Flight games are a dime a dozen, but there is a distinct lack of flight games being made for either the PSP or the next generation consoles. Ace Combat for sometime has been the premier arcade flying game, going for action rather than realism, and Sony and Namco have put together a very pick up and play series that doesn't require you to have a degree in aeronautics to play. The game has finally hit Sony's flagship handheld console and while it doesn't do anything wrong, it probably doesn't do enough right to make it a must have game, but Namco and Sony should be happy with this effort.
The game is set in the future where the world has been broken up into sectors controlled by military might and governments. As you would expect, some leaders are very militaristic minded, with others being of a more peaceful nature. The main character you play happens to live in the peaceful area which is suddenly placed under attack and taken over by a neighboring land. Not laying down easily, the force deploys one of their most top secret, powerful and last remaining units on the battlefield. You are part of this unit.
As you would expect the game plays fairly well on the PSP and mimics its PS2 counterpart extremely well. Namco and Sony have made a few changes to make the game a bit more handheld friendly however such as shorter missions and also taking into account that the controls are different to the dual shock setup found on the PS2. There are also a few views to select from, which helps, but we found the default, nose cone view to be the best.
The gameplay itself is very repetitive from mission to mission but that is to be expected with a flight simulator. Basically it boils down to "shoot the enemy down", or "bomb an enemy camp and then go home and have a party". The game is also quite easy with the only difficulty coming from the accuracy of enemy ships. It points out the next enemy to shoot and tells you when a missile is coming. Now this is fairly common for flying games but it does, as stated, make the game quite easy. Basically if you didn't like Ace Combat before you're not going to like it now on the PSP.
One thing which does look good is the environments and planes featured in the game. There are over ten futuristic, fictional planes to choose from as well as a few of the more advanced planes which need to be unlocked. There is also a replay mode which is pretty much the same as the PS2's but considering PSP is all about quick, short games the replay feature may seem redundant to some people.
Visually the game is impressive and close to the PS2 version of the game but it still isn't the best looking PSP game around, mainly because the graphics found in the PS2 version are sub par as well. One thing which does stand out is the cartoon cut scenes which give a very Japanese style to the game and do keep you interested for a little while.
Ace Combat: Skies of Deception is an ok PSP game, it's just a shame it also happens to be one of the few flight games found on the PSP, so while it is only moderately impressive, you're probably not going to do much better if you want airborne action on the go Sony style.