It's time to head back to the skies, with the seventh title in the Ace Combat series, Assault Horizon.
When I first set eyes on Assault Horizon I was impressed. From the striking visuals, exhilarating music and fast gameplay. I was in the air and shooting down enemies instantly. After a short while playing I realised this is a different Ace Combat to what I have come to love. It's changed dreamlessly from it's predecessors, but I don't think of it as a bad thing. Compared to previous titles, Assault Horizon focuses more on fast gameplay and explosions. It still has it's core gameplay but there's a lot of new elements, with some working better than others.
One of the new features in Assault Horizon is the Dog Fight mode. When tailing an enemy you can trigger a Dog Fight. This turns into a on rails shooter. Your Aircraft will follow the target automatically and you only have control over weapons and aiming. It does display some impressive action set pieces with your Aircraft evading buildings and explosions, but it makes destroying enemies far to easy and with it's limited controls, it becomes tiresome very quickly. This is the weakest of the new additions but it's not compulsory to use it all the time. If you wish you can take down enemies manually. Not only does it require more skill, but it makes a far more fun experience.
Suprisingly, Aircrafts are not the only thing you take control of. For the first time you can pilot an Apache helicopter. There's also a selection of helicopter strikes and bomber missions that are heavily lifted from the Call Of Duty series, but that's not a bad thing. If Assault Horizon got something spot on it would be it's pacing. The Aircraft sections can drag on a bit to long, but the helicopter sections fit in nicely and keep the gameplay fresh throughout.
The multiplayer component is one of the strongest parts to Assault Horizon, as it offers more challenge. You can blast through CO-OP missions aswell as a bunch of multiplayer modes. These range from the traditional team deathmatch to objective modes where you need to destroy stuff.
Hardcore fans of Ace Combat might not be keen on the changes, but others might. I personally enjoyed Assault Horizon and even though the Dog Fights are fairly boring, there's still lots of fun to be had.
Review by Gareth Smith