|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 Matthew Walker
Top Gun might not have been an Oscar worthy film. However, there is one thing no young child can ever say they did not do: think they were the coolest person in the world when they heard "Highway to the Danger Zone." Throughout life, people have always wanted to be a pilot flying at break neck speeds saving those who need to be saved. Really, it should come as no surprise that people love flight simulator games. In addition to that less than shocking revelation, it is equally no surprise that the franchise Ace Combat has been at the forefront of console flight simulators for several years. Can Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation lock them in further or make it seem like it might be time to hang up our aviator glasses and leather bomber jacket?
Just like Top Gun, the anthem movie for all future flyers, the story in Ace Combat is fairly weak and maybe even a bit confusing. Clocking in at around to six hours for a completion time for all Air Force aviators and throw in some impending deaths and failed missions, and you are looking at some impressive longevity in playing the game. With 15 missions to glide through the clouds in, you can search out a few various surprises. Several of the missions you are sent on will have sub-objectives for you to achieve. Sometimes up to six of these missions can be accomplished during the first run, but mostly you'll want to attempt these in another run through. In fact, you'll have to play through the missions once more to fully unlock the truly beautiful gameplay. The missions do a wonderful job making you feel like you have some kind of value in the war going on around you, whether it be giving it your all in the skies or providing aerial support for the ground forces below. I've never really got into the actual missions of a flight simulator more than I have with this game.
This is aided mostly by the controls. The controls of a flight simulator have come a long way to avoid the constant yearning for a flight stick to control the navigation of your favorite aircraft. Another area that Ace Combat 6 excels at is the various planes that you can pilot, including the F-15 Strike Eagle and F22 Raptor. While at first I was a little intimidated by how differently the planes would handle in accordance I have to admit that not once did I feel the controls were vastly different or horrendous to adjust to. It would have been nice to have greater ease functionality with the various planes, but I appreciate the lengths taken to authenticate that play.
The single player mode is fun enough and will keep you playing for a bit, but the co-op missions you play will make you wish for some downloadable content in the near future for you and some friends. Co-op may be very similar to the regular missions, except for the one little feature of penalizations for having a friend fresh out of aviation school. To clarify, when on your own and you die, you spawn and continue the mission as is more or less, but when accompanied by friends, your death will shave off some precious time in order to complete your mission. While it may not be perfect, it certainly is heading along the trails of making harmonious co-op gameplay in future installments.