ACX better environments, ACJA better plane models.
ACJA hands down. It's basically a remake of ACX's story (manipulating war for money, Diego Navarro = Olivieri) but much more in-depth / less iPhone-game-ish, in the real world instead of strangereal, and with topical themes like the financial crisis and capitalism. There are more twists (ACX has none), multiple antagonists (ACX has one), and the Varcolac squadron acts as a personifciation of what the hero is fighting against. (they only care about money, and even mock your heroism)
ACJA has a few more planes, but maybe the real strength in ACJA is that the planes feel a lot more varied in the way they handle, their strengths/weaknesses, etc. In ACX all planes feel roughly more the same and it's easier to substitute one plane for another.
ACJA wins for being able to select a second SP weapons in place of missiles. It also has multiple types of "normal missiles". Granted they are useless 99 percent of the time but hey it counts for something right?
Honestly, they are two different types of games, you can't really say one is "better". They each do their own thing. ACX is closer to AC4 and AC Zero. Personally I view ACX as more of a hardcore AC game whereas ACJA Is more casual and more of a roller coaster ride with emphasis geared toward story. But the planes and weapons add a lot of depth and the multiplayer co-op is a cool feature that ACX did not have.
One thing I did though was curate both games on default settings. ACJA is better in this regard. You have chase view, arcade controls. ACX has arcade controls, but HUD view. Also, L+R buttons don't activate autopilot in ACX unless you change the controls. To activate autopilot in ACX it's up the dpad which kind of sucks because you can't look around.
ACJA has better story and that really gives it an edge compared to ACX's pathetic story. In fact I'm pretty sure ACX's story wasn't even written correctly. (the narrator says something about Griswall tower holding the answer, even after you've already captured it)
ACX has a good soundtrack, but ACJA's soundtrack is off the charts.
ACX *and* ACJA are two of the best PSP games of all time.
But this is aside the point. We're trying to figure out what YOU should do. You sound like someone who might like ACX better. But on the other hand you ought to try ACJA. (why would someone on an Ace Combat board not want to play an Ace Combat they haven't played before) The odd thing is you claim to be playing on a tablet (meh) using emulators (double meh) in which case nothing is stopping you from playing both.
edit: Go figure that you have already played it. But that's not a bad thing, this means I gave a candid answer and now I get to see how your opinion compared to mine, and whether I gave any "bad advice"
Joint Assault is a huge piece of crap, that's all the rating needed.
I didn't like it at first. I was so used to ACX (maybe a little too much so) that ACJA made me confused. It didn't even feel right.
But I have to wonder if maybe everyone who plays it will have the same reaction, not just people who played ACX. In which case maybe my opinion of ACJA is a little too sugary, because a first impression probably matters a lot, objectively speaking.
I think I was playing it wrong, though. The first thing I did was change the controls. I should have just went in cold.
Also. I remember picking the ground mission (misison 4) and unlocking an A6-E, and i picked that mission for the Orgoi mission (mission 5) but the plane was so slow that it could barely keep up with the Orgoi. I spent like 10-15 minutes at full throttle to chase the Orgoi down before I finally beat it.
Sometimes I think Ace Combat series should just choose the plane and weapon (and mission) for you.
Edited by rockshard, 21 July 2015 - 01:01 PM.