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Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Review

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Review

For years, Project Aces has honed its craft as one of the world's premium developers when it comes to combat flight simulators. But with this latest Ace Combat title, they've gone out of their comfort zone and gone into the danger zone. The focus is now on a re-world scenario, and they've also given themselves the challenge of trying to cater for not only their hardcore fanbase, but a new audience of action fans. Many other developers have failed in this endeavour, but Project Aces pass with flying colours.

Previous Ace Combat titles have been centered around a fictional universe, but Assault Horizon is very real. It takes place in the near-distant future where NATO has been assigned to quell an uprising in Africa. In typical style, this then escalates into something much more sinister, as a nuclear-based weapon called "Trinity" is brandished by rebels whose intentions aren't prim and proper.

The quality of the story is there and it shows. Given the talent of the writer that penned it, this kind of quality should be expected. However, it still suffers from the same cliche problems of modern war games. Things happen far too fast, they're all far too predictable/ridiculous and you end up jumping between far too many characters.

It's a shame, because the characters aren't that bad - it's just hard to feel anything for them or get too invested with what they're going through.

The core gameplay is still the same as previous installments, but there have been some modifications to make the game a bit more relevant in today's industry. The first of which is the Close-Range Assault (CRA). In past combat flight games, there was always a frustrating scenario that reared its ugly head. When fighting against strong opposition, you would end up flying around in circles, unable to get them in your sights long enough to get a lock-on. The CRA system rectifies this with consummate ease.

Now, if you're close enough and at a good angle, you're able to engage in close-combat with your target fighter jet. This allows you to chase right behind, and makes the action seem very gritty. It's not "scripted", but you do concede a considerable amount of control during this time. You still have the ability to leave, and you'll need to aim and make sure you keep on their tail, but there are set paths that you'll end up flying through no matter what happens - it takes the allure away a bit, but it did allow the developers to put in some nice spectacles.

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