Developer: Double Helix
by: Katrina "Shadokat Regn" Pawlowski
Front Mission Evolved is a long-running Mech style franchise that has received a recent overhaul to the style of the gameplay associated with the Front Mission name. Front Mission before this time has been a primarily turn-based strategy franchise featuring mech soldiers. For Front Mission Evolved, however, you’re directly in the driver’s seat as a rookie pilot/engineer building mechs called Wanzers.
Your character is the son of a prominent military figure in a long-standing war between three factions, each using their own style of Wanzer. Your Wanzer mech is unique in that you can do anything with it - it’s not associated with a faction, so you can paint it orange and put any combination of body, legs, arms, or weaponry on it that you like.
As the first of the style for the series, the gameplay has a few issues. Unlike the fast-paced action of Armored Core style games, you’re a little bit slower in your movement, you can’t jump or boost to fly, but you can really bash the crap out of the bad-guys (and you’re not “charged” for ammo use after each mission, so you can shoot the crap out of anything you like). The story doesn’t require any prior knowledge of the series to understand, it’s all pretty straight forward. Factions are getting too big for their own good and picking fights in other territories, casualties are had, and it’s up to the hero character to set things straight.
There are also on-foot sections when you have to go where your Wanzer can’t get to. You’ll run through buildings primarily, using boxes, guard rails, and other debris as cover. You don’t “stick” to cover as it were, but as long as you’re ducking you stay mostly protected from enemies. The third-person shooter parts of the game were fairly well done for this, considering it’s primarily a mech fighting game.
I’d say they have at least one more title in this style before it becomes polished enough to call a great game in the third-person shooter and Mech combat style, but Front Mission Evolved does a fair job presenting a new gameplay style to the series.