1-Player Shooter (8-Player Online)
By Double Helix
Release: September 28, 2010
The Front Mission franchise has a confined cult following, but has fought to find mainstream charm. Trying to reach out to a larger crowd, Front Mission Evolved dumps the former entries' RTS-style game play to make way for third-person action. While a couple of signature series basics stay on, like an intricate political storyline and dozens of customization options, the fast-paced mech combat attains blowing the crap out of stuff far more accessible and fun.
You take charge of a walking tank (or Wanzer) that you cancustomize to match your play style according to power, speed, or durability. Part of the fun is fine-tuning these machines between game missions, guaranteeing you are not packing a bit much heat (overweight machines are just about as good as scrap metal). Strapping on a sniper rifle for ranged combat and a missile launcher seems to be decent; thrashing foes using exploding missiles while picking off limbs is efficient and pleasing. If you inclination is toward melee, you can outfit blunt weapons and oversized shields for additional force and defense, convenient when having to quickly power along tons of enemies to arrive at the next checkpoint. Ranged assaults can be the most effective, but it's easy to adapt to other types as required to survive particular scenarios. If you prefer to just jump into the action, you can choose from several pre-built machines, but manually fiddling with the breadth of customization options guarantees the highest chance of success.
The mission targets are standard, but performance-based difficulty scaling and tight controls keep things pleasurable. You may need to speed boost around a whole level to endure a crumbling environment, topple an enormous boss, man missiles aboard an aircraft, or just blast the hell out of everything under your path. A few scenarios compel you to ditch the Wanzer and take out human adversaries on foot. These parts' slow tempo and combat mechanics are not as loaded as the mech battles. When reunited with your Wanzer, however, you will look forward to making your opponents into stacking piles of burning metal.
Front Mission Evolved extends four multiplayer modes that are average at best: team death match, death match, domination (take control of turrets), and supremacy (claim capture poirts). While destroying and chasing live opponents may be fun on launch day, the modes are not obliging enough to contend with other multiplayer offerings out there.
Front Mission Evolved is not for everyone, and fans of the series could be frustrated by the divergence from tactical game play, but the action-focused method works good enough to gain the series some new fans.