It seems with the new Front Mission title, Square-Enix wanted a change. Instead of a Strategic RPG where giant mechs must move around on a grid system, the game has been transformed into third-person mech shooter. For the demo, I was placed into a free-for-all deathmatch with other players.
Like other mech games, your robot, called a Wanzer, is outfitted with an assortment of weapons such as assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Unlike some other mech simulations like MechWarrior or Gundam: Crossfire, the movements of these robots are a bit more fast-paced. You can walk around, but I have always been more of a fan of robots shooting bullets while dashing at high speeds and avoiding missile fire from opponents.
Players will also have a lot of freedom with customizing their Wanzers. You will be able to purchase different weapons as well as shoulder mounts for additional firepower. Also, if you like to be more fashionable, you will also be able to change the color scheme of your Wanzer. The other player's Wanzers were brightly colored and stuck out in the environment.
Square-Enix has promised that the game will include an immersive storyline that will for first-time ever give you direct control of your own Wanzer. For most of the mech simulation games I have played, story has been very light. I was basically just some random mercenary that would be given missions to destroy bases and destroy rival mechs. While the action was good, I had no voice of my own and had really no connection with the character. In fact, I never saw the character. I was just a faceless entity piloting a machine of death and destruction. Here, the character will be an integral part of the story and will be caught in a struggle filled with conspiracy and destruction. It's very refreshing that this game will have a human element that I can hopefully get behind and attempt to tell a story.
As of this moment, Front Mission Evolved needs work done for it to contend with other established third-person mech combat games. Movement speed could be a bit faster and environments need to be destructible to truly experience the destructive power of your Wanzer. At this point, the series is moving into unfamiliar territory switching from its strategy RPG roots. It is a bold risk but they could break the trend they have going and can be known for making a game that traverses into a different genre and does not isolate its already established fans. It can hopefully keep the ones they have and bring in new ones, like me, who are unfamiliar with the series but love these type of mech games. It'll be interesting to see come September if this title can be on par with other games such as Armored Core 4.