Whew, haven't posted here in a LONG time.
First of all seeing a namco representative here asking for feedback is awesome, so ill give you my opinion of the game as a long time ace combat lover.
-Story (Overall Grade: 3/10)
The real world setting was a nice change of pace. I liked the fictional universe but by the time that AC6's story unfolded the constant conflict with advanced aircraft on every continent around the same time was becoming...stale and unrealistic. It broke immersion with the story for be a detracted from the experience so im glad you changed settings this time around.
That being said the story iteslf was a D at best. The very idea of a
was bad and really needed to be looked at earlier on in the development process.
, but not the mess that was put together for the game. There was also potential here for making a
further ruining immersion. I felt that the story and characters in Ace Combat X was also week, both games stories lack personal involvement like the console ace combat games have been known for. My point here being that the story of this game didn't move you from mission to mission like the console ace combat games do and really lack personal involvement for the player. Its a place that needs improvement.
-Gameplay (Overall Grade: 7/10)
I am really enjoying this aspect of the game. The missions are fun and several have unique twists in them, its been a while since ive been surprised by a objective turn that happens in an ace combat game. The emergence of the two enemy bombers at Midway come to mind when I think of this. I was also really glad when I didn't have to fly down an improbable tunnel as a finale, another nice surprise to get Ace Combat out of the formula that they have been trapped in for a while.
One thing however, I would appreciate if at least on the harder difficulties that you wouldn't hold the players hand so much. I personally like missions I can fail by destroying the wrong objective or messing up my timing while rushing. It beings to mind the mission where you have to avoid damaging the transports carrying the nuclear fuel. You cannot target the transports directly so the only way your ever going to hit them is with stray gun fire. Its not very dramatic and makes the objective of not damaging the transports useless.
The expansion of the turning system from Ace Combat X was a great idea as well. It allows players to use lower level aircraft later in the game and yet makes them chose what aspects of an aircraft they like more and what they are willing to sacrifice. Its a good idea and again something else that should be included in future games.
I also think the difficulty is fair this time around, it may be because of the PSP's limited control scheme but im actually finding the Hard missions Hard and the Easy missions Easy. Its a better mix then the Easy missions = Brain Dead Easy and the Ace missions = Medium difficulty that was I find on the console versions of the game and even Ace Combat X.
-Multiplayer (Overall Grade: 9/10)
This is where the game really shines.
The interface is really easy to navigate but is not dumbed down for the sake of user ease of use. You get a full range of options to use to configure each match and a fairly varied range of modes to play in both campaign and versus. I was expecting a call of duty or halo automatic match making system and im really glad that you didn't go that route with this title. I haven't experienced one multiplayer issue yet as well and thats impressive, especially for a portable game. I really can't say enough of how good the interface is, use it and expand on it in future games.
The campaign multiplayer was done really well and I hope to see this kind of integration in future ace combat games. Its very easy to link up with players and communicate what your objectives are on the messages window. It also makes the campaign more dynamic and interesting having more humans to play with rather then terrible AI squadmates.
One of the few things I would change is to add the ability to make your own descriptions for the lobby type and to be able to make custom dialog messages on your speech "cross" during missions. I could see both technology and corporate reasons for not including this but its a minor issue and doesn't detract that much from the experience. This was one of my only gripes with the multiplayer mode in this game, other then that its fantastic.
Graphics (Overall Grade: 7)
This game looks a little worse then Ace Combat X but I don't think thats a bad thing.
Overall the graphics are worse then the previous game, but in the previous game I had slow down problems on my psp. In the final mission in particular I was having choppy issues with the system running the game, and that hurt it so much more then having slightly better textures. In the most intense battles I don't have a single issue with slowdown and to me thats a fair compromise. Where as the first game looked like an early PS2 game, this looks like a PS2 tech demo from before its release. Its not a significant gap, but it is there and that being said it still looks great.
Music (Overall Grade: 7)
I rather liked the soundtrack in this game. It was again different from what i was used to and I think it fit the game a little better then constant orchestral ballads or techno/orchestral mix that is the norm in ace combat games. I think it fit better with the setting of this game and made it more interesting. The occasional switching up of genres was fun and the music itself was great.
Voice Acting (Overall Grade: 5)
The voice acting in this game was ok, nothing special but nothing horribly bad either. At times some of the individual lines were cheesy but nothing seemed totally misplaced and the voice actors themselves were good. Overall nothing that didn't expect from a portable game, although I really liked the fact that you could use your AWACS controller and they did have slightly different dialog.
Overall I have really enjoyed this game and I feel like it was worth the cost. If this game had an engaging story then it would really be complete in my eyes, but it doesn't and since thats something ive come to expect from project ACES its a bit detraction. The rest of the game though is really good and I know ill be enjoying it for a long time.
Overall Score (7.5)