Review by Psycho Penguin

"Think Final Fantasy Tactics with mechs..."

Introduction

I have never really been a huge fan of stretegy games. I feel that there is not enough action in them. However, I am not completely biased against the genre, so when a great strategy game comes along, I will be the first to admit it. There was one particular strategy game that was heralded, and that game is none other than ''the pinnacle of 32 bit gaming'' Final Fantasy Tactics.

I was not a big fan of Final Fantasy Tactics, but Front Mission 3 is a whole different story. First off, FM3 is a lot different than the average strategy game. While most strategy games have you in some 15th century villages with swords and magic, Front Mission 3 brings you to the current, if not futuristic times, with stuff like mechs complete with missiles, machine guns, and more. It is definitely more than your average strategy game.

So, what were my thoughts on Front Mission 3? I felt this was an incredible game, which is just what I expected. I had played the previous Front Mission games, and I felt those were fantastic, and I expected SquareSoft to deliver again. And boy, did they ever deliver! What an incredible game!

Storyline (9.6/10)

First off, let me mention that there are actually two storylines in the game, one dealing with Alissa, the main character's sister, and one dealing with Emma, who is basically a woman on the run trying to recover a bomb she made several years back. I only beat Emma's game so I can only say that he story is very cool, and deals with several different things. The character development is fantastic, as well. Overall, the storyline is great.

Graphics (9.3/10)

These graphics just plain old rule. Of course, these grraphcis are not perfect, and I guarantee this game would have looked a heck of a lot better had it been on the Dreamcast instead of the Playstation. But it wasn't on the Dreamcast, so I am just going to say that the graphics are great, but have a few flaws. Which is perfectly normal, expected, and acceptable.

Character designs in the game are plain old awesome. The character designs in the game actually fall under two categories: the mechs themselves, and the pilots who operate the mechs. The mechs in the game look awesome. They have an outstanding design to them and look very realistic. There is also a wide variety of mechs, and I like how their weapons changed depending on which weapon you had equipped. The actual people in the game look great too, there is a wide variety of people in the game, and I like how they show a mini portrait of the characters as they speak. Overall, the character designs in the game are great.

Enemy designs in the game are top notch. Again, the enemies fall into two categories: the mechs and the actual people who pilot the mechs. The look of these people and mechs are similar in design to the designs of the characters, and while there could be some confusion as to who's an enemy and who's an actual character on your side, it really isn't that bad. Overall, the enemy designs in the game are fantastic.

There are some minor problems with the graphics in the game. There is a lot of pixellation and graphical tears in some of the story scenes in the game. The pixellation becomes particularly noticable when viewing the mechs up close. When they start walking during the cut scenes, you can see some noticable flaws, ranging from tears to graphical breakup. Oh well, everyone knew the graphics were going to be like this anyways.

Overall, the graphics in the game are fantastic overall, even if there are some problems, which I have already mentioned. The mechs look awesome and there is a nice variety to all the characters. The graphics during battles, either up close or from a far away camera view, are great as well. These graphics are exactly what I expected them to be: great but with some flaws.

Music/Sound (9.1/10)

I expected SquareSoft to deliver great music and sound effects, especially because the music and sound effects in the previous Front Mission games were so darn good (and yes I have played all the other Front Mission games). Of all the Front Mission games, the music and sound effects in this game are by far my favorite.

Music in the game is by far some of the best I have ever heard in a video game, bar none. The battle themes in the game are amazing. I like how there is a variety in the battle themes, and I also like how they start the battle theme before you enter battle. For instance, let's say you just saved your game between missions and have started another mission. It will actually start some music, then play the battle music when you see your enemies. Then after a few dialouge scenes you fight in the battle, while the music still plays. I think that is a really cool idea. Overall, the music in the game is fantastic.

Sound effect wise, the sound effects in the game are great as well. Most of the sound effects occur during battle, as you may expect. When moving around the battlefield, there are a few sound effects occuring, mainly the sound of the screen telling you it's your turn (cool sound) and the sound of the mechs walking around. Once you engage in a one on one battle, there are a few basic sounds. One occurs when you do a battle skill, which sound really cool. Then there are, of course, the actual sounds of the various weapons firing. It sounds great. A missing element of the game is voice acting, which would have been a cool addition but it is not needed at all. Overall, the sound effects are still great, with or without voice acting featured.

Gameplay/Control (9.8/10)

Like I have already mentioned, I have never really been a huge fan of strategy games. I have always been bored by them, or overwhelmed by the complexity of them. I never really saw the fun factor in them. But Front Mission changed that, and I grew to like that game. Therefore, I anticipated Front Mission 3 greatly. I even went as far as to buying Front Mission 2 to tide me over.

So when the game finally came out, I made sure to buy it. Yes, I wasn't even going to bother renting it. So I was going to be really mad had the game not lived up to expectactions. Fortunately, it did. The biggest problem with the game is the fact that, like a lot of other strategy games, it is areally complex. You have to manange several mechs at a time, and this means controlling everything from what weapons they own to how many battle skills they command. It really can get quite frustrating after the while.

Fortunately, there is a helpful in game tutorial which reminds me a lot of you know who from Final Fantasy Tactics. Hell, its so authentic that even the guys in FM3 screw up during the tutorial (more HP means more damage inflicted? LOL) but the tutorial is still a welcome addition to those who are overwhelemed by the sheer complexity of the game.

The game is divided into missions. A mission is basically the official word for the battles in the game. There are a lot of missions in the game, and you can save, go to the network, setup your wanzers, etc. between the missions. A mission consists of this: 1) Do a story scene 2)Take control of your destiny for a few seconds 3) Do a story scene 4)Fight in a battle 5) Another story scene.

Battles are a lot like Final Fantasy Tactics in terms of how you move. You move on a grid, and how far you move depends on how much leg power you have left. Yes, the game keeps track of how many HPs you have on each part of your body. It keeps track of the following: Body, Left Arm, Right Arm, Legs, and Pilot. The body is how much HP the machine has left. Lefgt arm indicates how many power is left in the Left Arm. Same with right arm. Leg power determines how far you can move, the lower the HP on the Legs, the lower amount of spaces you can move. Pilot indiactes how much HP the pilot of the machine has left. Kill the pilot, and the machine is as good as dead.

Moving around in the game is easy, because you don't actually control your characters. Instead, the game moves you from place to place on the world map automatically. Also, once inside a town, then you have several options available, including Talk, Shop, Network, and more. It is really cool and well done.

Now what is this Network thing? Well, think of it as a mini game. You log onto the network, and you can go around from site to site, finding crucial information about upcoming battles, etc. Also, you can check your email (well, not personal email, but the characters in the game's emails) This opens up several interesting storylines because everyone wants to know who's emailing who.

Overall, Front Mission 3 is an incredible game. I usually don't like strategy games, but this one is simply awesome. I especially love the cool battles in the game. The game may seem a little complex at first, but once you get into it you'll find that it is easy to play and easy to control your robots after a while. What a great game.

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Other Important Scores
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Replay Value: High


This is a huge game, therefore you will have to spend a lot of time playing it in order to beat it. And once you see how fun the game is, you will definitely want to beat it. This means that the game has high replay value, because you will want to play it for a long time. After beating it, however, you may not want to go back and play it again, mainly because the game is so incredibly huge. Overall, the replay value is high first time playing through, after that it suffers greatly.

Challenge: Medium

I strolled through the first twenty missions or so with relative ease. The battles proved to be very easy, mainly because my characters were so powerful compared to the enemies. But after a while, the game's challenge started to increase as the enemies got tougher and tougher. Overall, the challenge gets decent after a while, never really gets very challenging though. Which may be a good thing.


GOOD POINTS
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-I have never had so much fun playing a strategy game.
-This game is huge! It should take well over 100 hours for you to beat completely!
-2 seperate storylines in the game.

BAD POINTS
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-Some graphical problems are present.
-The game is quite complex.
-You will NOT want to beat it twice.

Overall (9.7/10)

What an incredible game. Front Mission 3 is now one of my favorite video games of all time. Featuring lots and lots of robots, cool battles, and an easy learning curve, the game really is ''all that''. Definitely worth your 40 bucks.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/17/00, Updated 07/16/01


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