I have been a fan of Ace Combat since Ace Combat 5 and I must say that this game is horrible. One of the big problems is the dogfight mode. It basically puts you right behind the enemy and takes all the excitement out of manuevering behind an enemy and taking him down. The worst part is that you are forced to do this in order to win the missions. If you don't go into dogfight mode the enemy will repeatedly deploy flares and make impossible manuevers(I've seen a plane make an almost 90 degree turn) so that you cannot hit him unless you turn on dogfight. The whole mission is basically you in dogfight mode. As someone who has beaten all of the difficulties in the previous games I find this highly offensive that the game forces you to holds its hand so you can actually kill somone. I hate how they have a bunch of different counter manuevers and flares now. If I want to dodge a missle I will do it on my own, I don't need some scripted thing to get me out of it. The first mission is basically a tutorial which is really annoying. They should have made a separate tutoial like there was in Ace Combat 5. I also don't like how they put it in the real world and made the story horribly cliche. I thought the previous stories were alright(except for 5,). It was mostly about simple war, with two countries fighting each other. No need for complicated conspiracy plots. Now that I have gotten that out of my system there are some good things. The graphics are great and I love how you can customize the color of your plane and even the missles. I like the other missions they put in, especially the bombers, but they are of course not as good as the fighter missions. This game is an improvement in some ways but in terms of actual gameplay it is horrible, especially for Ace Combat fans. This is the only Ace Combat game that I am going to return within a couple of days of getting it.
Ace Combat has always been my go to flying game. Sure, HAWX isn't bad, but I always liked the cheesy sci-fi plots of Ace Combat and the horrible voice tracks and over exaggerated emotion. To an extent, you can find some of that in the new Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, but the sci-fi near future world is gone, replaced by a modern combat sort of world.
Hardcore fans of the series will most likely be turned off by this but newcomers will welcome the change most likely. The series is making a turn for the mainstream and the gameplay proves it. You no longer fire a missile at a distant ship and then forget about it, you get to go into a new feature called "dogfight mode." In dogfight mode you follow the ship extremely closely swerving in between buildings and doing barrel rolls all to stay on your target. Your machine gun and missiles are used to take him down as soon you can, but watch out because the dog fighter can become the victim with an unprepared counter attack.
New features like dog fight mode and the new storyline in a modern setting can be a little off putting for some people, but I'm enjoying it. It's not ideal, but the fun gameplay of the game more than makes up for it.