Ace Combat: Joint Assault Review
Ace Combat: Joint Assault box art
System: PSP Review Rating Legend
Dev: Namco-Bandai 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Namco-Bandai 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Aug. 31, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-8 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

On the plus side, the gameplay still has its moments. Although Joint Assault starts you out with some comparatively underpowered or uninteresting planes, the hangar feature from X is back in full force, allowing you to pimp out your favorite jets or buy new ones. The upgrade system is a nice touch and it’s a good thing Project Aces brought it back for this installment.

Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot

Some of the planes may feel stiff, but wait until you pick up some of the more advanced fighters; they make tracking and dogfighting noticeably easier (a blessing given the PSP single analog nub). After the semi-auto maneuvering mechanic used in The Sky Crawlers, you would think Project Aces could have utilized the triangle button or D-pad to pull off barrel rolls or quick turn arounds, but no dice. Finally, missions usually don’t deviate much from “blow up this” or “protect that,” but there’s enough variation in the action that things never feel completely stale, particularly with the right aircraft. Some optional “mini-games” break up the action as well, though these are actually just more mundane tasks like taking off from a runway or refueling in mid-air.

The game does a good job of sweeping you up in the moment, despite some of its more mundane issues. When you’re flying against a series of foes that are more than competent, dogfighting can still be a thrill, particularly when you’re playing chicken with someone miles into the sky. Showdowns like this are what Ace Combat has always been about, and in that regard, at least if you’re piloting the right jet, holding a collision course position in order to get a lock on with your missiles can be pretty satisfying. Kudos to Project Aces for actually making the machine guns work effectively, as well.

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Breaking point moments like these can only make up so much time spent playing the game, however. Because of that, whether or not you have any interest in Joint Assault is probably going to depend on a few other factors. Obviously, fans of Ace Combat will want it just because it's a new installment in the venerable series, and multiplayer-centric PSP owners looking for their next Peace Walker-style co-op experience might be interested, at least if they like flight sims. It’s kind of silly the developers decided to use the whole real world setting in a way that doesn’t take advantage of either the PSP’s hardware or the narrative, it seems like they could have spent more time creating a game that echoed their last portable installment less if they hadn’t, but for what it is, it’s still not bad (it is still Ace Combat after all). Joint Assault might not be the strongest entry in the series (though you can’t realistically expect a portable installment to necessarily measure up to a more advanced console version), but true solo-flying aces may want to consider a rental before committing to this sortie.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.8
Graphics
Joint Assault’s aircraft look good, but this is no Peace Walker or Kingdom Hearts.
3.2
Control
It’s odd that Project Aces didn’t utilize every button on the PSP’s limited control layout, but Joint Assault tries hard to work and does a decent job.
3.2
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Most of the music is good, although its spastic collection of tracks is all over the map. Otherwise, this sounds like an Ace Combat game, complete with embarrassing dialogue.
3.3
Play Value
Joint Assault is decent fun if you can get past its yawn-worthy elements.
3.4
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Play the single-player mode alone or with up to three wingmen in co-op mode.
  • Take part in multiplayer battles with up to 8 players.
  • Experience freedom in free play mode.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge Ace Combat: Joint Assault screenshot - click to enlarge

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