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News: Front Mission Evolved to feature hover legs

Posted on : 04-04-2010 | By : | In : News

Hardware: ,


The upcoming Double Helix developed Front Mission Evolved, has received some new screenshots over at the official Japanese site. These show some interesting functional developments for the series, notably that of the wanzers sporting hover legs. It may appear that with each passing burst of PR from Square Enix that Front Mission is changing more into something like Armored Core. However, for those unaware of Front Mission’s roots; customisation (both visual and functional) played an integral part of the original games. The addition of hover legs is admittedly a nod to the realtime – not turnbased – functionality that debuted in Armored Core 2 but that’s not to say it has been wholly copied either (after all Armored Core owes much of its functional inspiration to the Assault Suits games). The point we are somewhat clumsily making is this though; hover legs were notoriously awkward to use in the older PlayStation 2 era Armored Core games and it will be interesting to see whether the team at Double Helix have learnt from this. As the more recent Armored Core games solved the issue by merging the functionality of ground based legs and hovers, to allow all AC’s to traverse water (something that was normally the exclusive remit of the hover leg types in the PlayStation 2 games). This merging of leg functionality is clearly not present in Front Mission Evolved though – as the screenshots show – so how they’ve solved their handling issues will be interesting to see. In any case, more screenshots from this recent update are linked below.



Comments (4)

Hover legs preceded Armored Core’s; they were in Front Mission 1 back in 1995. Heck, I’ve noticed a lot of stuff that Front Mission had first and then Armored Core copied it years later. The pilebunker blades from Armored Core 3 = Front Mission 2, part damage in Armored Core Last Raven = any Front Mission, etc.

Except that FM’s gaming functionality was turnbased, not realtime. The hover leg handling wouldn’t have been an issue as the game system was turnbased. FME is the first to deal with hover legs in a contemporary realtime third person capacity (after all Gun Hazard was only a 2D side scroller) – hence the Armored Core 2 comparison as that offered the functionality first.

As for the pilebunkers, they were taken from VOTOMS really, not FM. Though in many ways both FM and AC owe a lot to VOTOMS in terms of functional inspiration anyway.

Front Mission Evolved will be the second game to use hover legs in third-person shooter functionality actually. Front Mission Online was the first to employ hover legs and it more or less functioned in the same manner as the older Armored Core’s hover legs. The only difference between the two is that Front Mission is purely ground-based combat (primarily due to the series’ near-future roots) and aerial combat is commonplace in Armored Core. That made the hover legs in Online significantly useful than the ones in Armored Core.

That aside, it does seem more likely that Evolved will play similar to Armored Core than Online. Hopefully Double Helix will stay faithful to the squad-based combat Front Mission’s mecha are well-known for; being part of 30-50 unit PvP wars was one of the biggest highlights of my Front Mission Online experience.

Good point, forgot about FMO – not played it in a long time (not since 2005 in fact). Thanks for the reminder!

However, Armored Core 2’s hover leg functionality still predates FMO’s by about 5 years though, so the point I was making still stands really. As the AC series has had a much longer lead time in regards to dealing with the issues of hover legs in a third person action orientated environment compared to FM.

In that much of the ground level mistakes that AC’s had with hover legs weren’t resolved until AC4/ACFA. Specifically, the problem was down to the mass and resultant momentum of the AC’s themselves – which caused them to slide around the levels. Considering that other leg types didn’t suffer from this problem meant that hover legs were at a distinct disadvantage.

Aerial combat isn’t really relevant in this instance, as the hover legs operated fundamentally in the same way as the other types at that point (plus FM is much more ground orientated than AC).

As for FME playing like AC, it unfortunately does look that way.

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