But the game’s mechanics aren’t the only thing keeping Assault Horizon fresh, the variety of mission types are able to achieve this as well. You’ll find yourself as a gunner out the side of a helicopter, or even piloting an Apache helo while supporting tiny special forces soldiers on the ground storming an enemy compound. Even later missions have you using a DC-130 like that famous mission from Modern Warfare 2 or piloting a bomber and dropping laser guided bombs on targets. These small breaks in the air combat really go a long way to making the game stand out.
Another thing worth mentioning is the game’s production values. Graphically every mission stands out on its own - whether its a desert, snowy mountains, rainy coastline, or the cities of Miami, Moscow and Dubai - Ace Combat: Assault Horizon is simply gorgeous. Explosions of the aircraft are varied and impressive, and there’s little touches, like oil splattering your windshield when using the machine gun on the enemy that goes a long way.
Outside of a truly excellent campaign, Ace Combat: Assault Horizon offers versus modes, including a team based conquest mode that ties itself to a web meta game. There’s also persistent multiplayer progression to that ties to various unlocks which you can assign to your craft during these matches as well as the game’s cooperative mode.
Co-Op DFM is a ton of fun - just don't shoot your buddy!
The co-op mode in Assault Horizon is playable online for three players. Pilots can select a handful of individual missions from the campaign to play in co-op. Sadly, you’ll need to actually play through and complete these missions in single player to unlock - though someone can invite you to a game even if you didn’t unlock the mission. Most of the co-op missions focus on the jet based missions, but the Apache is playable in a few, including that ground support mission I mentioned earlier.
Co-Op expands on the DFM and ASM of the single player, allowing multiple players to join into the fray. While another player is in DFM, you can move up to the target and press Up on the D-Pad to initiate a team based sequence. It’s exactly like the single player version except you have multiple reticules and you can see all the jets during the sequence. It’s incredibly intense and a ton of fun. Similar to DFM, ASM locks everyone into the same path for destruction as well making sure no ground target is left alive.
Co-Op is a bit easy though, there doesn’t really seem to be a way to fail a mission through death, instead you can only fail if you miss an objective. There’s even some generous checkpoints available in co-op. With only a handful of missions it only takes about 2 hours to complete all of them in co-op.
Really that’s the only major fault I can find with Assault Horizon is that, despite a ton of great parts to it, they are all rather short when left on their own. At times I just wanted more, I wanted to see what the next trick developer PROJECT ACES could pull out of their sleeve.
When all is said and done I’m afraid Ace Combat: Assault Horizon will be lost in the Fall shuffle. The game truly competes with the likes of the Tom Clancy franchise games. While it’s not a perfect experience, and it won’t satisfy flight simulator fans, it’s simply a fun flight game. Sometimes we forget that’s what it’s all about - fun.
The Co-Op Experience: Play through eight missions unlocked from single player with three other pilots online. Use DFM or ASM as special co-op maneuvers.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.