At first glance Front Mission Evolved may seem to just be another cookie cutter mech game, while this isn’t entirely untrue, it stands apart from other mech games like Mech Warrior. The main story is that of the protagonist Dylan Ramsey trying to rescue his father and ends up joining the army and being drug into the struggle between the U.S.N., D.H.Z. and O.C.U. created by an unknown enemy. The story isn’t as great as I’d like it to be with its boring and predictable moments. The only good voice acting in my opinion is by Dylan and the main antagonist. There really isn’t any more to say about the story it is in fact very dry and shallow. The story is not what is going to bring you to this fight though.
The gameplay is awesome. I would say it is very smooth and fluid as you could make a mech game though there are a few issues with weapons and movement. I haven’t played a straight up mech game since Mech Warrior: Lone Wolf on original Xbox so yes I don’t exactly know where the genre has gone since but I have played Lost Planet 1 and 2 which incorporate mechs heavily. The mech controls and fluidity of Front Mission beat out Lost Planets flat out but there is one thing both share and do well, fast pace. The thing I love and respect the most out of Front Mission Evolved is how fast the gameplay moves and how solid it is. You won’t spend four hours popping out of cover and hiding from enemies like in other games you will be right up there at the front lines raining death upon enemy wanzers. That is to say if you want to be on the front lines. There is a ranged option to the game being missiles and sniper rifles. The game features an awesome customizable mech or wanzer as they call them. You can change all the parts like arms, torso and legs as well as weapons, backpacks and the color of each part. You may have a maximum of 4 weapons at a time.
You may wield a weapon in each hand and 2 shoulder mounted weapons. The weapons range from machine guns, light machine guns, assault rifles, melee, bazooka shields, shotguns and rifles. Rifles require both hands to use them. Shoulder mounted weapons are the heaviest and include rocket launchers, missile launchers and miniguns. In addition to weapons you may choose a battle skills. These are activated in combat after a certain percentage of hits with that weapon is reached. They include things like increased missile accuracy and corrosive shots. Depending on what weapon you have you can have 3 slots which lets you select the 3rd tier of a battle skill which is the most powerful. You will also choose a backpack. The default is an agility backpack that lets you boost and hover. You unlock later ones like the repair backpack and missile defense backpack.
There are also a couple missions where you will be on foot in buildings. This is also very smooth with a nice pop out aim when your crouched that will put you back into crouch when not aiming. There are only 3 weapons which is a Vector submachine gun, shotgun and rocket launcher. These instances are few but offer a nice break from being cooped up in that hunk of tin. The only complaint I really have is that there is no shoulder switch button which can be a pain when your trying to shoot an enemy around a corner to the right. Also another complaint is how easily you can die and the lack of healthpacks around, this is also a complaint about the main game.
The game isn’t the best looking game out there but that isn’t saying it looks bad. The only thing I found really dated was the cutscenes. It looks like they used motion capture for most movement which has a nice outcome giving the character and the wanzers a sense of realism. My favorite effect in the game is the missile trails and how they shoot toward enemies it just seems so realistic. There are alot of cheesy explosions in some of the cutscenes which are totally overdone but that is a Japanese game for you.
In closing I’d like to complement the game for its awesome gameplay and pacing which is what really hooked me . I’ve never been a huge mech game fan, except for Lost Planet, but if they keep making ones like this I will keep playing them!
Title : Front Mission Evolved
Format : Xbox 360 (Also on PS3 & PC)
Developer : Double Helix Games
Publisher : Square Enix, Inc.
Release Date : 09/28/10