For a game that focuses on combat in mechs (four-story-tall multipurpose robots), Front Mission Evolved doesn’t have the sense of scale that you would expect. When I’m stomping around in a robot that’s almost 40 feet tall, I want to feel like I’m stomping around in a robot that’s almost 40 feet tall.
Taking a change of directions from its roots as a turn-based strategy game, the Front Mission franchise moves into new territory with the third-person, over-the-shoulder shooter action of Evolved.
The ability to swap out various parts for the mechs is nice, and I quite like the choice of both ranged and melee options. There’s definitely some fun to be had getting up-close-and-personal and using your edged weapons to finish off an enemy.
Unfortunately, the game’s story is muddled and directionless at times, and the gameplay isn’t what I’d hoped for with the franchise’s first foray into the current-gen hardware. The aiming is a bit sloppy, the visuals are uneven with bland level design, and the sound effects don’t quite convey the sense of scale (again). There’s lots to detract from the game’s few good points: a different gameplay style than previous installations, the weapon variety, the booster packs, the occasionally brilliant scripted sequences and more.
The multiplayer doesn’t offer anything beyond the standard stuff: leaderboards, a few gamemodes, minimal customization of your mech. Most of the time I didn’t bother with the series’ hallmark of being able to destroy an enemy mech’s limbs, thereby crippling him. I usually just unloaded into the center of the target because that was the most effective means. No elegance.
I do hope that the developers take those good items and carry them over into another installment in the franchise, but with a bit more thought and polish than this release saw.