Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Ace Combat, with its unusually substantial narratives, has always been the flight game to try and make you care about the events surrounding each title. All the heartache, loss and joyous events, have been attempts to make your aerial skirmishes appear to have much more of a meaning than just blowing things up with no real reason.

Namco Bandai’s first new generation offering of the series, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, sees the capital city of Emmeria, Gracemeria, taken over by opposing forces and the story initially follows a woman as she tries to find her daughter, whilst worrying about her husband’s (that would be you) aerial exploits. It’s by no means amongst the greatest of stories ever told in a game and is ultimately a bit cheesy, but it’s certainly solid enough and better than having nothing at all.

But despite its good intentions, I would be lying if I were to say that I play an Ace Combat game primarily for its emotionally charged yarn, I play it for the arcady and explosive combat, of which it offers in spades.

It doesn’t hurt that it looks tremendously beautiful either.

Clouds look nice and fluffy, smoke echoes the firing of missiles and the all important planes are solid looking. It’s all a real spectacle and easily the most gorgeous of plane games yet. It’s just a shame that the explosions don’t look, well, a little more explosive.

Aurally it’s rather good too. There’s plenty of radio chatter, both from yours (includes plenty of mood lifting congratulations) and the enemies squads (laugh as you get the upper hand in a battle and the enemies almost cry for their mummy’s), explosions sound mighty, planes whoosh through the heavens and the heroic musical score is a fitting partner to the on screen action. Like the lovely visuals, it all draws you in and almost makes you feel as if you’re really up in the sky blowing planes to pieces, even if your real life is pathetically mundane in comparison.

I may very well have gushed over both the sound and appearance of the game, but that isn’t to say that the game in this game (the parts you play dummy) isn’t fantastic, because it is.

The missions are all the usual protect and good old “blowing things to smithereens” affairs, which means from time to time the game can begin to grow a mite monotonous, but it’s hardly fair to blame the game, as it’s just a part of the genre that has to be accepted by its fans.

Every mission sees you joined by your trusty wingman, who you can give some limited commands to and does offer some solid help, even if it’s not all the time. But it’s the allied support that proves to be the most useful in a fight; this valuable bunch can really make a tough battle much easier.

This sixth instalment is the first game in the series to offer online play and happily it isn’t just boring old death match modes (though that is present for you boring types) There’s also some coop missions that require you to play nice and work together rather than blow one another out of the sky, amongst other modes.

Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation is exactly how this writer likes his plane games, which is to say exciting and smooth to control. Fires of Liberation may not have much in the way of realism, but who can argue with fun? A heavenly delight!