Evolved or Devolved?
The year is 2171 A.D. Humanity has reached for the stars once more. Keen to seize a controlling stake in this as yet unconquered region, the global superpowers have raced to build orbital elevators, swiftly turning the emptiness of space into a tangle of surveillance satellite networks and military way stations. Back on the surface, while nations no longer engage in all-out war, border skirmishes have become the more frequent. On these ever-shifting front lines, armoured humanoid battle vehicles – code named “wanzers” (from “wanderpanzer”) – have proven to be the unrivalled kings. History has taught us that wherever humanity goes, war is sure to follow…and in this technological age, there is nowhere man cannot go.
Front Mission Evolved is a third-person shooter in the body of a mech suit known as a wanzer, a very odd name that I definitely would not call a mech. The game opens up with a very impressive cutscene explaining the story, which is action-packed to the point where it feels like something from Transformers, but then you play the game itself…
The wanzer handles like your standard mech. It has missiles, a machine gun and can jump, hover and glide across the levels. You’ll come across tons of enemies through the campaign, but they are mostly mindless idiots who like standing still to get shot. You’ll come across other wanzers that will be more of a challenge, but not much. I found it easier just to zip about using the glide button to bypass a large number of enemies as you make your way to the next waypoint. It’s very basic in its design and can’t see any signs of evolution to the genre. The campaign is simple and sadly, forgettable. The story is full of clichés and cheesy dialogue that doesn’t work well. It’s also fairly short.
Besides the campaign is a basic multiplayer made of your standard team and solo deathmatches plus territory style modes. It does have its moments but to be honest, there are far better multiplayer games out there. Visually the game is mixed. The FMV cutscenes are truly amazing, but the in-game engine is average looking to say the least. Effects look sub-par for this generation, it all looks a little dated.
Front Mission Evolved has its moments, but I can’t help feeling I’ve played games like this before and they were more memorable. It handles well, but the campaign is disappointing and the multiplayer is very basic. If you are looking for your next bit of mech action then give it a try, just don’t go expecting it to be a true evolution of the genre.