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Ace Combat Xi Skies of Incursion Review: Fails to Take Flight

Ace Combat Xi, oh the wonders.  This game definitely took flight on the PSP, and it was probably one of the best dogfighters on that platform.  Hopes were high for Ace Combat Xi also, knowing that Namco put a little bit more time and effort into this one, or so it seems.

Dogfighting in general hasn’t been quite a successful genre on the App Store, with competition coming solely from F.A.S.T.  Many have tried, and many have failed; Ace Combat Xi seems to have failed.  Fans of this dogfighter on other platforms may enjoy their 1 hour of gameplay, but otherwise, I think it’s best to steer clear.

Likes

Graphics: This is one good looking game.  If you compare screenshots with the PSP version and the iPhone version, they seem to be on par; the iPhone screens may actually be better than PSP.  I’m impressed with how the game looks, and I believe this is probably Namco’s best offering when it comes to graphics and 3D manipulation.

Ace Combat Xi for iPhone

Ace Combat Xi for iPhone

Ace Combat X for PSP

Ace Combat X for PSP

Controls: Once you calibrate the controls, everything is smooth flying from there.  Well, not everything but you should get the picture.  The tilt controls were accurate, well implemented, and made you feel like you were going on an actual plane ride.  Most dogfighters have successfully recreated the thrills of driving jets and planes, and Ace Combat Xi is no exception.  While some may feel that the controls are subpar and do get some getting used to, I found them to be quite perfect.  Of course, you must calibrate manually before even thinking of flying as you will experience some frustrating issues.

Dislikes

Short: 5 levels.  1-2 hours of gameplay.  10 planes.  5 unlocked through DLC.  $4.99.  $9.99 for all planes.  Pathetic.  I’m sorry, this is just another example of DLC gone wrong.  Namco didn’t do a great job of packing some content in there, and the campaign mode should have you squeeling for more.  Of course, most would have liked some more from that precious $4.99 they paid, and I definitely feel the same about it.  Ace Combat Xi is just way too short, and people looking for content should look elsewhere.

I’m somewhat disappointed with the lack of content as Namco has been in the iPhone market for quite a while now.  I’m not sure what their developing team is doing over there, but what they’re doing has put me in utter dismay.  Content is extremely lacking in this game, and that’s definitely unacceptable for a $4.99 supposedly full-featured game.

DLC: For one plane, you must shell out $0.99.  For $0.99, you can receive App Store wonders like Surviving High School from EA (which just happens to be on sale right now) along with others like Pocket God and Doodle Jump.  It would have been nice if that $0.99 DLC pack came with 3 to 5 planes, but alas that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Ace Combat Xi looked to be one of the most promising dogfighter out there, but like the Eliminate release version, is crippled tremendously by DLC.  You’re basically paying for the first 5 unlockable planes just for show along with an extremely short campaign mode.  Most of us aren’t willing to shell out $4.99 for another 5 planes, and I believe Namco failed to price this one just right.

Again, I’m very disappointed with their approach on DLC and content extensions, and Namco has disappointed me once again.  They seem to find so many ways to disappoint a customer, it doesn’t seem to be a joke anymore.  Industry veterans like Namco should start studying the iPhone market before diving in as most of their games just disappoint.

Calibration: Auto-calibration is a feature that should be present in every single tilt game whether it be Doodle Jump or Asphalt 5.  The exclusion of this feature may leave beginners frustrated and confused as their plane will start going up and down, up and down, etc.  I had this problem also when I first started the game, and the pick-up-and-play atmosphere is completely thrown away with the exclusion of auto-calibration.  If you’ve already bought the game, don’t forget to calibrate or you will experience some major problems.

Honestly, I had some really high hopes for Ace Combat Xi.  I thought it would be one of Namco’s best offerings on the App Store, and while I didn’t expect much from the design department, I was looking for a little bit more than just 1-2 hours of gameplay.  Don’t get me wrong, this is Namco’s best offering yet, but it still sucks like a weening baby.

Lack of content, auto-calibration, and more planes cripple this once promising dogfighter.  It would be nice if Namco would take this into account and regress for their mistakes and turn right back around and start updating this thing.  For now, Ace Combat Xi is best avoided until further updates have been made.

avoid

Ace Combat Xi Skies of Incursion was developed by Namco, and I played through version 1.0 on my iPhone 3GS.  The price is $4.99 with 5 planes available as DLC for $0.99 each.

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  1. Bruno Júnior on Friday 4, 2009

    A deception in my heart :/ I was expecting so much about this game. The game is fine, the controls are good, it feels like an Ace Combat, but only 5 missions made me cry tears of blood :/
    Hope i had wait for nodpad review before buy :/ 5 bucks woulda be half of song summoner… Bleh.