First online with Katamari, Ace Combat

Aug 23, 2007

Plenty's already been said about Ace Combat 6 and Beautiful Katamari, but until this week no one had seen a drop of full-on multiplayer action. Both games promised the feature, and had been explained through text, but now we've finally spent some quality time with two of Namco's biggest hitters. Oh, and we dabbled with Tekken 5's new online mode on the PlayStation Network, but more on that later.

Being the insatiable Ace fans that we are, Fires of Liberation was our first stop. Four modes were ready for play, each allowing 16 people total to soar through the skies, ramming missiles up after burners and the like. Battle Royal obviously pits every pilot against the other; Team Battle splits the available players into two or more sides; Siege has teams taking turns attacking and defending a set number of targets. Before the battle you can choose your plane, your special weapon and with what color your jet will streak the sky.

Above: Gameplay footage from earlier this year

Ace fans should know right away that everything works perfectly. The controls are tight, the planes handle great and all the chaos of the single-player missions is totally intact. NPC enemies like SAMs and AA guns will shoot anything and everyone, showing no preferences and picking no sides. Certain areas of the map will also trigger Nimbus missile strikes (they're the huge orange blasts that ignite large portions of the map).

Everyone already knows how hot this game looks, plays and sounds, but we noticed one other thing this time around - the excellent use of rumble. Hard banks make the controller shudder, while easy turns yield a tiny "bumpbumpbump" that's so subtle we nearly missed it. And of course, 16 players at once in an Ace Combat game is badass as hell. We just can't wait to hop back in the pilot's seat with this one.


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