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Nintendo 3DS Game Review
Ace Combat, in its many incarnations has been going for a while now, publishing eighteen games across a number of differing games machines. Its latest incarnation, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+ on the 3DS is a retooling of an earlier form of the game, published by Bandai Namco Games.
Once again the game takes you to the fictional land of Usea, part of the Earth like planet of Strangereal. So alike are the planets that only the different land masses distinguish them. In this story a coup d’état erupts forcing the creation of a special operational unit, the Operation Fighters Honour. Good excuse to take to the skies and blow the pogies out of the opposition.
The first thing I noticed was that the 3D was impressive in the game. I’ll be honest with the older 3DS, I could kind of see what the games were attempting to do, but mostly the effect was more akin to those postcards you used to get. So, I don’t know if it’s the upgraded 3DS or better algorithms in the game, but the 3D is very effective in-game.
The game has gone for a hybrid arcade experience, with options to upgrade and acquire via the amiibo system, although this is somewhat limited at the time. You missions are fairly short, most will take about ten minutes to complete, and consist of things like protecting other aircraft from enemy fights and going on strike missions which inevitably involve a whole lot of exciting dog fighting. A quick run through should take about four hours on easy difficulty.
The physics are those of the arcade, apart from stalling and crashing, so the plane flies very intuitively and not like it would in real life, you can also choose to play the mission on three different difficulty levels, although be warned this cannot be changed once the story mode has been commenced.
In-game, the circle pad is used to control the direction of flight with the cross buttons allowing you to access the radar map and change weapons. On your right you can target a plane with the X, fire a missile with A, and B controls the gun. The shoulder buttons are used to throttle and break.
While flying, your screen shows your altitude on the right and your acceleration on the left. If you encounter an enemy plane your HUD will highlight it and turn red when you’ve locked on. The top screen shows you the action and the environments. Clouds and ground are detailed. The lower screen shows your radar as well as any communications with base and your weapons levels.
Get through a mission and you can watch the whole thing again like a mini movie with the option to change the camera angle. Missions award you rewards which can be put towards upgrades and your rank, you can also pick up new stuff by destroying Nintendo blocks, found through the game. As you complete missions more manoeuvres become available, allowing you to attack and evade more efficiently, these are triggered with the Y button and displays a short and exciting cinematic of the manoeuvre.
Each mission commences with a briefing from Olsen, with tactical data represented on the top screen, and then your off. The arcade experience is fast and a hell of a lot of fun. Flying through the stratosphere, throwing your plane recklessly around the skies with a palpable joy every time you blow an enemy out of the sky.
There is a lot of replay to be had in the game; not only through acquiring different aircraft, but progression through the story mode unlocks other types of missions. Overall, it is a good addition to the franchise.
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