Two PSPs were linked together in ad hoc mode. Judging from the spots left vacant on the player status screen, the game will be able to support up to 4 players. I sat down in the chair on the right and another person occupied the chair to the left of me. The only option that was available was "dogfight," so I created a game room using the default settings. Once we both joined, we were presented with menus allowing us to pick the combat theater and our airplanes. Only one coastal area and four planes were available for this demo, but there were open spots for 10 areas and at least 24 aircraft.
My opponent picked a MiG, I chose an F-14. Highway to the Danger Zone and all that, you know...
My plane spawned in the upper left of the map, his the lower right. Visually, this looks just like the Ace Combat we're used to on PS2, with the somewhat photo-realistic terrain below and puffy clouds up at flight level. As I got closer to my opponent, the HUD flashed and the targeting reticule turned red, informing me that I was close enough to lock-on with my missiles. With a press of the circle button one missile was away. Unfortunately, he had the same idea, as my radar immediately began to flash a "missile warning" message. Neither of our missiles hit its target. I managed to evade his at the last minute by pitching down just before impact.
Thus, the dance began. We were now too close for missiles, and neither of us wanted to let the other get close enough for a machine gun volley. He dipped and turned to outfox me, I dipped and turned to outfox him. We were literally going in circles trying to get the upper hand, which is pretty much how dogfights tend to go.
The controls seemed very intuitive. Pitch and yaw were mapped to the analog stick, targeting to the triangle button, and guns and missiles to the X and circle buttons (respectively).
Unfortunately, my opponent must not have been much of a gamer, because he crashed his plane into the ocean and got up to leave. Ah well, I played enough to at least get the idea of what they're trying to accomplish with the game's multiplayer mode.
4-players, ad hoc, not online.
5/16/2006 Frank Provo