual ten hours of plane-shootery. The story makes no sense but you won't care, the chopper missions are dull but there aren't many, and the combat is good enough to make you wish there were more of it.


Fans feared Dogfight Mode - locking you to the rear of an enemy plane in a game of move and counter-move - would be a game-breaker. In fact, it's just another part of your offensive repertoire and is no less 'authentic' or cheap than the 200 multi-lock missiles bolted to every plane.

At its best it's an alternative - a way to break the 'lock-on, fire, forget, repeat' drudgery. At its worst, Project Aces use Dogfight Mode to take you on a CoD rollercoaster ride. Enemy Aces can usually only be engaged in Dogfight Mode and they put up an exciting fight, but some enemies stay airborne no matter how many bullets they eat.

They'll fly low, zip between skyscrapers, and meet their end in a spectacular crash. It is pure bullshit - a scripted set piece designed to fool the rubes - and Ace Combat at its very worst.

Ace Combat always did one thing well, and that's still true; the chopper and bomber bits just get in the way of that one great thing. But if that's what it takes to win back the mass market for Ace Combat 8, then we can take a bit of chopper crap, as an interlude before we return to Assault Horizon's skies.

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The verdict

The best Ace Combat plane missions ever, seasoned with some rubbish helicopter bits nobody but the guys editing together the ads really wanted

  • Dog fighting over some of the world's most famous cities
  • Lots of planes blowing up
  • Poorly-defined mission objectives
  • Boring helicopter bits
Xbox 360
Namco Bandai
Namco Bandai
Flight Sim, Action, Adventure