Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy Review

First impressions are everything. For a game to truly show its excellence, it must grab the player from minute one and never let go. If a game struggles to make a good first impression, the entire package will be in jeopardy.

Upon completing the tutorial mission of Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy, my first impression was simple: what’s going on here? Being a game about fighter jets and dogfighting, I expected intense aerial combat over a vast cityscape with blaring rock music accompanying it. I got the intense aerial combat… but it was instead paired with a symphony orchestra and took place over a single land mass known as Twinkle Island.

Wait, what?!

Unfortunately, some gamers may only get that far, put the 3DS down, and say, “Forget this, I’m going back to Super Mario 3D Land.” By doing so, they fall victim to a rare false first impression. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy is quite enjoyable, provided that you can get over the aspects that don’t quite mesh.

There is one glaring thing about this Ace Combat game that makes my head hurt: the soundtrack. This track is a perfect example of my issue: this type of music just doesn’t fit with an aerial dogfight. I love the melody, and I can see where Project Aces was going with it, but nothing about this song got me pumped to dogfight, and game music, if nothing else, should set the mood. Later tracks, like “Cocoon Squadron,” get it right, but the entire symphony-style approach just doesn’t fit for me.

This is the first true Ace Combat game on a Nintendo system, and fortunately for fans it does the series well. The controls are confusing at first, as there’s a lot to learn and a short time to learn it in, but once familiarity sets in you’ll be flying like Maverick. My biggest issue, for instance, was switching between normal and long-range missiles, but the learning curve was short.

Despite my lack of musical enthusiasm for the game, the rest sounds superb. The voice acting is impressive, especially for a handheld. The men and women coming through the speakers will offer tips on how to fly (or curse your name if it’s the enemy) and words of encouragement during battle. All of the necessary ambient sound is spot-on, from the fighter planes breaking G-forces to the missile-on-plane explosions. Considering this is a handheld device, that’s pretty darn cool.

Perhaps the coolest part of this game is the Action Maneuver system. As the battle rages, a meter will fill on your screen. Once it’s full, tap Y to activate a visually stunning display of airborne bravado. Your pilot will twist and turn and soar through the clouds like nothing you’ve seen before, conveniently coming to a stop right behind the intended target for an easy missile lock. These moves are marvelous coupled with the already-excellent 3D graphics, and a successful Action Maneuver will make you feel like a certified ace pilot.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy can best be described in one way: a pleasant surprise. I had little to no expectations for this game when it reached me, and definitely no expectations after the tutorial. Once the game got into its groove, however, I could not help but enjoy myself. Ace Combat fans will not be disappointed, and 3DS fans will learn to love the idea of fighting intense dogfights in 3D. I know I did.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Jason Fanelli View all posts by
Jason lives and breathes gaming. Legend tells that he taught himself to read using Wheel of Fortune Family Edition on the NES. He's been covering this industry for three years, all with the Node, and you can see his ugly mug once a week on Hot Off The Grill.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.