Ace Combat: Assault Horizon takes on a new approach for the series while providing the same level of epic battles in the sky. If you ever wanted to experience the thrill of a high speed dogfight, we got your game.

Ace Combat feels reinvigorated with the release of 'Assault Horizon.' However, your expectations might not line-up precisely with Project Aces' vision. Ace Combat, known strictly for its air combat takes a more cinematic course, intermixing action with an attached cinematically shot narrative. Penned by military author, Jim DeFelice, a steady cam feel brings in another tale of internation-war. Unexpectedly the production tries to mirror shooters like 'Call of Duty,' although we have to wonder, is the what the public wants out of their air-combat games? This deviation will likely push away the hardcore flight-sim/dogfight crowd, however in retrospect it might attract a new modern audience as well. Under the layers of drama, the “hardcore” configurations are still present, its only the storyline that feels disjointed. Somewhat expected, 'Assault Horizon' excels when it needs; getting down to business when the action starts.

Objectives are your typical defeat a wave of enemies and move onto the next. It's not the most imaginative approach, but that's ok, it is what we expected. The no-nonsense approach feels stark contrasted to 'Ace Combat 6,' but its for the greater good of telling a story while enjoying the magic of in-air-combat. The other inclusions (helicopters, a bomber mission, and door-gunner missions) are an added bonus, however, that if you can wrap your head around them being included in an 'Ace Combat' game. I guess we have a new beast to deal with as Namco Bandai tries to reincarnate the long running series. Frankly, if any franchise needed a fresh coat of paint it is this one.

Inside the cockpit things feel right at home. Missile lock has returned along with a few new tricks. Improving your maneuverability in the sky you will be able use better countering maneuverings to get those missiles off your tail. There is also a fresh Dogfight Mode (DFM) that starts with the click of the button. Instantly you are zoomed into the action and with a great sense of intensity as your aircraft locks on to the enemy to bottlenecked them down. Dogfights are exciting and now with close up environmental damages like flying through burning buildings they are even more satisfying. Expect a rush.

“The pride of the U.S. Army” the Apache Longbow has also been added. Featured, the Aprache showcases how awesome helicopters can be. Controls can be an issue with helicopters, but not to worry here because these birds feel superb. Fighting "air-to-surface" is more challenging then fighting in the sky mainly because of the vertically rising maneuverability of the rotating blade. You can't just swoop in and kill so some tactical planning is encouraged. Thankfully dying doesn't set you back too far thanks to a thoughtful checkpoint system.

The production in 'Assault Horizon' is a step above the series previous works. In full motion this one's a stunner. The mixture of high speed aircrafts, atmospheric clouds and smoke emitting misses looks great... just make sure you keep your speed up. When slowed down things get a "grittier," so focus on putting holes in your adversaries while doing barrel roles through the clouds. Musically we don't have too much variation, but at least the tracks provided are perfectly suited to this style of game. The beats keep a fordable push that keeps things aggressive.

Mutliplayer is a beefy selection of "Ace" that will likely keep enthusiasts up late at night. The focus is a more "arcade-ish" with the inclusion of character based skill sets. Skill sets are basically bonuses like Enhanced Missiles, Extra RKTL (boosts firepower of rocket launchers,) and the list goes upwards to the double digits. There also co-operative style team based missions along with the competitive dogfights for those interested. Destroying an enemy HQ, capture bases or simply fight it out in a Deathmatch, Assault Horizon offers up a strong list of options.

Taking the series in an unexpected route, 'Assault Horizon' provides a more polished, narrative driven game. While this new stance might prematurely take some hardcore veterans out of the mix, once you are in the sky, all is forgotten. Whether you are taking down enemies in a F-22A Raptor or firing at rooftop APG antagonists from the AH-64D Apache Longbow; the intensely never faulters. Air combat games don't come around too often anymore, so if you're any type of fan 'Ace Combat: Assault Horizon' is worth checking out.

  • In the right moments, the narrative isn't half bad
  • A new stylized presentation for the series
  • More than just jets, hop into a Heli, Bomber, or side seated gun
  • Combat in the sky is highly enjoyable
  • Dogfight Mode ups the intensity level
  • Substantial multiplayer offering
  • Story-driven Ace Combat, not exactly what we expected
  • If I wanted to be a “door gunner” I would have played Call of Duty
  • Campaign could have used a scoring/medal system
  • Might alienate the hardcore crowd
Quote: "Taking the series in an unexpected route, 'Assault Horizon' provides a more polished, narrative driven game. While this new stance might prematurely take some hardcore veterans out of the mix, once you are in the sky, all is forgotten."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 10.31.11

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Ace Combat
Assault Horizon

Namco Bandai

Project Aces

Flight Combat

US Release
October '11



Players 1
Co-Op 2-3
Online MP 2-16
Dolby 5.1
HD 720-1080p
D/L Content