ACE COMBAT™ ASSAULT HORIZON Enhanced Edition
Colonel Panic Jan 27, 2013 @ 8:41am
REVIEW: Terrible game, not at all what I was expecting for Ace Combat
Let me just start by saying that as a long-time fan of the AC series, especially 4 and 5, this game feels like a cheap knockoff and not like an AC game at all.

There's actually a lot of reasons I don't like this game, but we might as well start there. The gameplay is different and generally not Ace Combat-like. The new DFM (which for those of you lucky enough to have not bought this game yet probably don't know stands for Dog Fight Mode) system completely changes this game from a fun arcadey combat sim to a game where you spend most of the time using dumb key sequences to play arcadey minigames where the plane flies itself and you just keep a circle hovering over a zoomed-in enemy aircraft. Now, you can opt to play without using the DFM, but it's kinda like trying to play Fallout 3 without VATS: the game play is changed so much to favor the new system, that trying to play without it is difficult, irritating, and generally no fun at all. Furthermore, since enemy aircraft can "use DFM" on you, you get railroaded into using the dumb turn-the-tables escape sequence to get into DFM behind them as the only effective way to avoid taking hits from their otherwise un-shakeable lock.

The new first-person mouse-controlled helicopter gunner stages, and the "walking game" where you turn your head this way and that walking around the base during cutscenes are asinine, and it feels like they're trying way too hard to emulate call of duty in a game which is clearly NOT supposed to work like that.

The good news is that since it's on the PC platform, you have some limited compatibility with popular joysticks, and it should map a lot of them out of the box for basic controls. It recognized both my X52 and Cyborg EVO right away. That said the controls are clunky, and if you have a joystick plugged in, the keyboard controls in the menus suddenly become really glitchy and broken, and like most shoddy console ports there's no context to the insipid button-mashing prompts (press [BUTTON 3] to not die!). If your joystick like mine has 37 buttons that you know only by shape and location, and not numbers, be prepared for a lot of aggravation in navigating the menu system and "quicktime events". The only solution I've really found is to map everything to the keyboard, and then use your joystick's profiling software to map its buttons to keypresses (and un-map them in the game), but that's not really a solution since then you have to play the "which joystick button do they mean when they say 'press M not to die?'" game. It's unnecessary layers of abstraction that make quick decisions and fluid control extremely difficult.

Did I mention the controls and UI are clunky? As an example, it took me forever to figure out I had to press [BACKSPACE] in the aircraft selection menu to get to the hangar where I could actually SEE THE AIRCRAFT I'm selecting. Though I guess you can always just pick an aircraft from the text list and choose 'color 4' and be surprised later when you find out what that is. They also revamped the default control style so roll only rotates your craft a little bit, and you have to pitch and yaw from there to turn, like the old X-Wing vs Tie Fighter games from the 90s. You can turn that off by switching back to classic controls in the menu, but the fact that they have that as the default and call it "Optimum" just serves to highlight the lack of foresight in designing and implementing the controls, and overall paradigm shift to a more simplistic arcade shooter that lacks the depth of the original game series.

Now, a lot of these poor control and UI problems are more or less par for the course when it comes to shoddy console ports with Games for Windows LIVE, but that really doesn't make it excusable. In fact, that's just another problem: why does this game need Games for Windows LIVE? It's already locked to the steam platform, so why not just use steamworks instead of clubbing gamers over the head with the downright horrible third-party DRM system and general user experience f***ery that is GFWL? Nobody likes GFWL. A lot of gamers tolerate it, sure, but I sure as hell don't. Despite a DECADE of waiting for an Ace Combat game to come to the PC, and AC4/5 being the only reason I've owned or kept a Playstation 2 AT ALL for the last 7 years, I would have passed up on buying this game entirely if I'd noticed the GFWL requirement before clicking 'Buy.' It's that bad. It's just not worth it in my mind. It's the same reason I didn't buy Dark Souls. At what point are console developers going to realize that PC gamers DO NOT WANT THIS? They're only shooting themselves in the foot.

In the end I gave up around the third mission or so, having spent less time in the game than I spent trying to clobber GFWL into working so I could play in the first place (hours... seriously. what a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ waste.) After thousands of hours of enjoyment out of previous Ace Combat titles, this one just wasn't fun. It wasn't worth wasting my time on.
Showing 1-15 of 29 comments
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Shota Jan 27, 2013 @ 8:55am 
Umm, Assault Horizon has been out for over a year.

Did you notice?
Colonel Panic Jan 27, 2013 @ 8:59am 
Originally posted by HentaiWorm:
Umm, Assault Horizon has been out for over a year.

Did you notice?
It was released on PC 2 days ago.

Did you notice?
ZeroZoku Jan 27, 2013 @ 9:16am 
This game is a disgrace for anyone who is a fan of the original Ace Combat games. They totally ruined it. I wouldn't buy this game if it was on sale for $1.00
Shota Jan 27, 2013 @ 10:09am 
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
Originally posted by HentaiWorm:
Umm, Assault Horizon has been out for over a year.

Did you notice?
It was released on PC 2 days ago.

Did you notice?
If you're an Ace Combat fan, you would have either played ACAH, or knew exactly what it was.

Who waits for an entire year to play a game, and then gives an angry review about it?

There's not a single thing positive in your review. All I see is some angry person who feels like he wasted his money.

I give it to Mr. Kazutoki. He knew Ace Combat was a dying franchise, with fewer and fewer fans. It was either close Ace Combat completely, or try to attract a new fanbase, at the expense of disappointing a certain percentage of people. He succeeded at his goal. ALOT of people actually enjoyed ACAH and didn't mind that it wasn't like the old AC. On top of that, people who have never heard of AC have a choice - play Assault Horizon, or discover all the old Ace Combat games that they've never played before.

Project Aces did the right thing. Now it's up to them where to take Ace Combat 7. But without Assault Horizon, the entire franchise most likely would have shut down entirely.
Colonel Panic Jan 27, 2013 @ 11:31am 
Originally posted by HentaiWorm:
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
Originally posted by HentaiWorm:
Umm, Assault Horizon has been out for over a year.

Did you notice?
It was released on PC 2 days ago.

Did you notice?
If you're an Ace Combat fan, you would have either played ACAH, or knew exactly what it was.

Who waits for an entire year to play a game, and then gives an angry review about it?

There's not a single thing positive in your review. All I see is some angry person who feels like he wasted his money.

I'm a PC gamer. I owned a PS2 for Ace Combat 2, 3, 4, 5, and zero. I bought it specifically so I could play those games and GT4, and nothing else. When AC 6 was announced xbox 360 exclusive I passed on it because I wasn't going to buy a new console for one game, and assault horizon slipped by the wayside for the same reason on a then 5 year old console. Ultimately I've been waiting a lot longer than a year to play these titles on the PC. I've had a flight set for the better part of a decade I've been dying to use on AC, but couldn't, so of course I jumped on AH when it came to PC.

I wanted to like the game. You can accuse me of bias or hating on it or not being a real fan or what have you, but that's all hogwash. My review was straight up. I'm not sugar coating it with praise for the graphics and visuals, etc... because that doesn't make a game fun to play--and with my monstrous gaming PC you can't accuse me of not appreciating good graphics, either. I didn't build it for nothing, but even I recognize there's no point in nitpicking over graphics anymore. I have a 5760x1200 wraparound display, but you don't hear me complaining about the game's lack of support for higher resolutions or surround gaming.

To me the money isn't a thing. It's wasted, sure, but so was the time I spent playing the game, and trying to get it to work... that's worth more than the money to me, but I'm still not really bitter about that, either. I'm bitter that the developers and publishers wrecked the potential of a game I'd been waiting 10+ years to play on the PC with poor alterations to the UX and shoddy GFWL porting that's an insult to everyone on the PC who's ever wanted to play these games. I'm also bitter that in my haste to try it, I gave legitimacy to the publisher's bad choices by giving them my money.

Searching around I'm finding I'm not the only one with these criticisms. Pretty much everyone who's reviewed this title independently had similar complaints. I only hope that Project Aces and Namco Bandai learn from these games' poor reception what needs to be fixed, and fix it for the next installment. However, I don't have a lot of faith in them after Dark Souls.

Incidentally, the overall sales of AR has been worse than previous titles. Although I don't have data on AC 6, sales continued to rise through the series up through 5 which sold over 1.3 million copies, while Assault Horizon sold fewer than 1.1 million. If that's supposed to be making a comeback, it's only making a comeback from unwanted success.
draconian73 Jan 27, 2013 @ 11:57am 
Too bad they did'nt make Ace Combat 6 Fires of Liberation available on PC/Steam. That older game was 10 times better then this game. I rember doing barrel rolls in a Apache on the 360 demo. :( YUCK!!
Shota Jan 27, 2013 @ 12:04pm 
I bought the Xbox 360 version of Assault Horizon when it came out, knowing full well it's NOT the Ace Combat that I'm used to (played 4/5/Z/6). I knew it was gonna be a ♥♥♥♥ty game. Big deal. I didn't mind. Ace Combat is an extremely niche franchise, and most gamers have never heard of it, nor ever will. Compromises have to be made when the franchise is dying.

But NOBODY cared about a PC port, and certainly the developers didn't, because it was never announced to be a part of Assault Horizon in the first place. It was an afterthought. An extra. A small experiment.

If the developers intended this game to be a full PC release (read: fully polished and fully thorough, as you would have liked), the PC version would have been released alongside 360 and PS3.
Shota Jan 27, 2013 @ 12:05pm 
Originally posted by draconian73:
Too bad they did'nt make Ace Combat 6 Fires of Liberation available on PC/Steam.
One can only hope!
King Of Pilots Jan 27, 2013 @ 12:24pm 
If people buy it on pc, they will release the next chapters for PC too. And dont' be scorned, here for 29.99 you get about 100$ worth of DLC/content. So please stop being little kids, this is awesome and you should just support them for giving ace combat a pc port.
ZeroZoku Jan 27, 2013 @ 12:28pm 
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
Originally posted by HentaiWorm:
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
Originally posted by HentaiWorm:
Umm, Assault Horizon has been out for over a year.

Did you notice?
It was released on PC 2 days ago.

Did you notice?
If you're an Ace Combat fan, you would have either played ACAH, or knew exactly what it was.

Who waits for an entire year to play a game, and then gives an angry review about it?

There's not a single thing positive in your review. All I see is some angry person who feels like he wasted his money.

I'm a PC gamer. I owned a PS2 for Ace Combat 2, 3, 4, 5, and zero. I bought it specifically so I could play those games and GT4, and nothing else. When AC 6 was announced xbox 360 exclusive I passed on it because I wasn't going to buy a new console for one game

What you said is exactly my feeling as well. Its funny, that guy probably assumed everyone has an xbox, lolz.

Besides, I feel there is good reason to be bitter. This game is a huge dissapointment to ace combat fans, such as myself. I'll admit it, I'm pretty ♥♥♥♥ed about it. I also wouldn't call it a "dying franchise." All the PS2 versions were best sellers, and is the only reason I owned a PS2.
Preditorian Jan 27, 2013 @ 1:08pm 
Good review, exactly what I was looking for, honest no BS reflection of what this game offers. Interestingly enough, I share your views on GFWL and did not even notice that this game had such an awful system in place. Oh well, guess its back to waiting how ever many years it takes for devs to not be a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ and get a decent game like this out for us PC folks.
Pixel_Pro Jan 27, 2013 @ 1:13pm 
Sorry to tell you this but this is the common trend, CoD games used to be very enjoyable ..

unfortunately gamers buy whatever so they will sell us whatever and until the day we say "no" with our wallets this practice will continue. maybe next lifetime.

as far as ace well yes when compared to the rest this game is maybe the least fav and liked by fans of ace BUT as most games are designed for mass appeal not the fans this is the result = game had tons of potential but held back to play it safe for the "general audience"..

Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
Let me just start by saying that as a long-time fan of the AC series, especially 4 and 5, this game feels like a cheap knockoff and not like an AC game at all.

There's actually a lot of reasons I don't like this game, but we might as well start there. The gameplay is different and generally not Ace Combat-like. The new DFM (which for those of you lucky enough to have not bought this game yet probably don't know stands for Dog Fight Mode) system completely changes this game from a fun arcadey combat sim to a game where you spend most of the time using dumb key sequences to play arcadey minigames where the plane flies itself and you just keep a circle hovering over a zoomed-in enemy aircraft. Now, you can opt to play without using the DFM, but it's kinda like trying to play Fallout 3 without VATS: the game play is changed so much to favor the new system, that trying to play without it is difficult, irritating, and generally no fun at all. Furthermore, since enemy aircraft can "use DFM" on you, you get railroaded into using the dumb turn-the-tables escape sequence to get into DFM behind them as the only effective way to avoid taking hits from their otherwise un-shakeable lock.

The new first-person mouse-controlled helicopter gunner stages, and the "walking game" where you turn your head this way and that walking around the base during cutscenes are asinine, and it feels like they're trying way too hard to emulate call of duty in a game which is clearly NOT supposed to work like that.

The good news is that since it's on the PC platform, you have some limited compatibility with popular joysticks, and it should map a lot of them out of the box for basic controls. It recognized both my X52 and Cyborg EVO right away. That said the controls are clunky, and if you have a joystick plugged in, the keyboard controls in the menus suddenly become really glitchy and broken, and like most shoddy console ports there's no context to the insipid button-mashing prompts (press [BUTTON 3] to not die!). If your joystick like mine has 37 buttons that you know only by shape and location, and not numbers, be prepared for a lot of aggravation in navigating the menu system and "quicktime events". The only solution I've really found is to map everything to the keyboard, and then use your joystick's profiling software to map its buttons to keypresses (and un-map them in the game), but that's not really a solution since then you have to play the "which joystick button do they mean when they say 'press M not to die?'" game. It's unnecessary layers of abstraction that make quick decisions and fluid control extremely difficult.

Did I mention the controls and UI are clunky? As an example, it took me forever to figure out I had to press [BACKSPACE] in the aircraft selection menu to get to the hangar where I could actually SEE THE AIRCRAFT I'm selecting. Though I guess you can always just pick an aircraft from the text list and choose 'color 4' and be surprised later when you find out what that is. They also revamped the default control style so roll only rotates your craft a little bit, and you have to pitch and yaw from there to turn, like the old X-Wing vs Tie Fighter games from the 90s. You can turn that off by switching back to classic controls in the menu, but the fact that they have that as the default and call it "Optimum" just serves to highlight the lack of foresight in designing and implementing the controls, and overall paradigm shift to a more simplistic arcade shooter that lacks the depth of the original game series.

Now, a lot of these poor control and UI problems are more or less par for the course when it comes to shoddy console ports with Games for Windows LIVE, but that really doesn't make it excusable. In fact, that's just another problem: why does this game need Games for Windows LIVE? It's already locked to the steam platform, so why not just use steamworks instead of clubbing gamers over the head with the downright horrible third-party DRM system and general user experience f***ery that is GFWL? Nobody likes GFWL. A lot of gamers tolerate it, sure, but I sure as hell don't. Despite a DECADE of waiting for an Ace Combat game to come to the PC, and AC4/5 being the only reason I've owned or kept a Playstation 2 AT ALL for the last 7 years, I would have passed up on buying this game entirely if I'd noticed the GFWL requirement before clicking 'Buy.' It's that bad. It's just not worth it in my mind. It's the same reason I didn't buy Dark Souls. At what point are console developers going to realize that PC gamers DO NOT WANT THIS? They're only shooting themselves in the foot.

In the end I gave up around the third mission or so, having spent less time in the game than I spent trying to clobber GFWL into working so I could play in the first place (hours... seriously. what a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ waste.) After thousands of hours of enjoyment out of previous Ace Combat titles, this one just wasn't fun. It wasn't worth wasting my time on.
Cute Krogan Jan 27, 2013 @ 1:35pm 
Before you start talking ♥♥♥♥ about this game. Learn to stop using old mechanic comparison. Your one of those old harcore vetrans who can't stand change like everyone else today in this current generation. Developers want to try something new and revoultionary. Old formulas get old and boring too didn't you know? Ace Combat has always been an arcade game and not a flight simulator. Don't tell me DFM is a easy pz ♥♥♥♥ because it's a arcade thing. Like you mentioned MINI ARCADE. ACE COMBAT= FLIGHT ACTION ARCADE GAME
Keyword = ARCADE
IF your looking to buy this game. Don't use this piece of ♥♥♥♥ review to reflect on your options. This review is like a Counter Strike 1.6 player laughing at cs go and CS:S when they released. Or COD4 players laughing at Black ops and Modern war 2 and 3. When you buy a game, expect new features and mechanics. Not the same old ones. Look at it with a open mind..
SgtSlaughter82 Jan 27, 2013 @ 2:50pm 
Originally posted by Pink and Blue:
Before you start talking ♥♥♥♥ about this game. Learn to stop using old mechanic comparison. Your one of those old harcore vetrans who can't stand change like everyone else today in this current generation. Developers want to try something new and revoultionary. Old formulas get old and boring too didn't you know? Ace Combat has always been an arcade game and not a flight simulator. Don't tell me DFM is a easy pz ♥♥♥♥ because it's a arcade thing. Like you mentioned MINI ARCADE. ACE COMBAT= FLIGHT ACTION ARCADE GAME
Keyword = ARCADE
IF your looking to buy this game. Don't use this piece of ♥♥♥♥ review to reflect on your options. This review is like a Counter Strike 1.6 player laughing at cs go and CS:S when they released. Or COD4 players laughing at Black ops and Modern war 2 and 3. When you buy a game, expect new features and mechanics. Not the same old ones. Look at it with a open mind..

Perhaps you should open your ♥♥♥♥ing mind and realize that some people actually like a challenge. That some people don't like dumbed down gameplay and idiotic design decisions. That some people don't like to bend over and take it up the ♥♥♥ when developers willingly use one of the worst DRM services available and do an overall ♥♥♥♥ poor job of porting a game.

This isn't even an arcade flight game now. It's just a bunch of quick time events involving aircraft, and a few on-rails shooter sections. The same generic crap you can get in any other action game today. People played the AC games because you could get a highly accessibly, arcade flight game experience. Flying jets and getting into dogfights where you twisted and turned to get behind your enemy was what made the series so much fun. Hitting a series of key combinations when prompted isn't fun.

This reviewer gave an honest review of his OPINIONS on the game. Don't like it? Then feel free to ♥♥♥♥ off, rather than get all butt hurt because someone didn't like your game.
Shota Jan 27, 2013 @ 3:04pm 
People don't have food to eat.

And yet you angrily complain that a team of game developers ruined your entertainment experience?

I know die hard Ace Combat fans who enjoy Assault Horizon, even though we all know it's not their beat game.
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Date Posted: Jan 27, 2013 @ 8:41am
Posts: 29