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News: Front Mission Evolved Hands-on Impressions

Posted on : 19-09-2010 | By : | In : News

Hardware: ,


One of the first games we played at this year’s TGS was Front Mission Evolved. Despite being readily available in the shops in Japan, the game graced at least three separate booths across both formats (that in itself was pretty damn crazy to be honest). As such saying that the game we played was a “demo” and that there’s room for improvement doesn’t really hold true here, the code shown at TGS was utterly final in the released sense of the word. So what follows is pretty much an overture for our review most probably, in short we weren’t that impressed.

The section of the game we played was the invasion of New York in what appears to be a starting wanzer config. Controls are your standard third person shooter fare but boosting comes in two forms; a quick dash or a prolonged boost. The latter is a toggle and pretty much allows the wanzer to move in any direction without any really worry for momentum or mass. Added to this is a jump that does require management of momentum, just to be awkward really. Weapons were a missile pod, that was quite potent, and machine gun not to mention a melee attack weapon.

On paper all this should be fine but the execution is really quite unwieldy and annoying. Having the twitch based ground boosting and then having to change your approach to that for the jumping is just plain odd, as you’re trying to wrangle two physics systems – not one. The weapons, especially the machine gun, do still feel like you’re firing blanks half the time as most of the enemy wanzers seem to shrug the gunfire off or absorb it like an enthusiastic sponge.

To explain on the boosting, having Sam – a guy in power armor – in Vanquish slide all over the level at great speed and with pin-point precision is pretty crazy outside of gaming but it makes more sense than a very large piece of machinery doing the same thing, yet Double Helix are treating their mecha like people. Which would be fine if they’d stuck to that approach but they didn’t. As such, the handling of the mecha is inconsistent within the rule set it’s already established, as jumping tries to convey the weight of the wanzer, which from a gaming standpoint is the purest of crazy.

It’s not even got any kind of nuance to the ground boosting either, at least when Yuke’s approached the AT’s in VOTOMS they at least tried to give a sense of momentum as you “banked” into a corner. There’s absolutely none of that here.

Graphically it’s very mixed too, some parts of the game look great and the models of the wanzers are nicely done but their texturing is pretty woeful for the most part (this includes the environments too). The level design is artificially boxed in as well and it doesn’t feel like your fighting a gritty street battle at any point, which is obviously what they were aiming for.

Overall, this was unfortunately what we were expecting the game to be – a mecha game that’s embarrassed of the fact it is one. It’s the gaming equivalent of your Dad trying to dance at a party, you just want to look away and pretend it’s not happening. This is not a damning indictment of Western mecha games either, as High Moon already proved it could be done well in this day and age, but that Front Mission Evolved was just really quite disappointing.


Comments (8)

Sadly this confirms what I was expecting , sigh. I hope they will make a sequel to 0081 on the ps3 and add more realistic weapon damage, than i’m done 🙂

I think everyone expected this, I know I did, hopefully this will mean a real FM game gets made for ps3, FM6 say, of course Id have to wait 6 years for a translation, but it be worth the wait, unlike this rubbish here.

Game Informer already reviewed the game, and it pretty much had similar views to what was mentioned here.

That said…I would give the game a rental, just to try it out. Not ready to spend the full price for it, mind you, but for most games now I’d rather rent first to see what’s up.

Still, thanks much for keeping us informed about this game, since it seems to have been under the radar here in the States.

Maybe they’ll get it right next time. But hey, nobody’s perfect.

That’s pretty much how the on-machine portion of FM Evolved works…and it’s pretty similar to the on-foot segments. This would be tolerable (at least in single-player) if Double Helix kept the things that Front Mission is known for. But, with no permanent squad whose units can’t be customized, can’t be killed in combat, and no means of AI control, it doesn’t stand out of the crowd. It’s ironic how FM Gun Hazard back in 1996 had all of these, yet Evolved does not.

The multiplayer is better than single player, but even that has problems. Aside from the online bugs, for reasons unknown ranked matches (where you can earn new parts) are completely randomized. If you and 7 other friends want to play in a match, chances are none of you will be playing the same one. You can play with them in non-ranked matches, but you can’t earn new gear here. Multi-player does have its strong points and as a former FM Online player, it’s nice to play with the same people again. It would have been nice if the player cap was at Online’s levels instead of 4v4 though.

FM Evolved isn’t a horrible game by any means (it’s pretty good for Double Helix standards), but it feels lacking compared to the other 2 action-based FM spin-offs. Gun Hazard had a better single-player campaign, and Online had a better multi-player experience. It’s a 7/10 game at best, good enough for a rental but not a must-buy.

Well said–that’s pretty much what I’ve been hearing about the game itself. Good for a rental, but not a must-buy.

Dam and i preorderd the bloody thing.

i don’t have high hopes for the single player, but at least the multiplayer looks pretty decent.

[…] Damashii writes this decidedly thumbs-down piece on the inconsistencies of the in-game […]

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