TGS '07: Ace Combat 6 Hands-On Impressions

We go online for the first time ever in an Ace Combat game. We died, but it was fun.

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If Namco Bandai was worried about how the public would receive the newest Ace Combat after jumping from a Sony console to Microsoft's, its fears were certainly calmed by the 900,000 downloads the game's demo has already received. Namco Bandai is showed a new single-player mission at their pre-TGS event yesterday and the game's online mode is playable on the show floor. That's where we went as soon as the show opened.

We snagged the first available controller and were immediately thrown into what appeared to be a standard deathmatch. It was already in progress, so the sky was filled with jet contrails, missile trails, bullets, and of course, jets. We were fighting along a coastal city, which made for some interesting tactical choices. Many pilots (us included) tended to head straight for the city as soon as we heard an enemy pilot had missile lock on us. The buildings seemed to provide some shelter, and if nothing else it was fun to zoom between structures.

From a technical standpoint the online mode played no differently than the offline portion. The frame rate was fast and there was no noticeable lag, though that shouldn't be a surprise since we're pretty sure we were playing against the people right next to us. One way in which the game did feel different was how smart the other pilots were. The CPU might be prone to letting you get an easy shot off, but real people are much more adept at avoiding your missile lock. They're also more aggressive so you've always got to be on your toes. Our time with the online portion of the game was over all too soon, but we weren't too disappointed as a Namco Bandai representative had an all-new level to show us from the game's campaign mode.

The level we saw was a new single-player mission, Ragno Fortress, the 10th mission in the game. A fortress that was once yours is now under enemy control. You'll need to clear the way for ground troops to come in and retake the fortress. The level is loosely based on the Grand Canyon and the heavily fortified base is right smack in the middle of it. You have three operations to choose from and you must beat two out of three to move on to the next mission. The first objective was to defend ground forces. Another was to protect a different group by flying through the canyon and taking out enemy targets, and the third has you flying through a tunnel and blowing up some sort of underground target, not unlike Luke's run on the death star in Star Wars.

After you choose the two missions to tackle you can pick from the 15 real and one fictitious aircraft in the game. As you pick your plane you can look at it from inside the hanger. The planes are incredibly detailed and they look great. After picking your craft you pick the jets for your wingmen. Our host chose the F-15 for himself and the A10-A Thunderbolt for his wingmen. Once you've got that sorted out you pick your weaponry, starting point, and it's off to the skies for combat.

This level appeared to take place just after sunrise so it was filled with intense colors. The sky was a deep blue, filled with clouds. The ground had an orange tint to it. Watching the plane go through the new high G turn we marveled at the game's great particle and lighting effects. As the squadron continued through the level looking for targets they came across a boat in the river and took out an operation on the docks with a well-placed missile. There was no time to relax, because as soon as the missile had been launched the jet flew under a bridge and pulled up just in time to avoid a giant dam. Once the canyon forces were taken out, the next objective was to cripple the base's power facility. It's a tough thing to accomplish alone, but you don't have to. As soon as you clear an objective you can call in an attack and all remaining allied forces will focus on your target. It's important to keep your friends alive or you're in for an uphill battle because there will be no one left to call. After our the allies took out the objective it was time to hit the tunnel--which turned out to be a bad idea, as the plane crashed and the demo ended.

But the demo wasn't quite over. You can now replay your mission from a variety of camera angles. Not only can you see what you were doing, but you can track your allies' moves in the replay as well. It's a neat feature that lets you learn from your mistakes.

If you've read all of our Ace Combat 6 coverage and you've played the demo, you're most likely itching to get your hands on the finished product. The good news about the two-month wait for the game, at least for non-360 owners, is you've got two more months to pick up an Xbox 360. That's the only way you'll get to play the game, as Namco Bandai still promises it's an Xbox 360 exclusive.

Discussion

45 comments
Expo_Smacko
Expo_Smacko

Yeah, it does look really good indeed. So many good games coming out. Oye.. :-/

deepshadows86
deepshadows86

this is going to be really good on xbox live

DarthEthong467
DarthEthong467

It feels like a stab in the back for Namco to make it exclusively xbox 360, I'm a big fan of the series, but at least it has made up my mind of PS3 or XBOX 360.

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

cool. though I will stick to the psp sries. I thought about getting the ps2 version but the psp woek well with the game having only one analouge stick. plus I want halo, killzone 2,GT5 and bioshock so I will miss this one. though if you could use a B-2 spirit I might get it.

HALCONAZUL
HALCONAZUL

Yay online air fights Ace combat style :D

Annihilator-X-
Annihilator-X-

I don't know if you know Ace Combat series is always based on the same world just different countries and time-lines. I think it's a great idea. If it's about US, Russia , China and Europe I'd be bored.

jaflash
jaflash

ace combat games are always the same why can't they have a real city for once I can't even pronoance the name of the new nation

rebelliousdude
rebelliousdude

namco said on an ign arcticle that ace combat 7 is likely to be on ps3 and 360 but ace combat 6 will only be on 360 cuz they started developing for it when the xbox came out (they cudnt for the ps3 since it wasnt released at the time). they should still port it over to the ps3 tho...

Timbo84
Timbo84

@truevar The Phatom did not get "owned" in Vietnam. Although it's kill to death ratio (overall 3:1) was seen as unacceptable by the military, it was still positive over the MiGs. In addition, once the gun was added, the ratio improved. Even without the gun, the Phantom used different dogfighting techniques instead of the normal "turning fight" that the layperson thinks is the only way to fight.

TheJamin
TheJamin

Im really new to the ace combat series, but i had a couple of beers one night while watching top gun, and turned my xbox on looking for something along those lines for a fix! i havent put the demo down since downloading it. more excited about this than halo 3

Cowman
Cowman

the previous Ace Combat games were really fun but bringing this to XBL is going to the key here. I am so pumped to get dog fighting!

Mr_Manikin52
Mr_Manikin52

But, we added a gun later and use the Phantom's powerful engines to out climb the MiGs.

boikim
boikim

Screw these foreign planes, give me some jet fighters like the F-22!

mike11230
mike11230

finaly it will happen an ace combat game for the 360

rainbowsix11
rainbowsix11

I have played every single ace combat and this one is going to be the best of all. By the way gamespot there is almost always a underground part of the game!

TheoleDominion1
TheoleDominion1

I never played the series, but I'm definitely gonna give this one a try. Anyone got any suggestion on which plane to use for someone just learning to play?

handag
handag

I Doubt they will keep it X-box 360 exlusive without they releasing a new series of the game for other consoles, so either there will be a new game to the PS3 or they will also release it for the PS3 on a later date.

truevar
truevar

Mr_Manikin52........... to bad the F4 phantom got owned by the MIGS in Vietnam because it wasnt designed for close combat and it had missiles which would miss the target most of the time. MIG was way more agile and had a machine gun. The F4 phantom didnt.

thee_Decider
thee_Decider

Pleeez... no more tunnel missions! I can't afford to throw my xb360 controller! Only 15 planes means I won't spend $$$ on the flightstick bundle, but I will definitely still buy this game.

n3ck
n3ck

I'm getting this for the online mode;D

daleyboy928
daleyboy928

the graphics are tight.. definitely lookin forward to also seein what Keiki and Tetsukazu (Namco Sound Team) got in store for the soundtrack...

d1m1x1
d1m1x1

cooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool game

yaminoshadow
yaminoshadow

hrm...lets see if bamco will pull off another eternal sonata on this game. we can necer be sure of these guys. remember when somebody said they werent 'aware' of a ps3 ver. of eternal sonata??

Mr_Manikin52
Mr_Manikin52

I like having older jets in the game. I loves my F-4E Phantom "MiG Killer".

Pete5506
Pete5506

the game is on my want list

f15srcool
f15srcool

I would be really into this, if i had a 360.

acepilot07
acepilot07

Nice I can't wait for it to come out. I wanna try the MP so much.

Gubitz
Gubitz

I'm not buying the flight stick i didn't like the AC5 one so I won't get this one and I'll save myself $150 for Halo 3 this week.

secondomen
secondomen

Cant wait to get this thing online w/ a few friends!

BulletProof007
BulletProof007

I love the series and would like to play this too.

booska66
booska66

Damm more dust for my Ps3 this is a must buy.

blackdemon_
blackdemon_

I have the PS2 Flight Stick that came with Ace Combat 5..... I hope it will work on the 360 because I'm not buying another one..... plus this one is white.... I prefer black!

ChestyMcGee
ChestyMcGee

Why fly Harries? It's more fun to fly the F-35, does the same stuff the Harrier does, expect it's faster. And what would be the fun in flying round in circles while the guys in the back do all the shooting in an AC-130? I don't see how flying a B-52 would be good either, you just fly in a straight line and then drop your bombs and then turn around - oooh! Exiting! :P The MP sounds really good, I hate all these stupid missions where you fly through underground tunnels and the like, that and the awful story lines and voice acting almost ruin Ace Combat...nearly, but they don't because the flying is so damn good.

Mr_Manikin52
Mr_Manikin52

I hope they will add a AC-130 Spectre/Spooky mission or fly Harrier jets.

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

that last paragraph is pretty funny. I dled the demo a while ago and loved it. Can't wait to see how the MP is.

FalleN_SnipeR
FalleN_SnipeR

i hope that you cane be a B-52 Stratofortress, that would be the sickest Ace Combat Game Eva! w00t w00t :)

MikeDecz
MikeDecz

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

zhevox
zhevox

lol bye bye PS3 Ace Combat 6 STILL XBOX360 EXCLUSIVE

harm0n1ca
harm0n1ca

Man oh man, just watched the new trailer and now I'm hype. Just one month to go, then online dogfighting awesomeness!

km1498
km1498

I've been a Ace Combat fanatic for ever, this one looks like it will be the best. I can't wait to play a deathmatch over Live.

Holopaw
Holopaw

Can't wait, I have played every ace combat, and liked them all. The online mode is what ive wanted for a long time too, so that makes this a must buy for me.