Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception - PSP Review
If youíre a gamer with even a little bit of interest in jets, then there is little doubt that you have been eagerly awaiting the next instalment in the Ace Combat series. Well, if you are a PSP owner, then the wait is over! Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception is here and brings the world of the famed flight combat game to Sonyís handheld for the first time. Does the series make the change successfully? Short answer, Yes. Long answer, ...
|Plenty of targets ahead.|
Letís start with the least important and arguable weakest point of the game. Following a journalist, the story tells of a massive war between the Aurelians (whom you will be playing as a pilot for) and the country dominating much of the game-world, Leasath. The journalist is investigating the war and how all the battles have started, and players take over as the story begins for each area. Itís basically the same deal as previous Ace Combat games, and while it does add to the games depth and make it seem more like a continuing game instead of a series of random fights, ultimately you can easily ignore the plot if you so desire, and concentrate on the flight and fighting. That being said, while itís not an award-winning story, itís not a bad one either. A decent basis for any flight game at least.
But enough of that, lets get to the important part of the review. Gameplay-wise, Ace Combat X on the PSP is a decent offering for any fan of the games. Focusing on the more action-based elements of a flight game (the dog-fights and outsmarting your enemy), the main thing you will be doing is chasing down your enemies and blasting the hell out of them - a fun way to spend some time in any game! Controls are simple and easy to pick up, making it a very accessible game to even those who havenít ever heard of the series. Sitting down and thinking about it now, there isnít really a lot to this game, its simple find, shoot, destroy, and repeat. However, it is only now that I am trying to describe the game that that has occurred to me. At no point during gameplay did I think it was overly repetitive.
|The Radar has you locked.|
If, however, you did find the game feeling the same, you could always play multiplayer with a few friends as Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception supports up to four players via ad-hoc (unfortunately no infrastructure or game sharing is supported) with six different modes of play available. Alternatively, you could just change over jets, with somewhere in the vicinity of 40 jets available to purchase in-game with credits form completed missions, there is your perfect flight vehicle in there somewhere!
In all honesty, the movement to PSP here has been handled very well, and this is probably largely due to the fact that the game has been built from ground up with the PSP in mind as itís only console, rather than being a simple port over to earn some more coin. However, itís not a perfect game. Controls are accessible, but they donít feel as natural as they might. The PSPís analogue slider doesnít seem to be quite as responsive as I would have liked, and this can sometimes leave you taking a bit too long to adjust your flight, or turn.
|The HUD is clean and clear.|
Another issue, which can be serious depending on the timing, is the games lagging. This particularly happens in some of the more populated multiplayer modes, but also occurs during some of the bigger more close-to-player explosions in single player and was responsible for a few of our deaths. Most of the time itís nothing major, but sometimes the lag can be substantial enough to allow the enemy fighters to get in and take enough off your health to bring you down. Not the most calming experience I tell you!
Finally, the enemy AI really does leave something to be desired. When trailing an enemy, or even facing them head-on, they do little to draw away missiles fired at them, meaning that you probably wonít be wasting too many missiles on miss-shots. Sure, it makes the levels less frustrating, but it takes away from the satisfaction of completing levels also.
However, the few problems marring this release are more than made-up for by the presentation of the game. For such a fast-paced, action-packed, explosion-filled game, the fact that it only lags at some points would suggest it doesnít look all that amazing Ė but as you can see from the surrounding screenshots, Ace Combat on the PSP is far from less than amazing. It looks great. Each jet model is unique and looks spectacular in its own right. Levels also look very nice and the story-based cut-scenes arenít too bad either. Generally, this is a game that isnít going to disappoint those players who think great looks are integral.
Likewise, audio is of a very high calibre and wonít disappoint in many areas. The one exception to this is perhaps the voice-acting, which I found to be very un-inspired in many points. That aside, effects are good, music is solid enough, and the common radio-chatter is realistic sounding. Even through the PSPís speakers, this is an easy-on-the-ears release.
|PSP graphics are pretty sharp.|
What is Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception? It is a very nice movement from PS2 to PSP for one of the most-loved flight combat games. Who should buy it? Anyone that is a fan of said series, or anyone with a PSP who wants a good-looking and fun game with fast jets and big explosions. Is it perfect? No, but itís a lot of fun!
Review By: Michael Hutchesson
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
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|GRAPHICS||Although it's not quite the best on the PSP, itís not far off!||87%|
|SOUND||Uninspired-sounding voice acting, but great otherwise.||80%|
|GAMEPLAY||There are a few issues, but overall, itís more fun than anything - lots of enemies, lots of explosions, lots of jets.||82%|
|VALUE||About 40 jets to unlock, plenty of levels and 6 multiplayer modes (ad-hoc only). A good purchase.||80%|
|OVERALL||Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception A very nice continuation of a well-renowned series that is sure to satisfy fans and even bring in a few new ones||83%|