Feeds
75%
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Wings and roundabouts

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Air fix

A green circle indicates when close enough to engage DFM. Hold L2 and R2 and the camera snaps behind your plane as it automatically follows the enemy's manoeuvres, leaving you to make fine adjustments to keep the enemy within the aiming reticule. Once it turns red, your missiles are guaranteed to hit home.

DFM also helps to shake off enemy fighters. By hitting the air brakes and overlapping red and green threat markers on your HUD, holding L2 and R2 pulls of a special manoeuvre to outfox your pursuer and bring them directly into your sights.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Scuse me while I hit the sky

There's a catch, though. You're unable to evade missiles when engaged in DFM. It's a clever move to prevent the technique from out-muscling gameplay. A fine balance is required between aggressive and defensive flying, and you'll need to keep a close eye on the CoD-style damage system to alert you when to disengage from close pursuit.

That recharging health system may be too reductive for purists - permitting several missile hits and minor collisions with buildings and the ground before your plane explodes - but it's a good fit for the game's arcade sensibilities. As are the occasional boss encounters, time-limited dogfights requiring you to down large bombers or cruise missiles with frankly ludicrous amounts of ordnance.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Light at the end of the turret

While highly implausible, boss encounters at least bring variety to regular combat. Despite the robust and engaging mechanics and aggressive enemy AI, with each level comprising a 30-minute dogfight, the mainstay of combat flies dangerously close to repetitiveness. Mounted gun and helicopter levels help spice gameplay up and, in truth, are so well executed, they'd slot effortlessly into any Triple-A shooter – especially those providing close fire support to ground troops from the door gun of a UH-60 Blackhawk. But their overuse in those other games and their heavily scripted enemy routines here lessen their appeal.

Repetition is also a factor in Assault Horizon's multiplayer. The crossover of aerial combat and Call of Duty's progression system, perks and killstreaks feels familiar yet fresh. Gameplay is surprisingly well balanced to accommodate fighters, mixed-role and ground attack planes, and even helicopters - nowhere more so than in Capital Conquest and Domination, cleverly considered modes which promote team play across the full spectrum of aircraft. But while human opposition adds renewed vigour to dogfighting, extending Assault Horizon's longevity, the arcade mechanics and repetitious nature of DFM ultimately curtail the experience.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Bombers away

Verdict

The combination of balls-to-the-floor speed, simple yet effective flight controls and novelty in its Dog Fighting Mode brings a paradigm shift to the aerial combat genre. Displacing the FPS as Generalissimo of videogame warfare remains as unlikely as ever, but thanks to Assault Horizon, the genre at least deserves a promotion. ®

More Games Reviews

Dark Souls Rage Ico & Shadow of the
Colossus Collection
Rise of
Nightmares
F1 2011

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

75%
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

Namco Bandai achieves air supremacy with a successful reboot of its Ace Combat series. Available on PS3 (tested) and Xbox 360.
Price: £40 RRP

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
iPAD-FONDLING fanboi sparks SECURITY ALERT at Sydney airport
Breaches screening rules cos Apple SCREEN ROOLZ, ok?
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
The British Museum plonks digital bricks on world of Minecraft
Institution confirms it's cool with joining the blocky universe
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.