Yoshi’s Crafted World (Nintendo Switch) Review

You can find this review in full at GBAtemp.net:
https://gbatemp.net/review/yoshis-crafted-world.1005/

The Yoshi series as a whole is something that’s always enthralled me. Growing up with the GBA port of Yoshi’s Island, the casual explorative platformer series has managed to keep me interested through both the good times and bad. After harbouring mixed feelings for both Yoshi’s New Island and Woolly World, I find myself once again eager to explore, hoping to be charmed and captivated in the same way the series first caught my eye.

A Whole New World

Opening with a short cutscene, the game begins with a peaceful Yoshi society, this time lazily gathered around the legendary Sundream Stone. Eager to claim the stone’s fabled power to grant wishes for himself, Baby Bowser suddenly appears raring for a fight. After an intense round of tug of war between the jealous junior and our party of friends, the stone is pulled apart, its five Dream Gems launched across an unknown world. Intent on finding the gems before Baby Bowser can, the Yoshis set out on a new quest in this foreign land.

I feel there’s only so much I can say here; I doubt you’ve come to the game for a particularly deep or intense storyline, though that’s an avenue I’d personally be interested in seeing Nintendo go down. What the introduction does well in is highlighting what’s to come. You have the bright colour scheme, a myriad of Yoshis to choose from, a new visually stunning art direction, and of course, the brilliant duo that is Baby Bowser and Kamek. With these glimmers of radiant hope, the game set my expectations high, and it really didn’t disappoint.

Launching into the first level, the same one featured in the free eShop demo, you quickly begin to see what’s changed from a mechanical standpoint. Having played Yoshi’s Island quite recently, I found myself immediately taken aback by two things: movement and eggs. As a whole, the game feels fluid and responsive, the controls something that can be picked up in a matter of minutes. In an attempt to keep things moving and minimise downtime, the game also does well in streamlining certain things such as swallowing enemies, the egg conversion now automated instead of having to crouch. It defines itself as a unique entry to the series without straying far enough from its roots as to remove what made it great so many years ago. I found it incredibly satisfying to play, but only when jumping back to the SNES version of Yoshi’s Island did I realise just how different it is, and by no means do I think this a bad thing. The game is slower, but in what feels to be an intentional way; you have time to see the multi-layered levels, time to pick up on the small details and hidden secrets that make the Yoshi series so fun. With the new ability to shoot into both the foreground and background, you come to appreciate the change of pace.

The strangest quirk to irritate me as I started ended up being the fact your eggs don’t carry over from level to level as they did in older games, but the more I played, the more I came to appreciate the reasons behind this choice. Enemy placement feels far more meaningful and well-paced as to provide both ample ammunition to progress and subtle hints of what’s available to hit nearby. You also have areas with few eggs and challenges that require them, adding a thin veil of challenge to an otherwise largely laid back game. As you progress, you begin to make better use of what the levels give you, and as a whole it goes a long way in crafting an enjoyable experience.

Yoshi’s Crafted Collectathon

While the challenges of Yoshi games have often been found in collecting everything the game has to offer, Crafted World takes this to new unparalleled heights. Each level has a number of visible flowers as you’ve likely seen in previous games of the series. The amount varies from level to level with some lying around, some hidden behind floating clouds, and others obtained through small challenges. You then have three bonus flowers for each level; one for collecting 100 coins, one for collecting the 20 red coins, and one for finishing the level on maximum health. Finally, you have four flowers on offer for optionally completing the course in reverse and finding mini Poochies, with one flower being awarded for each of the three found, and the last being a reward for completing the stage in a set time. Once you’ve beaten each level in a world, you’ll then be tasked with extra missions to seek out souvenirs, with each one successfully found rewarding you with an additional flower. That’s everything. While you do need flowers to unlock new worlds and progress through the game, the levels are structured in a way as to encourage exploration and discovery without forcing it on you. It’s balanced well to the point of unlocking worlds being satisfying without feeling gated behind unnecessary walls. 

At first glance, the sheer volume of flowers is overwhelming and as I played the first level, I found myself incredibly irritated by the design as a whole. After all, if you want to get everything, you’ll be playing through each level three or four times: once for the normal completion, once in reverse, and once more for each souvenir. Having already played the first level via the demo, I had already appreciated the sights, I had already spotted the cows, and I’d already seen the small details on show as you go through in reverse. What I had however forgotten was how much I loved doing it in the demo; it’s almost amusing to me how my first impressions of the game’s collectibles was jaded not through any fault of the game itself, but by my completionist attitudes in full force when playing the demo. Despite each level being packed with content, and despite there being an incredible depth of gameplay that can shift by simply focusing your attention on different areas of the level, I found myself burned out by something that could have so easily been solved by carrying over save data. Though I thoroughly enjoyed experiencing everything each level had to show, I do feel it negatively impacts replayability to the game as a whole. Once you’ve seen everything, you really have seen everything, and I just can’t see myself coming back to play it any time soon. It’s not to say I won’t come back to it again a few years down the line, or going through the odd level again with different friends, but otherwise it’s something that’ll be be sat collecting dust.

The two player options are however worth mentioning for a way to keep your experience fresh. Where I usually meticulously scour levels for every secret and collectible, everything is different when I pull a friend in. Gone are the methodical searches, one of a friendly journey or competitive death battle standing in their place. The degree of the coop play is relatively simple: you get two Yoshis and you play through levels as normal. You can swallow your friend to carry them, and one Yoshi can ride the other and play as a turret. It’s brilliant fun all in all, and does well in providing a platform for players of any skill to appreciate. The only fault I could possibly pull from this is the lack of option to mix and match game play styles. While the classic play the one I generally recommend people try, mellow mode acts as a perfect bridge for a parent to introduce their child to gaming. Giving you wings to flutter infinitely, as well as each enemy providing two eggs in oppose to one, the game is made easier and its challenges further trivialised. It becomes less about the level design choices and more about experiencing the music, the brilliant art direction, and the world of the game. Though it isn’t something for me, its inclusion is definitely not a bad thing, especially in a series like Yoshi.

It’s difficult to deny that Yoshi’s Crafted World is by most standards an easy game, but I think it’s brilliant for it. So rarely nowadays do we get the chance to explore and discover in such a relaxed and mellow setting. The game is forgiving to the degree of me feeling comfortable jumping off ledges from time to time just to make sure I haven’t missed anything; it isn’t something I could say of a Mario game, nor any other platformer. For every Dark Souls of its genre, I feel we should be crying out for a Yoshi. A game you can sit down and uncontrollably smile at, a game you can enjoy without pressure or stress. For anybody looking for a good time, or even just a gentle break from reality, Yoshi’s Crafted World is a must buy, and one I can wholeheartedly recommend.

GameSir VX AimSwitch (Hardware) Review

You can find this review in full at GBAtemp.net:
https://gbatemp.net/review/gamesir-vx-aimswitch.994/

Taking the AimSwitch out of the box for the first time had me quite excited to get stuck in. The design, put quite simply, is the left half of your average keyboard. Featuring 34 keys that can each be reconfigured via a free to download companion app, you’re given a lot of freedom out of the box. For me, my hand rests comfortably with my thumb on space, middle three fingers over the arrow keys, and my little finger on tab. The beauty of having half a keyboard present means that no matter your hand size of preference, you’ll likely be able to find a comfortable way to operate it; pair this degree of customisation with the adjustable wrist rest and from a comfort and longevity standpoint, you’re onto a winner.

Sadly, I can’t sing such high praises for the device’s build quality. At first glance, the key caps quite oddly caught my eye. Having owned a Razer Blackwidow Chroma for a few years, they jumped out to me for their faded appearance, almost as if transparent to allow light through. It’s a fairly standard appearance for a device with some kind of lighting, and yet the AimSwitch has no such thing. Seeing this, I re-read the manual and searched online in hopes of being wrong, but to no avail. I even tried putting one of the key caps onto my keyboard and lone behold, they are transparent. Though perhaps an odd criticism, it speaks to the lack of care and detail on show.

The switches themselves come from the lesser known company TTC. After doing a little research, I found myself unsurprised to see these largely a budget choice. Despite this, they still provide a reasonably satisfying click when hit, albeit with an accompanying echo I can’t say I’m overly fond of. To me, the whole thing simply feels cheap. While there is some satisfaction in the mechanical keys, the novelty soon wears off when switching between it and something better built. This might not be something you’d notice if you don’t typically use mechanical keyboards, the feel of its mechanicalness potentially outweighing the relative lack of quality, but for anybody accustom to anything remotely well-made, you’ll likely be left disappointed.

Coming bundled with a gaming mouse to complete the setup, I feel myself prepared to say more of the same. It’s fine, but the chances are you already own a better mouse. While the cable feels pleasant, the overall design is garish. Needlessly pointy with vanity spikes surrounding the mouse wheel, I felt it lack any kind of weight. I can generally forgive that as personal preference, but the overall outlook is one matching its companion: cheap. My biggest issue lies in the buttons you rest your fingers on and their oversensitivity. As I played, I found myself clicking where not intended, the clicks themselves feeling shallow and dissatisfying. Fortunately, you’re able to use the keypad with other USB mice, but it’s a little sad to see part of this set simply wind up useless.

Beyond the build quality, GameSir set out to appeal to a niche market with the AimSwitch’s console compatibility. This means anybody with a PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and even Switch, can in theory enjoy the same precision and input as their PC brethren. At least in theory.

Getting the AimSwitch up and running with the Switch is a simple affair. Plug the USB receiver into the dock, enable wired pro controllers via the system settings, and you’re good to go! When you turn on the AimSwitch, it’ll quickly connect to the system as a Pro Controller, with the mouse acting as the right analogue input. WASD controls your left analogue, the arrows are your D-Pad, and the other buttons are scattered within reach. The default setup is good enough to get you started, but you’ll likely want to switch it up to something more suited to your needs. Thankfully, this is a relatively simple task.

The accompanying G-Crux app for Android and iOS is essential to get the best out of the AimSwitch. Using the app, you can wirelessly update the device’s firmware, and more importantly, remap the keys to your liking. Each of the 34 keys can be set to your liking, on top of the mouse’s left and right click, and the two buttons on the side. With the ability to store up to five configurations on-device to be switched between on demand, you have the freedom to play as you want. Though the app is a little rough around the edges, it does well in providing a simple and easy to use interface. With the ability to name buttons with their relevant function, you’re able to quickly see what you’re remapping as you tweak your configurations.

Using the AimSwitch in-game is the thing I’m perhaps most conflicted on. I want to like it; I really want to like it, but I just don’t think it works. Despite the cheap feel of the keys, I enjoyed having the keyboard option for my system, and I feel this part of the device works really well. If you have a game like Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists where you’re mostly moving through menus, the flat half-keyboard is surprisingly comfortable and pleasant to use. If you have games that don’t rely on the right analogue stick, you may find some surprising utility in being able to play casually with one hand. It’s beyond this scope where I struggle to recommend it, and it’s hard to really put the blame on the device itself. Mapping the right analogue stick to a mouse is a flawed idea at best. When you use a mouse, you do so for the precision, for the responsiveness and fluid movement. When your mouse is mapped to the right analogue stick, you lose almost all of this. For any kind of precision, you need to mess with sensitivity in-game, you need to tweak the mouse settings using the G-Crux app, and despite my best efforts, I simply couldn’t find a way to make it work. The camera was too jarring, too slow, moving in too great an interval; the previously easy to use app suddenly became frustrating as I changed settings, disconnected, connected to the console, tested the settings, and repeated. With both the default settings and officially released configurations failing to impress me, I can see why the AimSwitch doesn’t have much in the way of console competition.

Overall, I’m left with a mixed bag of feelings for GameSir’s VX AimSwitch. Featuring quite frankly impressive customisation options and a unique offering in a remappable keyboard for consoles, it falls short in too many areas to fully recommend. With the core idea falling flat, paired with the cheap look and feel, I can’t recommend it for its current RRP of $99.99. What I’d love to see is GameSir look at what went well here and come back with something that builds on those strengths: a remappable keypad for consoles is in my eyes something with a lot of potential. With nicer switches, better key cap design, and even including an analogue stick for proper camera control, they could have a genuinely unique and brilliant product. Despite their shortcomings here, I’m eager to see what they bring in the coming years.

Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of the New World (Nintendo Switch) Review

You can find this review in full at GBAtemp.net:
https://gbatemp.net/review/nelke-and-the-legendary-alchemists-ateliers-of-the-new-world.989/

The Atelier series is one I’ve come to be fond of despite only dabbling in one or two of its western releases. Tasked under varying circumstances with completing requests in a set time limit, the games often see you gather materials through foraging and JRPG battles, before synthesising them into something greater with alchemy. This loop of gathering, creating, and fulfilling goals is satisfying and keeps you engaged as your tasks gradually become more difficult and the areas you have to explore grow. Roll on Nelke and her legendary group and we find ourselves with something similar, and yet not quite the same. 

An Aristocrat’s Tale

The premise of Nelke isn’t all too difficult to grasp; an excitable aristocrat sets out for the small village of Westwald as its new administrator in hopes of developing it into something bigger. Alongside this, you have a secondary motivation in wanting to uncover the secrets of the sage relics, the legendary Granzweit Tree rumoured to be hidden nearby. Finally, adding the fact the lord of Westwald is Nelke’s father, you have a constraint to keep the game somewhat grounded, as well as an excuse to weave in the series-standard timed tasks.

Of course, Nelke won’t be alone on her adventure. With her from the start are her maid Misty and the village chief Knoss, but it doesn’t take long for your party to expand as alchemists and familiar faces from the franchise’s history appear one by one through a myriad of botched alchemy and mysterious teleportations. The setup is undeniably simple, but does what it needs to in providing a stage for what is ultimately a grand celebration, largely reminiscent of how Fire Emblem Heroes used gateways to other worlds. Even not knowing the majority of the characters present, I found myself having a great time interacting with them and seeing them develop; I can only imagine how happy somebody who played the first game back in 1997 would be to see the its protagonist Marie again. 

Town Life

Though the game takes a while to get going as you battle through full-screen images bombarding you with tutorial information for the first hour or so, there is a genuinely satisfying experience to be found. The general gameplay loop can be broken down into two parts: weekdays and holidays, with a turn being made up of one of each. To avoid being sent back to the capital, Nelke is given tasks from her father to complete within a certain number of turns, and it’s here you’ll generally find yourself thinking ahead. One early task for example asks you to remain in profit for three consecutive days. With this in mind, you want to sell expensive goods. To sell expensive goods, you’ll want to synthesise them. To synthesise them, you’ll want the right materials. To get the right materials, you’ll want to setup your farms and gathering squads. On top of that, you’ll also want to watch how much you spend in labour and building costs; you need workers and you need to get things setup, but you also need balance. The early tasks introduce you to the supply chain and making profit as a whole in a surprisingly organic way given the direct approach taken for the initial tutorials. Once you’re free of them, you really find the game opening up and leaving you to decide what type of growth suits you best, and how you want to achieve it. It’s definitely a slow game at first, but sticking with it provides you with a fantastic satisfaction as you begin to see your efforts bear fruit, bombs, and whatever else you decide to make. 

Moving onto holidays, you come to a more relaxed setting. Gone is the balancing of books and maintaining of profits, new strategy arising from how you choose to split your time. During each holiday, your time is divided into 12 segments, where they can be spent either visiting your townsfolk or exploring a variety of areas for items and enemies. Visiting people will enhance your relationship with them, giving the characters you like a bit more screen time, as well as potentially triggering events and providing you with bonus tasks. Exploring on the other hand rewards you in a far more direct way, providing you with an additional means of gathering certain materials, or fulfilling the requests of villagers that may have asked for specific monsters to be slayed. As an idea, I quite enjoy how this is split. With each visit consuming two segments and exploration going for as long as you still have time, or reach the end of the path, you’ll find yourself adjusting your strategy throughout the game depending on what your current situation requires. Where I feel the game falls somewhat short however is in the exploration itself, and how it’s completely detached from what I would consider to be a modern series staple. 

Instead of moving through a dungeon area with roaming enemies and gathering spots, you find yourself automatically walking across a linear path. As you walk, your team will stop at random to pick up items or encounter enemies, your only input being whether they walk or run. Even after entering an encounter, I found little reason to interact when combat can be trivialised to the point of putting it on auto and letting my team win for me. This part of the game finds itself in an awkward middle ground where it’s not sure who it wants to cater for. On one hand, it tries to look back at the fans coming back for their dose of Atelier charm and throws them a fairly generic JRPG battle system and the general idea of material gathering from previous games; on the other it tries to streamline the process to fit better with the gameplay loop you’d expect in a town development game. Playing it, I found myself wanting either more or less. Were this to be streamlined further to a completely automated activity, I’d be able to return to the weekdays sooner and focus on a part of the game I genuinely enjoy. Were it to further embrace the series’ roots and go for fuller dungeons and progression in this respect, it’d have room to make a far more unique title and embrace traditional JRPG tropes in a natural way. In what feels like an attempt to bring two audiences together, I can’t help but think both are made to suffer.

Atelier for the Ages

Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists is an interesting game if nothing else. Celebrating a brilliant 20 years of history, it succeeds in bringing familiar faces together, tasking the player with building what feels like the setting for another game entirely. From the building designs, to the vibrant artwork, to the casual and slightly repetitive background music, everything feels so perfectly in place. While it saddens me the game doesn’t give you the option to run through your creation and really experience your work as you have so many towns before it, it goes to further emphasise this is an Atelier game like none before it. Whether it’s one for you is difficult to say, but for anybody looking for some laid back town development, accompanied by charm and vibrance by the bucket load, it is a must buy. 

Ace Combat 7 (PlayStation 4) Review

You can find this review in full at GBAtemp.net:
https://gbatemp.net/review/ace-combat-7.942/

Ace Combat is a series I’ve always been fond of despite never touching a numbered title. Enjoying the PSP and more controversial 3DS entries, the fast-paced dogfighting and diverse set of missions kept me hooked from start to end. Looking now to my first mainline game, just how far has the series come since I last looked in 2011?

Into the Skies

A swift reminder of how the home console experience differs from my portable memories, the campaign kicks off with a cutscene to set the tone for the rest of game. Visually speaking, it was magnificent. The cinematography, audio, and effects all contribute to a brilliant camcorder feel without necessarily having to sacrifice on quality to support it. Looking at the narrative itself, it’s about what you’d expect from this kind of game. You have your two nations at war and a new ace pilot on the scene; what made it interesting for me however was how this story was told. The cutscenes shifting between the perspective of what seemed to be everybody but the main character, you get a feeling of a world being built around him in oppose to him actually being the center of the events. Where he may be mentioned and involved in mission briefs and debriefs, the nature of the narrative prefers to shine a light on other characters through their storytelling. It does well in building up a silent protagonist in a way where he has a personality and an active role in events, while still giving you the freedom to project and really put yourself in his position and appreciate some of the more minor appearances.

I’m not sure I’d call the plot anything particularly memorable or ground-breaking, but it does what it needs to well. Each mission draws you in with new details of the world and ends with the consequences of your actions. Be it destroying a key structure, taking out an ace pilot, or even failing to protect your objective in some cases, you’re fed a reason to immediately want to move to the next mission. It gives you just enough as to entice you onwards, saying “this is what you did, don’t you want to find out more?” With how well this is executed, I did find myself a little disappointed to see a lack of branching paths. As one of my favourite aspects of the PSP release Ace Combat X, it added to this enticement by putting further responsibility on you. The flying fortress destroyed another city? Maybe you should’ve gone to deal with that first. You put yourself in a cycle of making decisions and feeling a necessity to see it through to the consequences; the lack of decision-making removes the biggest part of this. Given how the story plays out, it’s written well as to justify the lack of direct player choice, but I still feel something like this could’ve thrived on a smaller scale, the choices made mid-mission having an effect on the overall outcome.

The missions themselves still stand out to me for the sheer quantity of different objectives. You have the standard dogfighting as you might expect, alongside your bombing runs to cut enemy supply lines. On top of this, you have stealth sections, boss fights against unrealistically huge aircraft, protecting allies, there’s even a mission where you have to fly around and act as bait for a while. On top of this you have recurring ideas, now utilising weather and other elements to redefine what you thought to be familiar. My favourite missions came later in the game where I’d already bombed targets, I’d already fought aces and seen the seemingly-unbeatable mega-plane, and yet I was caught off-guard by just how fun it could be to add clouds. A standard “take out five radar sites” mission burst into a strategic game of battling the wind and low visibility to stay low, emerging to strike, and falling back down. There’s so much on offer that I truly believe there will be something that’ll make every player stop for a moment and reflect on just how much they enjoyed what they did. Even for those not fond of fighting are catered for with each mission having a free flight mode to be played afterwards, allowing you to fly around the map with no stress and no limits. Of course, I’d hardly recommend the game to somebody who isn’t fond of its best parts, but it’s a great way of easing somebody new into it if they happen to be watching you play.

Weather plays a far more significant role than I’ve seen in other titles. Instead of clouds simply being there to look pretty, they now obscure aiming and make it easier to dodge missiles. Rain splashes onto your HUD, turbulent areas wrestle control of the plane from you, you can even have your electronics disabled by a freak jolt of lightning. You have the missions I previously mentioned that go out of their way to utilise the weather as a means of expanding otherwise-simple objectives, but even when not in one of these, you still can’t help but harbour an appreciation for the intricacies of this system. With clouds in almost every sky, you usually have somewhere to hide if you need it. If I had to fault the weather for anything, it’s that they didn’t do enough with it. The missions that utilised it were fantastic, but what about those that didn’t? An option for the free play mode to change the weather would’ve been great and really add to the overall replayability.

As it stands, the game’s replayability stems from core two areas: its difficulty settings and the customisation of planes. Featuring three difficulty levels of Easy, Normal, and Hard as standard, you’re given the freedom you need to enjoy it at your own pace. On the lower difficulties, you’ll find yourself taking less damage and scoring thresholds being far more lenient on missions that require a certain score to complete. While the scaling of difficulty may do well in making the game more accessible, one thing I’m not fond of is how you’re locked into it after deciding at the start. If you progress through the entire game on Normal or Hard and happen to find yourself stuck towards the end, your only options are to restart the entire campaign or battle through the frustrations of your own inadequacy. Though a small criticism, a system allowing you to turn down the difficulty mid-campaign, would have been a simple solution. For the skilled among us however, there is the chance to go beyond—the Ace difficulty unlocking after beating the campaign on Hard. With this, even those only interested in a challenge have a reason to come back again.

Being able to customise your plane is something I’ve always loved about the series. In the options available, you’re given the power to create your own challenges, and to replay each mission again and again and still have them feel fresh. While difficulty options alone give a sense of replayability, it’s here where the bulk of it lies. In Ace Combat 7, you have the Aircraft Tree. Here, you buy new planes, parts, and weapons with the money earned from missions and online play. Despite being conflicted over what at first felt like yet another generic skill tree, I was surprised at how well-balanced it ended up being. As the player, you have the final say over how your money is spent. With an ever-expanding set of options before me, I was forced to think about when I should buy and when I should wait. It’s a layer of strategy without leaving new players too overwhelmed, the game placing key aircraft in your path early on. You get a perhaps undeserved sense of satisfaction for your choices, but it all does well in contributing to the overall progression of the game.

When it comes to mobility in-air, you’re given two choices of control options. By default, the game has a much more arcadey feel to it, left and right on the analogue stick actually moving the plane left and right. For the more traditional players out there the Expert control scheme is available, allowing you to fly by rolling and pitching. I spent much of my time using the Expert controls with them being closer to what I’m used to, but the default options are definitely worth giving a chance. On top of the simplified control scheme, the camera often felt more dynamic in its motion. The game ended up feeling more active and explosive, further highlighting its best features and effects. It’s hard to say which I preferred in the end, but in both I felt the responsivity and fluidity I’ve come to associate with the series.

Ace Combat: Battle Royale

For those seeking more once the war is over, the game features two online modes: Team Deathmatch and Battle Royale. Team Deathmatch is thereabouts what you might expect: split into two teams with the first team to hit the target score winning. Battle Royale on the other hand, for better or worse, isn’t really battle royale as we’ve come to know in recent times. Essentially acting as a free-for-all, it follows largely the same format as Team Deathmatch in the victory condition being the first player to hit a certain score threshold. Both of these modes also operate on a timer, avoiding the possibility of a heavily drawn out fight if the players present aren’t up to par.

Each mode comes with a short list of customisations, the two of particular interest being a cost limit and whether special weapons are allowed. The former of these is great in allowing players who aren’t too far in the campaign to still enjoy online play and perhaps earn some money to help them progress without having to face players with long-range lasers and a myriad of handy parts. The latter is interesting in that it could be seen to do the same thing in setting an even playing field. In disallowing special weapons, the focus is shifted to manoeuvrability and mastery of the game’s control scheme. If like me you jump from room to room, you’ll find a surprising variety in the online experience, and you’ll likely walk away a better player for it.

An Ace Experience?

I have no doubt in my mind that Ace Combat 7 is the best game in the series I’ve played, but when I’m only comparing it to its PSP and 3DS counterparts, that might not stand for much. From its easy to grasp control scheme, to its huge variety of missions, planes, and weapons—if you’re a series fan, I can’t think of a reason to avoid picking it up. For those without prior series knowledge, don’t be intimidated by it being the seventh entry; my time playing is proof it can be enjoyed all the same. If in the past you’ve enjoyed Pilotwings, or even Google Earth’s flight simulation, I urge you to give it a shot. You really don’t know what you’ve been missing.