The sky's the limitThe latest edition to Namco Bandai's hybrid arcade-simulation flight series takes to the skies with a slightly different approach to previous games, placing a firm emphasis on accessibility, Call Of Duty-style set-pieces and frenetic multiplayer skirmishes.
It's a move that responds to the needs of the console gaming market, with big budget blockbuster games like CoD proving that the gaming masses are just as keen to see explosive cinematic pieces and sweet graphics as they are to play a game that offers variety and substance.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon on the reviewed PS3 version does offer both those things in small doses, but with the ditching of wingman orders - and other, more subtle changes - combat in the skies has definitely been softened compared to previous iterations. And, to accommodate those seeking quick thrills, the single-player campaign now features explosive on-rails sections and cinematic sequences akin to many of today's AAA shooters.
Indeed, gamers who may have previously felt that flight games are a little too niche could well be drawn in by the accessibility of the control scheme and will probably be delighted to hear that the campaign breaks up combat in the skies with passages of play that change the pace and feel of the fight. We like the change, but then we never could get to grips with the more in-depth flight sims.