Reviewed: December 7, 2011
Released:November 15, 2011
I finally acquired my very own Nintendo 3DS and for the last few weeks Iíve been impressively preoccupied with its preloaded offerings and my copy of Zelda. As I dove into my first 3DS review I wasnít prepared for the addictive 3D aerial combat fun of |
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy shares most of its name with the latest console version but veers away from the more realistic Call of Duty styling and returns to its roots. Assault Horizon Legacy features a fictional locale where the two rising superpowers are in a coup on the day of a treaty signing. The rebel forces plan to overthrow the government but theyíll have to contend with Scarface Squadron and you as you assume the role of their ace pilot Phoenix.
You wonít find any helicopter missions in Assault Horizon Legacy, but you will find a whole lot of raining destruction with some of the worldís most famous fighter jets. Iíve loved jets, as probably any guy today can agree, ever since the days of Top Gun and Iron Eagle back when I was a kid in 1986. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy puts that kind of intense action and more importantly fun gameplay into a mobile package. One of the better parts of Assault Horizon Legacy is that they left the bureaucracy behind so while it sounds rather dull at first, your job is to go from one mission to another, get briefed and blow crap up. Could you possibly want anything more than that?
Assault Horizon Legacy handles remarkably well for a portable title with controls that will become second nature almost as soon as you get through the first few missions. The basic controls revolve around you using the L and R shoulder buttons to accelerate/decelerate in the air while using the Circle Pad to steer the plane. To attack you use the planeís guns with the B button and your abundant but exhaustible supply of missiles with the A button. You can also target enemies with the X Button and well as switch between them with the same method. The touch screen can even be used to target enemies as well. The D-pad is utilized to allow you to change between your weapons as well as your radar range quickly.
Itís not until you get to use Attack and Evasive Maneuvers with the use of the Y button and the Circle Pad that things get really interesting. If youíre expecting the same flying around buildings dogfights like in the console versions then youíll be disappointed. Instead youíll be given on screen indicators when you keep on an enemyís tail to activate the chance to loop around and get behind them for a quick kill if youíre lucky. The evasive maneuvers really make you feel like an ace pilot as the game takes over momentarily as you dodge missile fire. When you gain control you can often see the missile graze by and the feeling is one of relief and exhilaration.
The gameplay is insanely addictive but the real questions remains. How are the graphics of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy and is the use of 3D worth the price of admission? I have to say that the game looks really good at a distance especially when viewing sunsets and flying over oceans. Itís only when you get close to the ground that the visuals lose some of their shine and become pixilated. You can even see some jagged edges on the planes, but for the most part Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy has a pretty solid presentation.
The use of 3D is subtle and is used to mainly make the HUD and menus pop of the screen. You really get to see a great use of 3D if you choose to play in cockpit mode. This mode is selectable via the options menu or you can view it in the replays after each mission. Being able so see your victories and favorite dogfights from different viewpoints is pretty cool feature especially when youíre surrounded by 6 plus bogies and evading enemy fire. I also liked the CG quality of the video you see if you leave the game on the title screen after a few minutes.
What I was really impressed with was Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacyís audio quality. The 3DS already boasts the ability to virtualize Surround Sound and in Zelda it was apparent in some locations. In Assault Horizon Legacy it is even more obvious as you hear the roar of jet engine coming to life or the sound of missile and gun fire around you. You can even hear the audio depth as another plane flies past you. Even the calm but loud voice of Ulrich Olsen, which Iím almost positive, is voiced by Richard Epcar (of Ghost in the Shell fame), is sharp and crystal clear even over communication chatter.
If you think the fun ends past the story missions then you would be wrong. Upon completing missions you can unlock challenges as well as the ability to replay each level. Here you can try and get a better score and unlock more planes and plane parts. Besides being an awesome aerial combat title, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy features some RPG elements such as rising in military rank by gaining experience. You can cash in some of that XP and buy new planes as well as weaponry such as my personal favorite the long range missile. You can even see your unlocked planes and saved replays via the Data Viewer. There are a few missed opportunities that they could have utilized like the use of the gyrometrics to fly the planes or the inclusion of Wi-Fi multiplayer. Both of these could have totally put this already great game over the top.
In all fairness though Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy is one of the best aerial combat games that Iíve ever played and the folks over at Namco Bandai delivered another fantastic addition to their critically acclaimed franchise. It has the right amount of action, easy to use and fluid controls and great visuals for a 3DS title. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy is totally worth the price of admission and a must have if you own a Nintendo 3DS.