Ace Combat Infinity hands on preview – Quality free to play console gaming

Today we got some  hands on time with Namco Bandai Games’ forthcoming Ps3 exclusive , Ace Combat Infinity which looks well set to join the ranks of the other franchises that have made it to the free to play arena.  Namco seem to be spearheading the movement, offering its well established brands like Tekken, Ridge Racer, and now Ace Combat what’s surprising is how playable and well polished these games are. Running much like their fully priced companions, but being full developed games in their own right.

Ace Combat Infinity looks like offering a comprehensive new story that ties the single player mode together. It’s here where players compete against fellow AI pilots for raking in high scores – to see who is the most effective pilot. The controls are precise, the movement and sense of speed feel right, and the mission structure, whilst very easy in the demo, are quick to play through. Naturally we expect the missions to be a little more complete than the two we played today, but as a taster of the quality of the game, the progress is looking good, and a real treat for Ace Combat fans, and those looking to get into aerial shooters without the price tag.

For the competitive, Ace Combat Infinity offers co-op based multiplayer, where teams of 8 can take to the skies and tackle the onslaught of AI opponents. Much like the single player mode, there’s a competitive edge as players working together also aim for the top score. This approach looks like being the additive quality, and  although nothing was shown in terms of how players progress through the game, we can be sure, that gaining top scores will be one component, and objective to chase.

So, from shooting down planes  in fighter jets, or taking out cannons in a bomber, Ace Combat Infinity looks like offering  a variety of aircraft to unlock and fly. There were only two available per mission in the demo, but it’s highly likely more will be on offer in the full game, of which no doubt some will take quite a bit of playtime – or coin – to unlock. We can only really speculate as to how Namco will handle the chargeable content in this game, but from what we can gather, nothing is final at present and the successes of the other two free to play games will likely be a factor.

Ace Combat Infinity is due for release in 2014, although no fixed period has been given. However, there’s some good news for fans and gamers looking to see what the game is about, as fans will be able to partake in a public Beta which aims to provide some valuable feedback for the development before the final release of the game.

Namco seem to be doing the right thing here by offering some classic games in a fresh manner and to whoever wants to jump in without too much commitment. The enticement to spend cash is there, but this is a much more grounded way forward in presenting a demo for your game to the masses. It seems every one wins, and if this model proves to be successful, and maintains the quality aspects on offer, we could see more games taking this route in the future.

 

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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