Front Mission Evolved represents a detachment from the previous entries into the “Front mission” series. Ditching the traditional tactical gameplay, for a third-person shooter feel is a risky gamble, especially with all of the fans that were so attached to the old ways. So will this revamp on the series make it more appealing to a Western audience, or will it alienate those that so loved the old ways?
Story: In the year 2171, the world is at war, with various factions fighting constantly. Each of the main factions have bases in space, that are accessed by something called an “orbital elevator”. You are Dylan Ramsey, a wanzer pilot (walking tank – or just mech), who has to go and defeat the threats to the world. It’s all very basic, and it seems to me that the single player was just an extended tutorial, to get you ready for the multiplayer. The story just isn’t engrossing enough to make you want to continue playing it – so once you understand how the weapons work, you can more or less just skip it.
Gameplay: Front Mission Evolved plays a lot like any game in the Armored Core series, which seems to be what they were going for. You have a ton of parts to switch out to make your wanzer fit your stile of play. Do you want a melee mech? Then equip a giant shield, and oversized clubs (or other blunt weapons). Rather prefer hitting your enemies before they can get you? then affix a big-ass sniper rifle and some long range missiles to your wanzer.
There are parts in the campaign that are truly tedious, as they see you running around on foot: outside of your super tank. They seem to just be there to throw some variety into the gameplay, but I was well over them after just the first one – the game doesn’t benefit from their inclusion in the least. Everything else is pretty much what you would expect from a third-person mech combat game though – boosting around a board to take out enemies. Earning money to buy the next upgrade.
Nothing too special.
Graphics: The levels are all very drab and not appealing to look at – in contrast however, the wanzers definitely look much better than I had expected. In reality though, they’re the only thing that looks good enough to note. The cut-scenes are pretty run of the mill, and the character models are nothing to write home about. For the most part, all the textures just feel dated.
Sound: The voice acting is pretty bad in Front Mission Evolved – it might not be scraping the bottom of the barrel, but it’s pretty close to it. The sounds coming from your wanzer sound much as you would expect them to (if you had played any other giant mech game), and there’s really nothing special about them. There’s really nothing that makes any of the game’s sound stand out in truth, which is a shame because so much more could have been done.
Wishes: I really wish they wouldn’t have decided to change the forumla that made the first five Front Mission games such cult hits. When you remove the thinking and strategy from the game, it just becomes another lackluster third-person shooter. I also highly wish that there was more thought put into the campaign, and that those god awful on foot missions were removed.
Final Thoughts: While I didn’t touch on the multiplayer aspect in this review, it’s all standard fare (DM, TDM, CTF, etc) – there’s no game modes that you could associate with this game, and this game alone. Besides that, matches take an inordinate amount of time to finish, so they become more of a chore than a good time.
I give Front Mission Evolved 2.5 Michelas out of 5 – it would have been a 2, but the sheer amount of customization options bumps it up slightly.