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E3 '11: Ace Combat: Assault Horizon

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Although Namco Bandai's Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is the seventh in the series, the reason there's no number in the title is because they consider this entry to be a rebirth of the series. This time around the goal was to make the in-game graphics as impressive as the old CGI trailers were. And from what I saw, they certainly succeeded at that. They're going for a more cinematic experience, and it definitely feels like that. As for whether or not they were able to make the controls more intuitive and easier for everyone to get into, I can't say because I wasn't actually able to play it.

Assault Horizon features a variety of aircraft including helicopters and bombers, and I watched as they demoed one of the bomber missions with Air Strike Mode. There's an overhead view as you mark your targets, and then the camera follows the final bomb down to the ground where a very beautiful (and destructive) explosion tears the enemy compound to shreds. It's as dynamic and cinematic as they were hoping. Then it switches in the middle of the mission from the bomber craft to one of the fighter jets protecting it as you take over there to play that side of the mission. There are going to be almost 20 missions in total, but because of the multiple viewpoints, some of them are like double missions.

There's no local multiplayer, but there's worldwide leaderboards to check scores and participate in website challenges. And there will be online multiplayer. With Capital Conquest Mode, you'll divide into to teams of bombers and fighters — your choice, so strategize appropriately! — to bomb the crap out of each others' headquarters.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is looking like a really impressive flight combat game, and is due out for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 11. And not only does the game use real-world locales for that added touch of realism, but before its release, there will be a promotional campaign with the actual United States Air Force. So look for that!

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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