Original post can be found in "ACAH:Final Thoughts Article". Post was done by Shirai_Kuroko, which is also me.
Well, honestly, writing my thoughts of Assault Horizon is almost as complicated as writing an essay for a history assignment. Trust me. At one point, I felt that the game was cool and enjoyable, but at another point, the game became a frustration.
So, here I go. Wall of text ahead!
What could have been better?
1. The storyline is indeed a drop in quality compared to the older ACs in Strangereal. You face a cliched story of US VS RU and US ends up winning. Also, I miss the plotline in older ACs where they are actually more of an anti-war instead of pro-war like in here (I mean that in AH, it seems that there's almost no negative sides of war being exposed. Well unlike the old Ace Combat games). And we need more explanations of things that are "just there" like the SRN (Who are they exactly?), Wolf 3 and Wolf 4 (We never know their faces, let alone their background is almost nil. PJ is a faceless character indeed, but his existence was much stronger than Wolf 3 and 4), and some missions are just like "we end up here without any explanation at all"
2. The TGT_LEAD in many, many situations is pretty much to be scripted. It's just like Namco forcing us to follow the TGT_LEAD in DGM so that we can see random stuff blowing up. Maybe next time, they should have just remove the scripted chase, or fix it in many ways that are mentioned in many reviews above
3. Missile homing accuracy is just terrible. QAAMs don't work like it used to be in previous ACs, 4/6AAM's lock on system is just terrible, and I don't like the idea of "instant salvo". I wish if they work like what XMA4/6 did in AC6.
4. Missions, especially ground attack missions should have more contens. I am jealous with players having the joy to have a big battle in AC6's SP.
5. GUN. We need the old gun piper that adjusts with your plane's movement and not a damn crosshair ala HACK2. Also, gun's damage should be improved to a sensible extent. (We might not want to see an overpowered gun like in AC6)
6. There could have been more plane selection. Su-37 and TND-Gr.4 as paid DLC? No way. Unless if it is going to be free after some time.
7. We need scoring system back. It's not Ace Combat where we can use planes as soon as it was available. I miss the old times where I was pumped to be better in next missions to unlock the plane I wanted
8. Tu-160 and Tu-95MS should be usable, or if not, at least it should be in MP.
9. Helicopter missions need to be shorter. In fact, "Motherland" feels more suitable to be flown with an Attacker Jet rather than an Attack Helicopter. And Helicopter selection needs more options. Perhaps, Mi-28N, AH-1Z and AH-6 can be used?
10. SP weapons need more options.
11. Graphics should be like AC6
1. Probably there should be a 8v8 team deathmatch and not just a free-for-all deathmatch as we seen here. I'd love to experience an air battle as a team and not just in a "one man for himself" style. I do, however, enjoy the current DM mode.
2. Low-rank aircraft should be better defined. I don't think Su-33, F-15C, and F-14D fit as a low-tier aircraft in an Ace Combat game
3. People spamming Su-35S and F-22A in MP (Even though you can just counter-Raptor them)
4. DFM needs a fix. I had countless time where I died, or have a sudden CRITICAL DAMAGE right after I managed to do the counter maneouver BY THE PLANE THAT I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE COUNTERING, or when the DFM suddenly sent me crashing into the ground but the target survives and I died instead.
What was just right?
1. STEEL CARNAGE of course. Many says that killcams are annoying, but for me, not. It's actually pretty cool to see your target break apart into pieces as you scored a critical hit. The physical deformation of the enemy aircraft is just enjoyable to see and at times, made you scream in joy. And nothing's more amusing than to see the pilot gets sucked out too. Or maybe I enjoyed it because I was playing too much Heatseeker?
2. Some pieces of Soundtracks like "White Devil", "Dogfight", "Fighter"/"Gotta Stay Fly" are just too epic.
3. Ability to restrict players to use low-rank planes in MP. So say goodbye for F-22A spam
4. Kirovs are really Kirovs, and Kuznetsovs are truly Kuznetsovs. Their AA guns cut up airplanes really fast and take a hell lot of beating to break apart. It's not like in AC5 where you pop 2 LASMs to a Kirov/Kuznetsov Carrier and it's already sent to the sea bottom for good. Watching it breaking apart is even more satisfying
5. Custom paint schemes. Even though I prefer standard paint schemes even more
6. Length of missions. Although it needs more battle. AC6 is a noble example, although actually I'd prefer a huge air battle like Comona from AC04 (Power Play is a close example, but it loses its atmosphere due to scripted TGT_LEADs and not all targets are boxed)
7. Incoming missile indicator ala HACK. Now you can guess where a missile coming from via your HUD. No need to look at your radar anymore.
8. Enemies firing a hell lot of missiles on you.
9. Counter Move animation is just cool
10. AC-130 mission. It's frustrating alright. But the enemy actually doing damage to your plane is a good idea. Simply covering your squad like in Call of Duty 4 and HACK2 (Yawn, did I have to say that goddamn trash again?) makes me yawn. But the AC-130U needs flares, and I am sure the real AC-130U has a hell lot of them
What surprised me?
1. ICBM in "Launch". It fried my F-15C for 15 times before I made it
2. Akula's fight was surprisingly easy. Even on ace
3. Bouncing off from ground when hitting it at shallow angle
Features should be kept
1. DFM and ASM
2. Custom Colour
Features should be removed 1. MH-60 door gunner mission.
2. Health regeneration (Or at least keep it in lowest difficulty)
After all. Despite of my complaints of Ace Combat Assault Horizon, I still find it as an enjoyable game. The graphics are quite good unless if you fly too low (That's a classic issue anyways), and the AI is also much smarter-They don't blindly fly into your missile head-on, but they should be able to counter your DFM faster to make the game more challenging. And characters that actually exist (Bishop, Guts, Akula) are pretty strong, and I like the "speaking protagonist" idea. I think that with this "experiment", Namdai should be able to learn from the right things and the mistakes in Assault Horizon, and apply the lessons they learnt for the next game (If they still make Ace Combat that is).
And despite GameSpot and 1UP gave the game a slap (5.5 out of 10 and 33 out of 100 each), but most reviewers still see it as a good game, and so do I. And with the good sales as mentioned above, then I am sure that AH will still keep Ace Combat series alive.
And as a closing word, we still remember the tagline "It's changing everything. Again" in the end of Ace Combat 04. I think Assault Horizon truly deserves it.
Final score: 8/10-This game has a potential to be enjoyable, but it has some issues to be fixed so that it can be as enjoyable as its predecessors.
And so, I write to you.