In 2011, gamers were graced with two Ace Combat titles, one on consoles and the other on the Nintendo 3DS. Both games carry the title “Assault Horizon” but they are both completely different titles when it comes to the gameplay department. In Assault Horizon on the consoles, players can expect very explosive dog and ground-fights while in Legacy, they are toned down due to the limitations of the 3DS hardware.
For Ace Combat fans, many are wondering if Legacy is a worthy addition to the collection. Let’s take a look in what’s HOT and what’s NOT in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy.
Great 3D & Presentation
Before playing Legacy, I assumed that visually, the game won’t look that good, but I was wrong. Comparing to the past portable version of Ace Combat that was released on the PSP, I must say that Legacy is visually appealing and it’s as good as the ones on the PSP as the frame rate is great and the plane’s design are just amazing. When played in 3D, players will be able to enjoy the game even more as the depth pleases the gamer’s eye even at the maximum settings.
Unlike the console version, Legacy won’t offer many CG cutscenes. The missions are conveyed through a transmission-like system. The commander of USEA Allied Forces will be the one mostly speaking on the bottom screen of the hardware and briefing you on the missions. The only time you’ll see a full-length cutscene is at the beginning of the game which are animated in 3D.
In terms of the game’s musical score, Legacy shines in that department. In every Ace Combat game that I’ve played, the musical score is something I always look for and in Legacy, Project Aces and the team behind the game did a great job in having that musical score every Ace Combat fan will adore.
Easy Controls and Gameplay
The learning curve on the controls in Legacy are easy to follow and players won’t have a hard time coping with them. The circle pad on the 3DS makes everything smooth when controlling the plane. The R shoulder is used to accelerate the plane while the A and B buttons are used to launch a missile or use the machine gun. As for the fans who love the easy manoeuvring in the console version, they’re back in Legacy and it’s not as complicated. Simply watch the bar on the top screen to fill up and that’s the indication for the player to push the button to either maneuver or tail them closely.
Despite the game being on a handheld, players can still expect a lengthy campaign. In over 20 missions that you get to play through, expect to finish it in roughly 6-8 hours, depending on your expertise on the franchise. As mentioned earlier, don’t expect any ground fights but the air fights is interesting enough to hold you over until the end. Objectives are pretty much the same in every mission but the variety of ways you can tackle it makes the game enjoyable.
Legacy won’t be an Ace Combat game without its deep customization. At every mission you finish, a part of the plane or even a new plane gets unlocked. Before the beginning of the mission, players will be able customize their aircraft, making sure they’re in top shape and can take all fighter jets on the air. There are a decent amount of aircraft that you get to unlock and some of them are modelled upon real aircraft!
Story Not As Good
In addition to experience one of the best flight sim and dog fights on the 3DS with Legacy, the game falls short on the story-telling. In every Ace Combat game that Project Aces releases on the consoles, they always have a good story to keep players playing from start to finish. In Legacy, I am disappointed that the story isn’t as appealing. Players in Legacy will play as Phoenix who is a member of the USEA Allied Forces and all you do in the game is follow the command of your commander. That’s it, no suspense story to shock us while playing or any such thing that might make the story in the game more memorable.
No Multiplayer Support
In the PSP and console version of Ace Combat, one of the reasons why critics like us love the game is due to its addicting multiplayer. Well, in Legacy, players will be disappointed to find out that there will be no multiplayer support of any kind in the game. Right after the main campaign, there won’t be pretty much any reason to play the game again, unless you want to replay the missions and get a better ranking.
Grounds Lack in Detail
If you are used to seeing very detailed ground environments while flying in the air in Ace Combat games, you won’t enjoy it as much in Legacy. The ground environments are dull and the textures are just weak. I cannot see any detail to the ground environments as it’s all pixelated and it will be impossible for the player to distinguish if it’s a city or not. However, when it comes to terrain like the mountains, it’s good but fans of the series shouldn’t expect anything beyond the ground environments of the game. Well, this is understandable as the 3DS has its obvious limitations.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy isn’t as good as the ones on the console as there’s a lot of things that’s been dumbed down such as the multiplayer portion and the scaled down graphics due to the hardware’s limitations. However, in terms of action and sheer thrills, Legacy succeeds in every aspect as to what the Ace Combat series has been known for – impressive dog fights and very intense aerial combat. To this date, Legacy is one of the games showcasing what the 3DS can do. Hence why the Ace Combat series never made it on the DS.
[Editor’s Note: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy was reviewed on the Nintendo 3DS. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]