|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Project Aces||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: Oct. 23, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Philip Hanan
June 29, 2007 - Ace Combat, a series which hasn't changed much except for 3, the anime styled game, is truly reaching for the next generation in terms of graphics, gameplay, and story. Yes, it's still about fighting jets rushing through the sky, shooting and bombing targets, but the experience feels so much more human. You no longer feel removed from the human element of war and the game no longer feels like just a game.
The graphics of the jets are very close to photorealisism and are based upon 20 licensed jets including the F-15 E Strike Eagle, F-22 Raptor, and the A-10 Warthog. You can pilot in third person or in first, which delivers an extremely realistic cockpit experience. Even better are the environments themselves which truly look photorealistic. It's as if you were on Google Maps, checking out cities below. There's no word whether the detail is that good if you swoop by a building, but that's just kind of dangerous, you know?
Speaking of danger, the game tones it down a bit during the first few missions which act as training missions, but later, the missions get dangerous, and you'll need help. Once you build up a special meter, you can either ask allies to cover you or attack the enemy, which is something new to the AC series. To use allies, you only need to look at them and press up or down on the D-Pad. If you use allies in each mission, you'll have more later on in the game. It's a bit like unlocking characters in a fighting game.
As far as enemies are concerned, they too bring a more humanistic approach to the game as their A.I. has been upgraded. Both individual planes and and formations will act more skillfully. Think of the game as a "Stealth" type experience, only you fight planes without annoying voices and there's not Jamie Foxx to help you.
Another big part of the more human-like game is the story. A group of planes launch an attack on King's Bridge in the fictional home city of Gracemeria. You scramble to defend your home and then go on missions to destroy the enemy. There's lots of cutscenes with dramatic acting and high quality sound in between fight scenes, helping mold the game into a cinematic-like experience.
If you truly want to make the game a unbelievable experience, then you should pick up the Ace Edge Stick and throttle controller by Namco. The stick is very similar to a real jet's flight stick and the throttle is very similar to a real throttle. Just push gently on the throttler to go forward and use the stick to move around in true 3D. Take that, Six-Axis controllers! It makes sense that Namco didn't want to develop Ace Combat 6 for the PS3. 360 controllers are just amazing to look at and use due to their high development quality. Also, the 360's online program Live has always been attractive to most gamers and Namco is going to use that to support online gameplay, including the following matches: Deathmatch, team deathmatch, and cooperative play, where friends can take down A.I. controlled jets.
Ace Combat 6 is looking to be one of the best simulations in console history, and by far, the best Ace Combat game in the series. I recommend it for all flying game aces, Ace Combat fans, and fans of unique controllers, such as the NegCon, GunCon, R.E.4 Chainsaw, Bongo Drums, etc. Look for it this fall.
CCC Freelance Writer