SKY SESSIONS: Ace Combat™ Assault Horizon Legacy+ On Nintendo 3DS
Andrew Stevens from Fanbolt.com periodically shares his “Sky Sessions” and thoughts on flight sim with Saitek.
I absolutely loved playing through the original Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy on the Nintendo 3DS when it released back in 2011. So knowing that a new version is now out with further enhancements to fit the release of the New Nintendo 3DS greatly excites me.
One of the new features added to the game is a change that can entice all Nintendo fans to play the game. There are hidden (well not really “hidden”) question mark blocks within specific missions that when shot down, a super star shoots out from within it, unlocking a new Nintendo character themed aircraft. It’s really not the type of addition that will completely wow anyone, but I must admit that I absolutely love going through missions and shooting down those blocks so that I can fly high in the skies with aircraft that have skins based on some of my favorite Nintendo characters and more!
A perfect example is that I can be rollin’ barrels in the sky with a Donkey Kong themed aircraft. Oh yeah! Alright, well it’s more about doing barrel rolls than actually rolling barrels, but close enough, right?
By the way, just to warn everyone: be careful not to actually fly into the block like I did on one occasion. That ends in mission failure, forcing players to restart. I should have known, but I guess I was just so happy to shoot down the block to unlock another aircraft.
Having the newly themed aircraft made going through the missions feel like a fresh and new experience and I very much enjoyed it. And that’s not the only way to unlock new character skins for aircraft as players can also use amiibo figurines to unlock them. There are themes for Mario, Luigi, Fox, Princess Peach, Donkey Kong, Bowser, and more.
Another new feature comes in form of gameplay as players can use the new C stick on the New Nintendo 3DS XL to adjust the camera. Also, the new ZL and ZR buttons on the back of the system can be used to yaw left and yaw right which is much easier and more natural than using the d-pad. Those who fly often will greatly appreciate that new feature!
When it comes to the gameplay things haven’t changed much as the skies are still fast and intense, full of aerial combat. The game is still rather easy going so I suggest playing it on hard. Plus, and most importantly for those who like challenges, an even more difficult mode can be unlocked once completing the game. Ace mode!
Missions feature tasks where players must protect a downed aircraft and a cargo plane that’s traveling through a danger zone. There are also missions where players must blow up crates before they touch the ground and destroy missile silos which can only be hit from specific angles. That’s when being an ace pilot is needed as those silos are hidden within canyons that are dangerous to fly in. But mostly, the gameplay is all about shooting down enemy planes and blowing up ground units.
Something I remember being a bit odd when playing the original and again with the rerelease is that there are many moments during gameplay where it appears that enemy aircraft are just sort of hovering in the distance. The sense of speed can lack at times. Plus, there isn’t always a big need for being the best pilot the skies have ever seen as the special maneuver (Y-button) feature makes things rather easy. When players come within close range of an enemy aircraft, they can press the Y button which allows the aircraft to automatically jump in right behind the enemy aircraft, setting the player up for a perfect shot.
The special maneuver feature isn’t always the easiest of things though as difficulty does increase, especially when facing off against other ace squadrons which is where the majority of the fun comes from in the game. There is a lot of direction + Y button pressing to avoid missile fire and to adjust position behind aircraft. There are also many times where enemy aircraft avoid the player’s initial attack and end up jumping behind the player in similar fashion. That’s when players need to be on top of their missile dodging skills.
The gameplay in Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+ does end up being a lot of fun, even though it can be very simple at times. It’s still my favorite flying experience on a handheld device. I beat the original Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy on regular and Ace difficulty and I’m about to beat the rereleased version as well. Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy+ is an absolute must own for anyone who enjoys aerial combat.
Even with the gameplay starting out rather simple, the excitement level continues to escalate when facing enemy squadrons and unlocking new aircraft. I also want to mention how lovely some of the levels look on the 3DS and in 3D. I spent a lot of time sharing screenshots to the miiverse community. There are still plenty of lackluster backgrounds too though, but for the most part it’s a great looking game.
For those who already feel as if they got everything they needed by playing the original Ace Combat Assault Horizon Legacy, then there isn’t much here to fully appreciate doing it all again even though I love collecting the new aircraft skins. Just know that the game really isn’t that different from the original. However, for those who haven’t played the original, there is a lot of entertaining gameplay that can be found here, especially for those who like flying and being the ace of the skies. The game is fine-tuned to fit the new features of the New Nintendo 3DS XL and makes it the superior version to own.
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