Review: Front Mission Evolved
Front Mission Evolved fails to bring this series back to any kind off respectable form, and this will probably be the end of its run.
- Worth The Time?No, not really.
- Things LovedThe heaps of customisation options for mechs.
- Things HatedThe limited gameplay, the repetitiveness, the irregular difficulty curve on occasion, the lacklustre and dull feeling to the entire game, the bland visuals.
- RecommendationIf you're a die-hard fan of giant robots killing each other, this might be a day's worth of distraction for you. But it's not worth buying, because while it isn't really a bad game there are just far too many games out there that are just better. It would be in your best interests to give this one a miss.
- Name: Front Mission Evolved
- Genre: Third Person Shooter
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Online (2-8 players)
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox360
- Developer: Double Helix Games
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Price: R597-649 (PS3, 360), R368-399 (PC)
- Reviewed On: PS3
I’m no expert on the Front Mission franchise, but seeing as how Front Mission Evolved takes the series in a different direction and practically changes everything about the game, it wasn’t all that hard to play it and get to grips with what it’s about. Front Mission Evolved lets go of the tactical turn-based gameplay of previous entries and instead opts for third-person shooting. It’s a huge change, and perhaps one that might upset fans before they even give the game a chance. However, perhaps the initial fan rage might be a good thing, because it may end up stopping them from buying or playing a simply average game. To those who are intrigued by the third person action element, the same warning is addressed to you. Front Mission Evolved is nothing special, and playing it or skipping it won’t make much of an impact on your life.
Front Mission evolved is set in the year 2171, about half a century after Front Mission 5: Scars of the War, and once again offers a story filled with mechs, politics and conspiracy. The human race has begun deploying military bases in space through the use of orbital elevators, partly because space is cool and partly so that they’ll be able to spy on their enemies using satellites. However, things start going south when a USN North American orbital elevator is destroyed by an unknown enemy. Enter Dylan Ramsey, an engineer who is searching for his father as a war breaks out in the streets, only inevitably resulting in him getting caught up in the battle, joining up with a few ally characters along the way, and all too soon taken on a journey of conspiracy and new war involving the O.C.U. and the U.C.S alliances.
The story mode is played out over five acts, and these don’t make for an overly long campaign mode. Despite the game’s emphasis on story, it will most likely take a back seat to the mech-bashing action. You’ll control your mech, called a Wanzer, through a variety of open, but linear, levels with the sole purpose of destroying everything in your path or reaching an objective. The missions are pretty standard, and it’s enjoyable for a while to simply just reduce giant robots to scrap metal, but the fun doesn’t really last because of the limited and repetitive gameplay. Apart from the Wanzer battles, there are certain missions that are played out on foot, where you’ll have to take control of Dylan himself, but these are often a pain due to the clunky shooting and movement mechanics, slow pace at which they progress and the lack of a cover system. For the most part you’ll be wanting to stick to playing with your fully customised mech than as a lowly human.
The appeal of the game naturally lies with gearing up your Wanzer for action, which you will get to do before each mission. It’s here that the game does very well, as it features a number of intriguing and fun weapon and armour parts to choose from and play around with. These parts are all bought using money you’ve earned from killing things and completing objectives in the levels. This feature gives a more tactical feel to the game since you’re able to customise aspects such as armour parts, weapons for your hands and shoulders and special upgrades for each – such as acidic shots or extra damage with shrapnel – as well as the physical appearance of your Wanzer. You’re basically able to tailor your mech to suit play-styles revolving around power, speed and endurance and also decide on whether you’ll be a ranged, melee or balanced warrior. It’s not all straightforward though, as you’ll also have to take note of what parts you’re equipping your Wanzer with and how said parts influence shields and weight, because we all know that a slow and heavy blob of metal will be a sitting duck in combat, so you’ll need to find a right balance between firepower and mobility.
For the most part of how ever many hours or minutes you give to this game, the customisation options will keep you entertained, more so than anything else. The simple reason is that the missions are pretty dull while the gameplay is limited, and you’ll basically just be repeating the same thing from level to level. It plays out like a sub par third person shooter mostly, with nothing much exciting or new to experience. You’ll spend the majority of your game time just killing mech after mech until you reach the end of the level or face a boss and, since there is no cover system, devote some time to hiding behind huge buildings or objects in the environment to regenerate health. There is a special combat feature named E.D.G.E that is governed by a meter which builds up as you fight, and basically, once activated, it adds a stylistic black and white visual distortion effect to the screen, slows down time and increases your damage, but it just boils down to being a mech version of bullet time. The game overall simply screams average, and it’s clear that a great deal more could have been done with Front Mission Evolved before it saw the light of day, in all areas of the game.
The multiplayer component adds a little more value to the experience, but just like the single-player mode it fails to impress or entertain for all that long. There are four gameplay modes to play through, namely Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, Domination and Supremacy. The first two are self-explanatory, Domination is simply taking control of turrets while Supremacy has you capturing critical points on the map. At best these modes are all average, and taking the fight to human opponents is only going to keep you compelled for a short while in a game that does little to deviate from being generic and sub par in a time of excellence. No one is saying that all games have to breach the barriers of greatness, but at the very least they should have something to show for themselves to make them worth playing and unique. Front Mission Evolved doesn’t believe in that, and sadly the premise of giant robots just isn’t enough to warrant a good game.
The game’s graphics don’t impress all that much either, which should come as no surprise. The Wanzers themselves certainly look solid enough, but character models and the environments could do with upgraded texture work and more detail. As simply as it can be said, Front Mission Evolved lacks both polish as well as depth, and not just with its visuals. The voice acting is pretty good for the most part, but the sound effects of the Wanzers overshadow the voice actors, and they actually sound pretty great when factoring in all their weaponry and robotic noises. However, the game’s music takes a relaxing backseat, and you won’t really hear anything that you’ll remember. Ultimately, the game features under par visuals overall, with only few elements standing a little above the rest of the game’s bland and unimpressive nature.
Front Mission Evolved is a lacklustre and pretty much flat action game that doesn’t achieve anything other than being functional and sub par. The game will not impress, and neither will it disappoint anyone except perhaps long-time fans of the series. This is a lifeless action game that offers very little, but lacks too much, and is simply better left ignored.