Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception
Those skies sure look scary! We look past the fog of deception to give you the low down on the latest in the Ace Combat series.
Not something you see very often, a flight game on a portable system. It's been done before a few times with varying results. What we have here is a PSP adaptation of Namco's long lived Ace Combat series, which we've seen span the entire Playstation lineage so far. The Ace Combat games have always mixed great arcade styled flight shooting action with an interesting, often quite moving storyline, told though CG videos or still images. By arcade style I mean you've usually got 40 missiles strapped to your plane rather than 4 and seem to magic up several bombs from some kind of mystical bomb hatch. That and the fact you usually don't have to worry about either taking off or landing that much.
A diversion from the more recent console games in the series, Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception sees you play the role of a pilot of the airforce of the Federal Republic of Aurelia. Assigned to the Gryphus squadron, its upto you and your comrades to defend your homeland from an invading force from the neighboring state of Leasath, where a civil war has been raging which is now spilling over into Aurelia. The games campaign mode will consist of you defending your homeland, engaging in missions to defend strategic locations, the structure of the missions evolving depending on your actions rather than just being rigidly set.
The games not limited by its being on a portable system, there's going to be a rather fruity selection of planes for you to fool around in the sky in, many of them real world planes like the F-14D Super Tomcat and the F-3 Tornado but also a few impressive custom concept designs. The graphics are impressive enough with some great detail and animation on the planes themselves, the floor detail can be a little sparse at times but what bridges and installations there are do impress.
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception introduces wireless multiplayer to the series, with support for upto 4 players and a supreme selection of different gaming modes like Dogfight! Where you are pitted against your friends in a battle to the last plane or a continuous ongoing deathmatch scenario. Then you have Air Superiority mode, where the aim is to stay alive longer than your buddies. Data Beacon mode has you capturing beacons and bringing them back to your base, so, an airborne capture the flag game then! With Base Attack you have to juggle defense of your own base with attack of your friends. Finally in Escort battle mode one team is tasked with guarding an air convoy and the other team ofcourse taking the offense. These multiplayer modes are played over a variety of selectable landscapes from the main game and you can adjust ingame factors like the strength of your firepower or the amount of bases to guard/attack.
Also included now is the option to tune your aircraft in a manner similar to that found in games like Gran Turismo, adjusting wing, engine, armor (e.g. lightweight armor giving you more speed or the ability to stock up with more weapons), cockpit setup and weapon settings in a hope to make yourself ever so slightly more efficient at spreading death in the skies. You can also alter the planes paintjob, varying from military grays to crazy camouflage, with the possibility of some special paintjobs to unlock too.
The game seems so be shaping up nicely and should be make a nice change from the psp's usual fare. Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception should hit the stores 17th October and we'll have a review up shortly, so get ready to get your jumpsuit on and grab your PSP, though you might find it difficult to play with those gloves on...