Front Mission Evolved

Hands-On With Front Mission Evolved
by Meagan Marie on Sep 30, 2009 at 04:16 PM
Platform PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Publisher Square Enix
Developer Double Helix
Rating Teen

TGS posed the first opportunity for hands-on time with the newest Front Mission title, showcasing both mech and pilot combat in the brief demo.

If unfamiliar with the new iteration, Front Mission Evolved unfolds in the year 2171, with the lines dividing nations having been redrawn after years of war. Now aiming high—as in outer space—the global superpowers are racing to build elevators skyward. Their hope is to turn space into a dumping ground for satellite networks and military stations. War back on Earth has slowly settled into small skirmishes, with Wanzers (massive humanoid war machines) remaining the vehicles of choice. The question is, will war follow humanity into space? Front Mission Evolved lets you control Wanzers and pilots alike from a third-person perspective—shooting elements obviously aplenty. Overall, Evolved is more of a high-action shooter, whereas the previous iterations were on par with turn-based tactical titles. But don’t fret, RPG elements such as Wanzer customization are sticking around.

Entirely in Japanese, our single-player demo started with us picking between several mech classes based on weight and power. Three classes were available to start, including a medium assault, heavy assault and a sniper Wanzer. We chose the medium assault, opting for speed over strength for our first go. Right off the bat, our Wanzer had three attacks, including standard fire, missile launchers and an area-based EMP that stuns other mechs for a short span of time.

Even the medium assault Wanzer moved as it would in real life—a bit slowly at times. Still, jumping and the rechargeable boost ability made traversing the level easy enough. The level, called Tower of Babel, had us and several friendly mechs taking on other machines of various shapes, sizes and strengths. Smaller machines posed little threat and were taken out with modest damage dished in return. Larger, bulkier machines required more tactical thought, using the boost button to dash out of a missiles path or over to cover.

Damage to your Wanzer is contextual to where the blow landed, with the torso and limbs each its own entity.  The torso is able to regenerate health, unlike the limbs. Wanzers can reclaim their health via pickups. Other pickups yield partial and full ammo refills. The various pickups were frequent enough to keep us in the game even after taking heavy fire.

After playing with the heavy Wanzers, the third-person pilot level seemed a bit twitchy—but only in comparison. Easy to pick up and play, pilot combat was comprised of standard fire, melee and grenade attacks. The level ended with our pilot fighting his way out of a heavily guarded complex, only to be confronted with a massive enemy Wanzer dropped from a helicopter above. At least human health regenerates.

Both play styles were intuitive and fun, making the idea of online multiplayer that much more enticing. The only thing better than battling it out with friends online is battling it out with friends online in giant war machines.

The North American launch widow for Front Mission Evolved is still being determined. The title is in development for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC

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Front Mission Evolvedcover

Front Mission Evolved

PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
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