Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ace Combat XI Skies of Incursion

iTunes Link

Ace Combat Xi Skies of Incursion is a flying game by Namco. $7.99

The popular series Ace Combat has finally soared onto the App Store for the first time blowing up anything that gets in it's way.

The first Ace Combat game was released in 1995 and the various versions have been put on different Playstation consoles, the Xbox 360, Game Boy and PSP. The franchise's next outing is the iPhone (not surprisingly), and boy does this game deliver!

The aviation genre on the App Store is probably one of the strongest out there. With some insanely good titles like F.A.S.T, Top Gun, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X and the upcoming Skies of Glory you must be brave to even attempt a game. When we heard of Ace Combat coming to the iPhone many people got excited that this game was being brought to the iPhone. But how does it size up to the other big games on the App Store?

I couldn't help but judge this game to the others in this genre. Even though it was released in June I still see F.A.S.T. as the best looking air combat game on the App Store. Ace Combat didn't do a bad job but there were just parts of the game which I found to be better in other games. All the games I have found to have good looking aircraft (Even if the screenshots don't prove that) which are all very detailed. The one area where Ace Combat lacked however was the scenery.

The scenery and other objects aren't all that bad but just lacked a bit of detail. I also found the ground to be a bit blurry and undefined in most places. When doing a comparison I just found that the other games had put more detail into their surroundings. While they aren't the best of the best I still liked the look and feel of this game as it was still very enjoyable to play.

This game is generally pretty smooth and I didn't find it to lag at all. The framerate is pretty consistent and runs at a decent rate. The game did crash on me once but I didn't find any problems when the device had been given a hard reset.

The controls in Ace Combat are fairly common among all the flying games. To steer your aircraft you have to tilt your device to make it turn left, right, up, down or somewhere in between. I found that particularly at the start of a campaign mission that the game was a bit slow to your tilting, but managed to regain itself once the game had fully loaded I suppose.

The rest of the controls are as on screen buttons. These are easy to use once you know what they mean. Most are fairly easy for a first time gamer to use but some of the buttons, such as one called TGT, will require some reading to find out it's purpose. I didn't find any problems with the controls and ended up being able to fly my plane with a fair amount of precision.

Ace Combat Xi lets you follow the story of the Falco Squadron as you save the world one mission at a time. When you get an airplane game you expect to be doing one thing, shooting down other enemy planes. In Ace Combat though you very quickly change your approach as incoming tanks, war ships and more have to be annihilated to save any array of locations.

The game is split into two game modes, Free play and Campaign. Campaign is where you will spend your whole time playing. The campaign mode is split into 5 missions which have nothing to do with one another. You will get some dialogue before you start your mission trying to give us a bit of a storyline, before showing the mission requirements. A majority of the missions I found to be about stopping tanks, planes, ships or a variety of the 3 from attacking or getting past a certain place.

Each mission is being ranked on your time to complete it, damage to places you are saving etc. They start out quite easy with most things except the planes just being sitting ducks. As the game progresses it gets harder and more challenging to complete the mission, especially with a time limit for some levels I found.

There were a few things that I didn't like about this game. The main one which really bugged me was what happened when you got too low to the ground to shoot at ground units. I would receive a message that says to pull up because you are getting low to the ground, but when I nose dived to the ground I would just bounce off and straighten up. This is annoying because it doesn't make dangerous enough.

I found that being attacked by the enemy did basically nothing to you and especially when you can fly as low as you want there isn't enough consequences for your actions. If you exploded and lost the mission then it would make this game more realistic and challenging, because at the moment all ships and ground units are easily destroyed.

The other thing that really bugged me was the number of aircraft available to fly. There are about 5 or 6 that you can use for free and there are another 4 that are available via DLC. All the free planes have really average stats while the DLC ones are all really good, so if you want to be good at this game you need to buy a DLC plane or try and unlock the last free plane. I would be fine if there were heaps of free planes and some with good stats, but at the moment this is just a money grabbing strategy by Namco.

Ace Combat Xi Skies of Incursion is a pretty good addition to the Ace Combat series. There is an average amount of content in the game but a gamestyle that the average gamer should enjoy. Compared to other games in this genre it fairs pretty well and should be considered if you like this genre.

What is a throw off for most people however is the price at $7.99. With F.A.S.T at $0.99 and the upcoming Skies of Glory being free it is going to be hard to win more than just Ace Combat fans to buy this. If you only want one airplane game and aren't fussed which one I suggest leaving this alone at the current price. If this dropped to $4.99 or less or got more missions then it would be a good purchase.

Gameplay- 7/10
Graphics- 8.5/10
Controls- 8/10
Overall- 7.5/10

I would recommend this game if you enjoyed- Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X

Tell me what you think about this review at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/iPhone_Reviews next up is Hills and Rivers Remain

Thanks- iPhone_Reviews


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