PC ¦ PlayStation 3 ¦ Xbox 360 ¦ Wii ¦ DS ¦ PSP ¦ Others ¦ DGC Grade Table

Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception PSP

Published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by Namco
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

We’ve been fortunate enough to review a couple of Ace Combat games for the PlayStation 2 over the years and we’ve really enjoyed them. The games aren’t realistic flight combat games but they are accessible and offer interesting stories that help to tie all of the great missions together rather nicely. The series is appreciated by simulation buffs and arcade gamers alike. With Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception we have the first PSP Ace Combat game and surprisingly it’s just as impressive as the PlayStation 2 versions of the Ace Combat games that we’ve reviewed.

Ace Combat X offers a Campaign mode, a Multiplayer mode and a Free Mission mode for you to play. The Campaign offers three difficulty levels and a brand new story. The game tells of the war between the Leasath Forces and the region of Aurelia. Avenging a previous war with Aurelia, the Leasath Forces have unexpectedly hit Aurelia hard taking them by surprise. Caught unprepared Aurelia has been overwhelmed. The Southern Cross, a border defence air force is the only hope Aurelia have of preventing almost certain defeat. After you’re done with the campaign you can take part in an ad hoc multiplayer dogfight or co-operative battles, amongst other things, for up to four players. There’s also a Free Mission mode to sharpen your skills.

For the most part Ace Combat X is a great game. The campaign missions are enjoyable although there aren’t enough missions that simply concentrate on dogfights in my opinion considering that the dogfights have always been one of the best aspects of the Ace Combat series. The time limit on the missions can be a little irritating at times too. Impressively you have a choice of what missions you take and when you undertake them. Your choices affect how the missions play out, to a certain extent, which not only makes for a refreshing change of pace for the Ace Combat series but also means the replay value is very impressive. You’ll also get to choose from a wide range of aircraft and you can customise them to some extent with the parts you can purchase, which is excellent and again it does wonders for the replay value as you can use different upgrade strategies on your subsequent play throughs.

Graphically Ace Combat X looks superb. The Ace Combat series has always managed to look great on the PlayStation 2 but given that this game is running on a handheld console the level of detail on show is, in some ways, more impressive than the developers’ previous accomplishments. The aircraft models looks great and the general presentation of the game (menus and all) is very slick and a great example of how polished a game can look on the PSP.

Ace Combat X does have quite a bit of speech but thankfully the game is subtitled and you won’t miss out on anything of importance. The mission briefings are shown in text and you can recall them at any time prior to beginning a mission. Mission objectives are also shown in text. All important radio chatter is subtitled too and you’ll have the speaker’s name displayed above the dialogue.  The HUD provides all kinds of visual notifications and warning along with the time limit you have for the mission, which of course is rather useful.

Air combat games are not the first games that spring to mind when you think of games you can purchase for a handheld system but Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception is one of the best games you can currently purchase for the PSP. The game offers a good story, a solid control system, great graphics and best of all it’s subtitled meaning deaf gamers can enjoy the game. Ace Combat fans will love it and even those who only occasionally don’t mind a bit of aerial combat ought to give Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception a look because it’s proof that the PSP is capable of so much more than the  amount of tepid, mediocre games for the system suggests.

Overall Game Rating 9.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

(Click the letter or here for details)

A first class effort from Namco and a must for any PSP owning Ace Combat fan.