Ace Combat: Joint Assault review

  • Fully co-op campaign
  • A handful of inventive missions
  • Branching paths give reason to play again
  • Not liking these controls, man
  • Most missions are pale imitations of past games
  • Final boss is completely absurd

Joint Assault also brings over the online versus modes found in Ace X, most of which are variations on classic themes. Free for all, territories, capture the flag, team battle and so on are all there, with new planes, special weapons and extra parts for fine-tuning your craft unlocked by completing the main campaign on various difficulty settings. They’re all fairly fun with a group of buddies (and feature music from past games), but the cramping controls and fact that higher-level jets make beginners seem like sitting ducks kept us from really digging the online multiplayer.

Above: Play more campaign to unlock the best jets, at which point you will dominate the versus modes

Finally, one of the game’s biggest selling points is the “real world” location, which replaces the series’ almost-but-not-quite-real setting. You’ll fly over vague renditions of Egypt, London, Tokyo, Lake Tahoe (??) and finally San Francisco, though most of them are, as you’d expect, kind of flat and meant to be only briefly seen as you fly by at 500 miles per hour. It’s a nice touch, though one we assume will be better realized in Assault Horizon. Hopefully it will also use this setting to create a story cooler than worldwide insurance fraud. Yes, Joint Assault features a riveting story about insurance fraud.

Above: San Francisco received the most attention, probably because that’s where GamesRadar lives

Had Joint Assault been released on PS3, 360 or even PS2 with all these features intact, it would have been a good, if derivative game. On PSP, it’s a good game marred by control problems and real world visuals that are limited by the hardware. Also consider the music, which fails to stick with one style, bouncing from rock to ballads to Eastern ambience to full-blown orchestra. Even the decent stuff seems out of place when it's surrounded by so many conflicting sounds.

tl;dr version: multiplayer-heavy Ace Combat that has a few cool ideas lost in an otherwise run of the mill outing. Sets the stage for Assault Horizon to borrow what works (real world setting, co-op campaign, reactive multiplayer missions) and do it with a bit more flair and polish.

More Info

Release date: Aug 31 2010 - PSP (US)
Sep 24 2010 - PSP (UK)
Available Platforms: PSP
Genre: Flight
Published by: Namco Bandai
Developed by: Project Aces
Franchise: Ace Combat
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Violence, Mild Language


  • JJx - September 5, 2010 12:30 a.m.

    L and R (auto pilot) and select can be used to change views on the demo... Im pretty sure its the same in the full game.
  • elpurplemonkey - September 2, 2010 8:26 a.m.

    Whenever I see anything Ace Combat related, all I can think about is tdar and the whole "Razgriz" thing- and that awful song.
  • Cwf2008 - September 1, 2010 2:34 a.m.

    Wait...the main story mode revolves around a worldwide insurance fraud scheme?! WTF
  • Onepersonwithnoopinion - August 31, 2010 11:09 p.m.

    These screens look like they were pulled from a failed dogfight-mode in Google Earth.
  • batmanboy11 - August 31, 2010 10:32 p.m.

    I didn't have high hopes for this anyway (or mediocore hopes).
  • CH3BURASHKA - August 31, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    If Brett Elston says it's a 6, it's a 6. I'm not a fan of flight games, but the new Ace Combat for the consoles looks pretty great. A handheld one is much less exciting.

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