Wear your best skin tight bodysuit, jump into your ‘Wanzer‘ & get ready for Front Mission: Evolved. It is 3rd person shooter, unlike its predecessors which were Tactical RPGs, complete with mechs, heavy weaponry, high tech, customization, global & political turmoil. You play as engineer Dylan Ramsey, who in the process of testing an prototype Wanzer gets side tracked as unknown forces attack nearby New York & its space elevator. Coincidentally his father being near the site of attack. Needless to say, our hero does the hero thing & goes to the rescue. Meanwhile the enemy forces wreck havoc all & thus setting in motion worldwide consequences.
The plot is by no means that amazing, taking a backseat to the combat. It is not outright “please make it stop” terrible but nonetheless zoning out probably might be expected & thankfully cutscenes are not particularly long. Its major issue being how it is told, it feels abrupt. Some plot point get glossed over, leaving you feeling like you missed something or how the global aspect of the plot gets shoved off never to be seeing again, mostly to halfheartedly focus on Dylan & crew. There was at some point a thing involving the global powers which was represented by 2 characters & you having to fight them, which it was ok I guess, but sadly once said & done they leave beaten & battered only to later show up get join up out of them blue. Needless to say, it doesn’t win any storytelling awards.
‘Wanzers‘ , the decently customizable walking tanks are the focus of the game. Going about it as simple as choosing the part you want & adding it. The hard part though, will be balancing your weight vs. energy output, cash on hand, armor & movement ability among other things. Even down to colors, decals & how glossy or matte you want your individual part to be. You do not buy parts per se, the money aspect is used more as another limit to go along with weight/energy, meaning you can mix & match all you want as long as you want. Early on you will gain money per kills, so have no fear of never being able to equip pricier things. Now the bad stuff in regards to choice, there will be two or three missions were you are forced to used a specific set up. This is rather just annoying & confusing as they really served little purpose or not at all when it came to the 2nd forced mission.
Level design is average at best, linear to the letter & empty to boot for the most part, showing its console port roots. There is some vague sense of exploration as you hunt down ‘Sensors’, ‘Emblems’ & few other tiny as sin collectibles throughout the rather large areas. This aspect, odds are will put off collectors & only the hardcore of them will hunt all 20 ‘sensors’ in each & every single level of the game. Needless to say, I don’t know what they unlock if anything as I did not have the patience or the eye to hunt those tiny ass things. Occasionally, you will hop of your ‘wanzer’ & go on foot & you will probably die the first time this happens, probably a lot. Control scheme-wise, it works & has no odd scheme, just simple 3rd person shooter style. On the other hand, you have paper thin skin & will die in just a few shots, which will make the first section a pain because for inexplicable reason throwing a shotgun totting dude that lacks a pain response while 2 machine gunners pretty much back you into a corner was a good idea. You have an AI ally, both on ‘wanzer’ & on-foot missions. They handle themselves better on the ‘wanzers’ though it is hard to mess when they shoot rockets & other high explosives. Thankfully, you never have to worry about them dying as they are immortal.
Immortality is not for you sadly, difficulty ramps up rather quickly & for the wrong reasons. Getting stun locked by melee ‘wanzers’ is not fun & gods forbid that the boss battles would have some semblance of fairness as oftentimes you will be 2 v. 1 or 4 v. 1 in a way later chapter. Bosses have way too much health, deal too much damage & of course, are relentless meaning you will spend a lot of the battles running away trying to get some distance between you & them while trying to reach the regenerating health & ammo packs scattered in the arenas. Sense of awesome mech on mech battle is lost after dying a few times.
All in all, Front Mission Evolved, is a painfully average to mediocre game, that doesn’t quite scratch the giant mech on mech action itch. The customization is pretty decent except when they forced crap on you, the plot is meh at best, characters just the same & sound is pretty decent. Leaves much to be desired & I would certainly would recommend going out of your way to get this game.