AC6 is well executed and very fun. Mebbe a little style over substance but only just. Put in the top gun sndtrk and fly!

Alright, let's get this out of the way. 15 planes was a really dumb idea. Particularly the 15 planes they chose...eek! But it could be worse. I could be reviewing Blazing Angels again.

So here's the skinny: ace combat has come to 360, and it's right at home here. The game is very nearly "Gears of War" gorgeous. It's so pretty I might ask it out on a date...I might (I'm a little shy). No more Osea and Belka, this is a new continent with a fresh, although often times laborious, storyline. The massive sprawling battles are back however, in a way that makes dynasty warriors jealous. Everything is bigger and better to a fault. That fault is that sometimes there's so much on the screen going on that it's hard to figure out where your target went. But that's a bit more on the side of realism. To that end, mebbe 200 missiles and 80 xlaa's in your opening mission compliment -on easy- is a bit farfetched, but oh well...more carnage is always good.

As to the technical: we already know it's gorgeous. If you've been following the games' development you already know all that beauty is in the planes and the spacial effects. The ground is a skud, gorgeous from afar but nasty up close. Big surprise? No. It's ace combat, it's always been that way, and critics need to consider the requirements of that kind of distant and up close particle and texture generating. You wouldn't have anything left to animate planes....which as I recall is kind of the point of the game. The physics in game are as spot on as ever, though I recommend shifting the turning controls to the triggers and putting your throttle on the bumpers. If you do it'll control exactly like past ace games. The engine generates an enormous amount of accurate visual goodness for you, and does it without dropping a single framerate.

How about gameplay? Well the gun firing is a little more sloppy than it has been, but that could just be the early planes. missile lock is still 5500 meters and works the same. The enemies are smarter this time though. No longer can you get distance and play chicken with them so they fly into your missile. See it used to be the a.i. would not bank and evade head on until they hit 3000 meters distant. well no more. Now they bank at range, like a good pilot. Just like you will, when they detect missile lock they bank and evade immediately. Sooo, xlaa's are much more important this time around obviously.

The addition of multiple operations per battle is a very interesting twist on priority targets and it works really well so far. The AS gauge to apply allied attacks to a specified area is a really cool uber move, though I imagine it won't always be your ace in the hole...like obviously when your alone,but it does give an excellent sense of real time teamwork, even playing solo offline. All said and done AC6 is a valid successor to the series, and certainly scores big both visually and in the gameplay. Behind the scenes failings like only 15 planes for instance can be overlooked whenever your dumpy F-16C does actually shoot something down. Heh.

Yes it's worth buying and loving and nurturing. Ok I may have said too much. Bottom line: Any virtual jet jockey needs to play Ace Combat 6 to justify those ridiculous aviator sunglasses you still wear. Now get out on that next sortie!