'Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception'

Ace Combat X Skies of Deception for PSP screenshot
Namco Bandai Games
After a number of years on the PlayStation game console with numerous sequels, the "Ace Combat" series is finally hitting the road.

Well, not literally, but Namco Bandai Games has just released a new addition to the series with "Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception" for the PlayStation Portable gaming system.

Essentially, the set up is somewhat similar to the previous titles with 15 playable missions that can be completed in a few hours if you're a good gamer. "Ace Combat X" doesn't follow or continue the same storyline as the console versions. Here in the PSP version you play as a resistance fighter pilot from Aurelia, trying to push back the neighboring country of Leasath, which has launched an all out campaign invade the country.

The graphics are fairly sharp and I was surprised at the look of the background scenery and planes - although not much detail can be seen. The HUD view, which is the heads-up display view, looks great on the PSP screen. All of the necessary data such as air speed and altitude are clearly visible.

One aspect that is poorly implemented in "Ace Combat X" is the camera view option. To switch views, you have to press the Start button and then select the camera view option that gives you the three selections. It's not like the PS2 version where you can easily switch between camera views.

After you complete a mission, you'll earn credits that you can use to purchase new aircraft. As usual, you get to select from a decent list of flyable aircraft from around the world, including the F-4 Phantom, the Su-27, and the new stealthy F/A-22 Raptor. Each one is particularly suited for certain missions such as air-to-air combat or air-to-combat.

You can also purchase upgrade parts such as armor, weapons systems for your planes. As far as weapon systems go, you're able to select from standard missiles and bombs and you can also purchase special weapons before a mission. The audio effects are pretty decent as well. Radio chatter from your wingmen fills the air waves, too.

Of course veterans of the previous PlayStation "Ace Combat" games are probably wondering about the controls. The Left and Right buttons at the top control increase and decrease speed. The analog stick lets you control the plane.

Sadly, whereas in the PS2 versions you could have given orders to your wingmen, here you cannot. It seems a bit funky at first, but after a few missions you can get used to it. "Ace Combat X" also features a multiplayer mode. You can select the multiplayer option for some ad hoc dogfighting with up to three other players.

The graphics, sound and dogfighting are all strong in this game. Fans of the series should definitely check out this title for the PSP. "Ace Combat X" is a great arcade-style flight sim. Click here for more screenshots.

"Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception" is rated "T" for Teen (Content suitable for ages 13 or older) and is available for the PSP handheld gaming system.