Front Mission Evolved Xbox 360 Review

October 25, 2010 by  
Filed under Features, Reviews, Xbox 360

Publisher – Square Enix – Developer – Double Helix Games – Genre –  Action – Players – 1-8 – Age Rating – 16+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3

What is Front Mission? Well, basically it’s a turn-based strategy RPG with giant robots called Wanzers, although forget what you may have learned over the years with previous games in the series, waiting for your turn here is just going to result in your fiery death. Front Mission Evolved takes the Wanzers and the universe but then goes off into uncharted territory for the Front Mission series here in the west, as opposed to a strategy game this is a typical action game.

The story can hardly be called one that will forever live in the memory, although it’s there and is decent for what it is. In the Front Mission timeline, Evolved is placed 50 years after the events of Front Mission 5: Scars of the War (released in Japan on the PS2) and stars Dylan Ramsey, an engineer whom is soon piloting a Wanzer fulltime. There’s a lot more to the plot, but to say anything more would spoil it, so I won’t.

Some missions require the installing of a certain part, which some may scoff at.

There’s none of that gentlemanly taking it in turns as if you are merely playing a game of chess with big, armed robots here, no it’s all completely in real-time just like a real war, well a pretend war considering that we’re talking about giant robots here. The game certainly has a very good reason to be wearing its Evolved title, given that it has switched from one genre to another, although this isn’t the first time that Front Mission has been a pure action game, but it is the first time we’ve seen such a game here in the west and was actually put together by western developer Double Helix Game.

As an engineer, testing your Wanzer at the beginning of the game lets you know all the controls for piloting your metal hulk. You’ll learn various ways in which to move around, walking slowly like giant mechs regularly do and skating to speed movement up, while jumping and hovering will also help you in many a situation that involves other Wanzers and enemies trying to blow you up. Obviously you are supposed to do the blowing up first and your robot can be fitted with various weapons – some very explosive and others more subtle – to do the deed.

The customisation options are really quite impressive, allowing you to alter everything from your Wanzer’s parts, weapons and cosmetics. But you can’t just build to your heart is content – not only do you get a finite amount of cash, but you must take into consideration the weight versus the power of your robot: going over the power is a no go, so it’s certainly a number that is well worth keeping an eye on. You can place weapons on the arms, mount them on its shoulders and swap body parts to make the high performance robot of your dreams, well if you dream about robots that is.

The actual action just happens to feel a little bland; it does nothing wholly wrong it just feels bland, and the uninteresting and characterless visuals do little to help matters. There’s still plenty of exploding robots and there’s even some sections that have you clambering out of your tin can and doing all the shooting as Ramsey himself, although these definitely aren’t a highlight of the game and feel a lot less satisfying than the generally enjoyable robot parts.

You can aim at different parts of an enemy, although it’s often a lot quicker to just aim at the torso to blow an enemy up, while hitting their legs does hinder their speed, taking out the arms does little obvious, in spite of supposedly affecting the accuracy. Obviously your own Wanzer can be damaged in various areas too, although it’s the torso that you really need to keep an eye on.

Bosses could have been a lot more interesting, although, like the rest of the game, they can hardly be called terrible.

The single player portion is over a little too soon, but there’s an online mode to jump into, well if you can find anyone that is. You can’t take your Wanzer from the single player into the multiplayer modes, although it’s still possible to do lots of customising to other robots. There are four generic modes (Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and two varieties of King of the Hill) but sadly I wasn’t able to find a game to test any of them out.

Front Mission Evolved is fun and will surely have attracted the collective attention of the Front Mission fanatics out there, but it’s also not the kind of game that Front Mission fans originally fell in love with. This game is definitely a bid to better appeal to western audiences, but sadly it just feels a little lacking in the all important gameplay area.

6/10

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