by Chris Davis
reviewed on X360
Splash 1, 439 To Go (cntd)
Despite all the new bells and whistles added to the single player experience there are several little caveats that will deter players. The most notable issue series veterans will have is the game’s selection of planes and its overall length. Previous Ace Combat titles had a huge selection of planes available and its slightly disappointing that, despite having a selection of the most modern and well known aircraft known today, it is a much smaller list than normal. Namco does make up for this fact however by offering all the planes in multiple paintjobs, but it still doesn’t make up for the fact that the selection is limited. The previous games have ranged in length between twenty to as many as sixty missions a piece, with Ace Combat 6 falling to a mere fifteen mission campaign. Even with the missions lasting sometimes over half-an-hour a piece the campaign is distinctively short and can be completed in just a weekend’s worth of play.
Never Leave Your Wingman
The multiplayer component of Ace Combat 6 is something Namco was never able to accomplish on either Playstation platform. They did very well to rectify this here on the Xbox 360. Utilizing Xbox Live Namco has created a fantastic multiplayer experience that really compliments the single player experience. Players can engage in up to sixteen player battles online across three different modes: team battle, battle royale, the non-team version of the above, and siege battle – a team based objective variant where two teams attack/defend various targets on the map. The final mode available, and probably the most interesting of them all, is a co-op battle mode where up to four players engage in single player objectives. Unfortunately there are only two missions available for the co-op mode at the moment.
Combined with the single player campaign the end result has a great amount of replay value. Once a campaign has been completed players can choose to begin it again at a higher difficulty with all of their cash and planes intact. There are five different difficulty settings. The achievement selection also encourages extended play and not a single achievement is out of your grasp.
My God, It’s full of Contrails
As far as visuals are concerned the Ace Combat series has come a long way in the past five years. Ace Combat 4 brought us terrain based upon satellite imagery. Ace Combat 6, utilizing full HD textures and designs, takes this even further and provides us with the best looking terrain to date; especially in terms of urban centers and ocean vistas. Probably the most impressive level is Gracemeria, which looks like a cross between the real-life cities of Seattle and New York with the addition of the Golden Gate Bridge. The only downside to the terrain comes when flying extremely close to the ground, as the game does not generate smaller buildings and can leave some textures looking dull. Ultimately though they are nice eye candy.
However, the two best looking features of the game are the planes and the clouds. The aircrafts in the game are the most realistic looking you’ll find in a flight sim, bar none. Namco has done a great job of taking their appreciation of the power of these machines and making it apparent to even the most skeptical gamer. The volumetric clouds and smoke contrails draw your attention immediately from the outset. The clouds are simply gorgeous and truly compliment the terrain.
Other things players should take note of are the frame rate, the load times, and the on screen AI count. Ace Combat 6 is extremely stable and very rarely will slow down on you unless something big is going down. The load times in the game’s single player campaign usually last less than five seconds and multiplayer maps take just a little longer, something that is extremely enjoyable. The on screen unit count, just like the scale of the battles, have improved much, sometimes yielding you five or six dozen enemies and filling your screen with a ton of targeting reticules.
No Pros and Cons at this time