'Ace Combat: Assault Horizon' trails choppers, fighters, gunships, bombers

Helicopters and large-scale planes join the inventory of aircraft set to appear in
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as the latest trailer introduces the 108th Task Force and shows more of the series' new direction.

No sign so far of the superweapons, fictional aircraft and allegorical storylines that had been hallmarks of the Ace Combat series. Instead, close combat and a bone-juddering over-the-shoulder viewpoint are first and foremost.

The trailer emphasizes Namco Bandai's efforts to reach a more mainstream audience. One of the Assault Horizon's chopper gunners wears a helmet with a now-prominent skull motif, directly referring to a character from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

Assault Horizon's familiar Black Hawk and Apache Longbow helicopters also pop up in both Modern Warfare 2 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2, though Assault Horizon's focus is of course on the thrills of air combat rather than infantry heroics.

Along with the F-15 Eagle and F35B Lightning II fighter-bombers, a huge B-2 stealth bomber and AC-130 gunship make appearances, hinting at a greater variety of missions for players to tackle.

Longtime fans of Ace Combat may not appreciate the broader brush strokes of Assault Horizon, but for Namco Bandai - as with other Japanese developers and publishers - it's part of working out how compete with the increasing dominance of North American franchises.

Watch the "108th Task Force" trailer on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XF6Xc3Hgb0 or visit the official website at http://acecombat-assaulthorizon.com.

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