If you’re anything like me, then you might have done a double take when you caught a glimpse at the newest title in the Ace Combat series. It’s definitely wordy, and short of being a fan of the series, it’s fairly hard to distinguish exactly where this entry stands when compared to its brethren.
A quick Google search yielded some interesting results. First off, it turns out that Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+ is unrelated to the vanilla Assault Horizon, which was a console and PC exclusive from a few years back. Instead, Assault Horizon Legacy+ is (for lack of a better term) a re-release of 2011’s Assault Horizon Legacy, which in turn was a remake of the 1997 title Ace Combat 2. History lesson aside, the most pressing question is what exactly was added or changed in Assault Horizon Legacy+?
Unfortunately, not much.
Before I get into the paltry list of changes and additions, its important to note that Assault Horizon Legacy+ is still a fairly decent game at heart, mostly because it’s almost identical to the vanilla version that released in late 2011. The game features a story mode (complete with a cliched plot focused on a regional conflict) that boasts just under 25 missions, with each one clocking in at around 10 minutes or so. It’s perfectly suitable for small pick-up-and-play sessions, and while the story can be cleared in just a few short hours, there’s an incentive to replay, as certain missions are locked behind branching paths.
Even with a few extra modes outside the main campaign, Assault Horizon Legacy+ is mostly focused on shooting down everything in front of you, even if you happen to be on an escort or protection mission. It’s not exactly boring, but even with the myriad of aircraft to choose from, the inherent repetition begins to weigh down the experience rather quickly. If you’re the adventurous type, higher difficulties and a classic control mode can be toggled on or off (which lends a more realistic control scheme), though the default settings will likely appeal to most potential players.
It’s the same game that’s been floating around for more than three years, and the new additions really only cater to those who went ahead and picked up a New Nintendo 3DS. This time around, the game supports a second analog ‘stick,’ allowing for smoother and more refined control of your aircraft. Of course, this is natively supported on the New Nintendo 3DS, but what’s even more baffling is that you can now choose to use a Circle Pad Pro, if you happen to be playing on a regular 3DS or 3DS XL. I’m never one to complain about additional (and more useful) control schemes, but it’s a bit of a headscratcher as to why it took more than three years to get support for a dying peripheral. Even more baffling is why this couldn’t have been served up as a free update or patch, as opposed to a fully priced retail release.
The second addition comes in the form of amiibo, the quirky and charming line of figurines that Nintendo has been embracing across a lot of its titles. The New 3DS has the ability to scan amiibo through the bottom touch screen, allowing players to unlock a few Nintendo-themed jets by simply scanning a compatible figure. If you don’t happen to own a New 3DS, this feature won’t be available until Nintendo releases a scanning peripheral for the older 3DS models, though as a consolation prize, some (but not all) of the new aircraft can be unlocked in-game, without the need for any amiibo.
If you do happen to be using a New 3DS, you can take advantage of the super-stable 3D, which does look great in action. Still, Assault Horizon Legacy+ features the same graphics from years back, and while it does look fine, a lot of the detail is lost on the small screen, with the visuals often coming off as blurry and hard to focus on.
Still, it’s hard to go about recommending Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+, even if you have a New 3DS and a handful of amiibos to take advantage of. While the New 3DS does benefit from the improved control scheme and stable 3D, this is still the same game that has come and gone, and most would be better off tracking down the original version for a more suitable price, rather than shelling out for a full-priced title that blurs the line between re-release and cash grab.
This review is based on the Nintendo 3DS exclusive version of the game, which we were provided with for review.
With only a few minor additions, it's hard to recommend Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+ to anyone but the most diehard of fans.