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reviewed by Zero
Square Electronic Arts
Two [Four for Battles]
did not hear of the game Front Mission 3 until after it was released,
which was rare, as I kept up with my SquareSoft games. But that was what
happened, and after I heard of Front Mission 3, I ran out and chucked
up forty dollars right away. After all, a character driven RPG game with
big robots, what more could I ask for? Apparently in my eagerness to get
my hands on the game, I mistook what the game was and was even further
surprised. While not what I expected, Front Mission 3 is an addicting
game in itself.
Like other mecha stories, FM3 is about a boy and his robots. Of
course, the game deviates from the formula, but still stays within range.
To be honest, most will find the story boring, as it is basically used
to get into more fights, instead of using battles to further the story.
Strategy buffs will not mind, because the gameplay is top notch.
FM3 starts out with a young man testing out his Wanzer. As the story
flows along, he finds out some bad stuff is going around in his government
and goes to find out. The storyline diverges at this point, and if one
chooses Emma's storyline, then he would learn about the USN and their
role in the game. The story would be completely different if he chose
the other story.
The game is not unlike Final Fantasy Tactics. You never move your avatars
around, and conduct business through menus. Battles are more strategic,
and force you to move your Wanzers, the robots in FM3, into position in
attack. Do not think of it like a menu-driven RPG battle, more like a
Chinese Chess. There is one problem with the battles, when one of your
heroes die or lose an appendage, they magically pop up after the battle
is over. It seems a little unrealistic to me, although it makes the game
Over one hundred missions are included in the game, but for the majority
of them, Wanzers must run in and annihilate the enemy. There is not much
room for variety, as the objective is almost always to try to get the
enemy Wanzers to surrender or destroy them while sustaining little damage.
Luckily, the system is strangely addicting and satisfying when blowing
off an enemy's arm or leg.
game has a very nice learning curve, with a tutorial starting out at the
beginning, and enemies getting progressively harder in the game. Although
late into the game, it did not seem that the enemy was getting any smarter,
there were just more and more of them with better weapons. They usually
did not gang up on one Wanzer unless you stupidly sent one out into the
fray. Even when they had an ace weapon up their sleeves, the computer
would never fully exploit it as a human player would.
Battle skills played an integral part in the game. If a Wanzer had a
specific body part equipped, then it has a chance of learning an attack
like 'Pilot Damage' or 'Shield Attack.' There are computers that can raise
the chance of activating a battle skill, and ones that raise the chance
of stringing battle skills together, to create even more damage. To further
help develop battle skills, there is a simulation mode where you fight
fake Wanzers to improve your skills. Finding stages for the simulators
are one of the secrets of the game.
Loading times drove me crazy in this game. It was not that any of them
were long, rather, most were pretty short. But there were so many
points at which the game must load, it frustrated me to tears. It had
to load to move to another room, it had to load to get on the Internet,
then it had to load to open up a site, and it had to load for me to read
the site. A good chunk of time was spent listening to the PSX start spinning
and cooling down.
After progressing through the game, it is possible to customize Wanzers
and tailor them to your liking. Square thoughtfully put in a weight limit
so you could create an uber-Wanzer. Twiddling with a Wanzer to create
the perfect one sank a few hours of my time, and is a neat little feature
in itself. There are around six different kinds of weapons including shotguns,
melee, and rifles.
graphics are certainly entertaining to watch, from the exaggerated expressions
on the portraits to the Wanzers missing one arm. Square deserves applause
towards the beautiful pre-rendered rooms and how you can change an appearance
of Wanzers by mixing up their body parts. Unfortunately, the PSX is finally
starting to show its age. Humans are rather horribly depicted in this
game, looking little more then stick figures. There are jagged lines everywhere,
with the PSX's inability to use utilize anti-aliasing. But even though
the textures are blotched and stretched, I enjoyed FM3's eye candy.
Sound effects are right on, from the whirring that the Wanzers make while
walking to the gun shots from above. Anything you do will create an accurate
sound, from burning trees to blasting off an arm. The music was a little
dull and uninspiring. It would sometimes change to a much more ambient
sound when a fight was near, but I did not notice it for the most of the
There was not much to do in the game overall. I found most of my time
fighting battles, which is not that bad, I just wish there were more to
do. Replay of the game was greatly increased by having two totally separate
storylines and missions, creating an untold amount of battles for you
to fight and explore. Many will begin with Emma's story, simply because
they did not know any better. If you wanted to choose Alisa's story, then
do not go with Ryoga to the military base early in the game. That will
set off a trigger, taking you to another story.
In the end, if you want a game with a lot of battles that could entertain
you for hours on end, FM3 is for you. If you want a great mecha
game where you could see robots ripping each other apart, FM3 is for you.
If you want a game that will give you a constant adrenaline rush while
supplying a story that makes you think, ala Metal Gear Solid, FM3
is not for you. Any others can rent the game and find out for themselves
whether they like it or not.
<< Rating: 85 >>
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[Pictures from various sources.]
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