E3 '07: Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation Hands-On

We take an updated look at Namco Bandai's newest installment in the popular jet fighting franchise.

At Namco Bandai's E3 2007 meeting spot, the company is offering the press a playable demo of Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation for the Xbox 360. In our earlier coverage of the game, we talked at length about the beautiful graphics and some of the gameplay systems the game will feature. This latest build gave us the chance to look at a brand-new level, as well as the game's mission structure.

The environment featured in this new level was a far cry from the dense cityscape of the earlier level that Namco Bandai showed off previously. This level takes place high in a mountain range, with enemy bases tucked into the narrow valleys and heavy artillery taking up residence on some high bridges. Much like the city level we've seen, the ground detail is simply stunning. Puffy clouds surround the snowcapped mountain peaks, thickets of forest cover large chunks of the mountainsides and ground area, and all the while, you're blowing the living hell out of everything you can get in your target sights.

Click to enlarge!

Of course, it's not all bang-bang rock-and-roll the whole time. There are mission objectives to pay attention to. One of the interesting things we saw in today's demo is just how levels will play out. In this stage, you begin with three different mission objectives, each in different areas of the level, and each integral to the overall battle. You can choose to embark on any individual objective at the beginning of a level, though some are more beneficial than others at the outset. For instance, you might be tasked with protecting a support plane. If you choose to ignore that objective and jump into another battle elsewhere, that support plane may not survive to the later stages of the battle, and that won't serve your cause particularly well. That doesn't guarantee you won't do fine, but it's good to pay some mind to what your objectives are and how they might impact you as a battle rages on.

As a battle progresses, you can jump back and forth between objectives seamlessly. Simply fly to another area, and you'll enact a new objective. Then fly back if someone needs your support, and you're right back into your previous objective. The levels are huge, but we found ourselves having little trouble getting to where we needed to get in time.

Combat is a relatively simple process. Ace Combat isn't aiming to be a simulation jet fighter, so you shouldn't have much trouble picking up the game if you've never played a game in the series before. Targeting an enemy is as simple as pressing the Y button when your targeting reticle has an enemy in its sights, and pressing B to launch your missiles. Of course, an enemy can evade your attacks, but if you line one up right, it's difficult for them to do so. One really nice feature is that you can hold down the B button after launching a volley and the camera angle will switch to follow the missiles all the way to their target.

Apart from a lengthy single-player campaign, Ace Combat 6 is set to include 16-player online multiplayer with multiple modes. Namco Bandai claims that the multiplayer modes will run just as smoothly as the offline feat, and based on what we've seen of the offline play, that ought to be pretty impressive. Ace Combat 6 is certainly shaping up to be a fun arcade jet fighter, and we can't wait to see more. We'll be sure to bring you more on the game in the coming weeks.

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Discussion

76 comments
Condog1702
Condog1702

This game looks so awesome!!!! i cant wait for it to come out!!!!!

OseanLight
OseanLight

Ace Enders never let me down! Nor will Ace Combat 6

darthzew
darthzew

If it's anything as good as Crimson Skies, then I'll pick it up.

packernation31
packernation31

Sounds cool, I got bored with Belkan War after getting about what I thought would have been half of the campaign, but now I can play online, which shoud be entertaining.

Yellow_SU
Yellow_SU

This is going to be the best online experience you could hope for. That and Halo 3. Get your XBoxes kiddies ! ^_^

rpawloski2458
rpawloski2458

This is going to be one of the sleepers this year. Ace 5 was so exquisite, and this one looks leaps and bounds beyond that entry. For me, this is up there with the all the big names like Halo, Bioshock, and Mess Effect.

dr_slim2004
dr_slim2004

Over g is worth a jam even though it got a bad review handling on jets is a bit sluggish but visuals arnt to bad prettyt nice you see the vapour trails aswell.

dr_slim2004
dr_slim2004

Not a sim this is not a diss so dont flame just read carefully im a flight sim enthusiast's okay my main problem so far is the missiles and take offs and landing can some one say if there will be realistic air to air stinger sounds and will there be sim mode wtf if there isnt this is a spoof then if this is the case wont be buying it and sticking with over g!!. if someone can put me right thats cool would be keen to buy it if some one can a ssure me of these things need bombs and well as air to ground missiles aswell.. p.s graphics are awesome and sounds are cool just like that bonwong grrrrdedd the stingers make when they locks and things and i like realistic landings and take offs.

personmann
personmann

all i ask for is my beloved X-02 wyvren to return to it's former glory as a naval fighter and for god's sake project aces give it her speed back (sorry just venting. still mad that i could not use the X-02 in the Kestrel missions when in Ac4 all of the reload landings were off of carriers) good luck namco, you are making me want an Xbox

MasterOfDarkCow
MasterOfDarkCow

This is my metal gear. Sony can keep that. This is awesome stuff.

Cruzadr
Cruzadr

The demo was pants moisteningly awesome. A couple of steps above the C64 version I cut my teeth on as an old school gamer. The aerial explosions and background effects brought tears to my eyes.

Jeht
Jeht

I really love this series and this one is looking to be the best one yet!

admiralvaughton
admiralvaughton

Damn, i really want this! I've played all the recent ace combats on the PS2 and loved them. I can't wait to fight like an 8v8 dogfight, i'd really want to see that, yeah and there is a demo, FOR GRACEMARIA!

Sin3246
Sin3246

Oh man oh man oh man, already got my reserve, LOL haha. I haven't had my 360 in a minute, so was there a demo released, or are they referring to an exclusive? Now we need an awesome ww2 flight sim for the 360, that would work with the stix

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

Agreed. The demo is sick, and online dogfighting will be awesome. I think I'll be getting the sticks too.

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

The demo was awesome...online team dogfights might just be what sells me on this game!

Eggsandwich06
Eggsandwich06

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hoolesy
hoolesy

How long has it been since a good flying game fellow xbox'ers! Looking forward to this one!

demonicwolf1942
demonicwolf1942

i wish i had a xbox :( im a poor broke college kids ;(....

vadmspartan
vadmspartan

I was sold on this in the first frame of the demo.

JehovaWrinkles
JehovaWrinkles

I have always longed for a jet-fighting game myself. So I got the demo and I was stunned to see the features of the game. I do hope that the jets will be good in the real game.

Headhunter01
Headhunter01

I played the demo and could not believe the graphics. I love the vapors that come off of the leading edges of the wings when you pull high Gs.

termadoyle
termadoyle

The very definition of the word "Cool".

kaven_rulz
kaven_rulz

bring it on!cool finally i can fly in jets lol

Carlos_Kain
Carlos_Kain

Support chaquil214... xbox360 is great.... not only because of the games.. but for orgasmic online gaming.....

chaquil214
chaquil214

this is so cool, the first ace combat online gaming, I can wait to play this games live on my xbox 360. another why everybody should get xbox360, it has the hotest games.

Victor_N
Victor_N

Yeah, Its sad to see such a great game a 360 exclusive when It has been a PS exclusive for so much time...I think it should come out for both systems. I'm glad its gonna come out on the 360 because of the crappy Over G fighters and its sad not to see it will come on the PS3 because the PS3 has no good airplane games so far

icytower
icytower

Wish it wasn't 360 exclusive.

gut_eater
gut_eater

Game looks beautiful. I think I'll pick this one up.

djord02
djord02

Had a great time with the early demo, can't wait to play the completed version.

direktor
direktor

Parece que temos um verdadeiro jogo em mãos, pena ser ainda um demo, mal posso esperar pelo jogo na minha consola.

daleyboy928
daleyboy928

thats whats up.. lookin forward to see what tetsukazu and the namco guys got in store for the game's music...

cbesett
cbesett

All i can say is "wow". After having MS Flight X chugging on my $3000 PC at 10 frames a second then seeing this run smooth as butter AND look 100x better --- it makes me wonder how pc fanboys can continue saying the 360 is a lesser machine. The games looks exactly like the screenshots and it really smooth. i hope there is a training portion in the real game cuz i was kinda lost a bit. LOL.

sameo99
sameo99

damn I really want this game now...:D the demo is AWESOME cant wait

darthzew
darthzew

Ah SWEET! This is one of the my top 5 must haves!

BlaqueFyreStorm
BlaqueFyreStorm

The demo itself is better than any of the other Ace combat games i've played. i've been a fan since AC:2 and i'm telling you...everything is pretty good looking. my only gripe is...like they mentioned in the article...if you hold down the B button when you shoot the missles, the camera follows to it's target. it's cool and all, but you basically lose complete control of your jet when you do that, because you don't know what direction your're going midflight. the first time i did it, i crashed, b/c i was tailing a bogey, hit him in the tail w/ a missile, and then ran right into him b/c the cam switched back so haphazardly

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

I'm gonna try the demo when I get home from work today!

phoenixboyz
phoenixboyz

i have watch the game play... when the plan fly low, it seems either the buildings in the game are too small or the plans are too big..... sigh... still this game not available for ps3 T_T

Gruug
Gruug

Really wanted to like the last installment of this game. Really couldn't get into it at all. In fact, ended up trading it back in for another game and vowed to never buy another "flying game" on a console again. There is nothing here that makes me wish to change that opinion.

Chef_Bretz
Chef_Bretz

Loved the Demo (looks & plays gorgeously) and can't wait for the full game!

yaminoshadow
yaminoshadow

the controls arent weird at all but it feels different because we were so used with the PS controller rather than the xbox. the demo was alright but since its a stand alone mission it doesnt feel really good. ace combat is at its best when coupled with a storyline.

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

I played the demo on the marketplace and I have to say that I feel that some of the controls are a little weird.