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Ace Combat 6: Fires Of Liberation Review

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Flying through the danger zone...

★★★★

While po-faced PC players weaned on realistic sims such as Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator may baulk at Namco’s outrageous Ace Combat 6, console owners more accustomed to a healthy diet of furious gunplay and edgy thrills won’t be able to resist the game’s lightning-paced charms.

Boasting stripped-down flight controls that allow even the most inept player to look like a dogfighting genius, AC6 provides players with precise control at eye-watering speeds, inexorably winding newbies into the game and allowing experienced flight nuts to quickly blast their way through the comparatively dull early levels and tackle the later, more thrilling instalments.

Slick presentation - including furious radio chatter from your allies that brings urgency to the action, and a genuinely scary illusion of speed - also help make AC6 an irresistible assault on the senses. And when you begin to tire of the single player missions, an intense online multiplayer mode where you can team up, Top Gun style, with other human players to save the world will keep you winging back for more.

Teeth-grindingly awful dialogue, occasionally embarrassing movie sequences and some questionable sound effects deny AC6 a better score, but makes the prospect of its inevitable 2008 follow-up an exciting prospect.