Time Enforcer Anubis here with a fresh review!
Square-Enix’s Front Mission series of tactical RPGs is generally well-regarded by fans of mecha and TRPGs. However, Front Mission Evolved, the latest installment in the franchise, gives us a different take on the Front Mission world.
Front Mission Evolved is a third-person customizable mech shooter by Square Enix. It tells the story of Dylan Ramsey, a civilian test pilot for a company that manufactures Wanzers, Front Mission’s diminutive mecha. Following an attack on New York, he takes his company’s newest prototype to rescue his father, who was caught in the crossfire. After failing to find his dad, he joins the military to get his revenge on the people who attacked New York, and slowly begins to unravel the deceit surrounding the war.
The game has a moderate place, a nice change of pace, considering most mech games play at either a breakneck-fast pace or a slow, steady pace. Controls are intuitive, with weapons on the shoulder buttons and jumping and other actions on the face buttons. Wanzers have up to four weapons, one on each hand and one on each shoulder, as well as a “Pack,” which grants special abilities like increased mobility or the ability to fire EMP bursts. The game also incorporates short on-foot segments into the single-player campaign.
Wanzers can be customized down to their very structure. Players choose torsos, legs, and both the right and left arms, as well as weaponry to go on those arms and a pack to go on the machine’s back. Each weapon also has a number of ability slots that will randomly activate temporary weapon buffs such as increased damage or damage over time.
The game’s multiplayer utilizes the same customization, but has a progression different from that of the campaign, with an XP-based reward system similar to that of Call of Duty. Multiplayer gametypes include the standard Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, as well as a king-of-the-moving-hill gametype, and a gametype involving capturing turrets while destroying the enemy team’s turrets.
The elements are all in place to make for a great mech game; however, everything seems done halfway. The campaign is mostly a series of interchangeable missions that consist of gunning down interchangeable enemy Wanzers, with a boss fight thrown in somewhere. For a game that’s all about customization, the enemy mecha don’t have a lick of it. Not only that, but the player’s Wanzer will, in cutscenes, have certain weapons equipped that the player may or may not actually have equipped. Speaking of cutscenes, the game’s story is pretty cheesy and clichéd. The on-foot sections could have made for a very interesting look at the scale of mecha combat, but most the enemies in the on-foot segments are other soldiers, and rarely does the player engage a Wanzer while on foot. Even the customization is lacking, as most weapons, and even some structural parts, are simply upgraded versions of basic weapons acquired early on, with no difference in appearance.
All-in-all, what I’m disappointed about with this game is that it could have been a great third-person mech game, but it lacks the polish of an Armored Core, or a ChromeHounds, or even a MechAssault. The story is forgettable, the campaign lacks variety, the on-foot sections feel like a chore, and even the customization is lacking. It feels like half a game. If you’re desperate for a third-person mech game and you’ve already exhausted Armored Core, ChromeHounds, MechAssault, and MechWarrior, sure, give this game a shot. If you’re looking for a third-person mech game and don’t own one of those games I listed, get any one of those instead.
‘Till next time!
TE Anubis on Xbox Live
TE_Anubis on PSN
Timeenforceranubis on Xfire and Steam
This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.