Originally posted July 16 2004
One of the world’s greatest armies has been decimated by a powerful group with an uncertain goal. While her sword has remained clean all these years, she must now raise it towards the shadows to protect her future. He lives in a foreign land that is desperately trying to find a form, unfazed he focuses on his own prosperity.
The story here is pretty awesome, most of these games are set in some magical fantasy world where fairies aren’t beaten to death outside of a bar, so it’s nice to find a tactic game set closer to reality. You have sneaky and suspicious Germans, a French woman who has never fought before, a British Prime Minister who doesn’t like what the big military power is doing but follows along with little protest, and a bunch of crazy brownies who are always fighting each other. Oh you guys! The story focuses on most of the key players in the Second World War and because of that the game received more of my attention than it would have if it were anything else. This time however, instead of seeing huge armies of foot soldiers and tanks go at it, you get big ass fucking robots called Wanzers. No little pussies here, just big ass mechs stomping the shit out of each other. While it’s not the greatest story ever told, it does to it’s job by keeping you interested in the game between battles. So the story is pretty interesting and worth your time, how about the gameplay?
Well one thing can be said and that’s that the battles take for-fucking-ever, It seems like they would intentionally extend some of the fights just for the fun of it. You will get in a fight with four other guys, battle it out for a while, finally killing them only to discover there are four more you have to go through before it ends. That in itself is a stupid fucking thing, why would these four soldiers hang back in wait? “Hey Jim, our guys are getting hammered out there, think we should help?” “Na man, I’m eating a sandwich.” “Dude, I think they are dying.” “Have you tried this sandwich?” “No.” “Then shut the fuck up.” “Can I have a bite?” “Are you going to criticize my decisions? I don’t give criticizing criticizers bites.” “Fine, just let me taste it.” “Wow, this is nice, is that Dijon?” “It is.” “I knew it, oh man I love Dijon.” “Me too.” “MY FACE IS ON FIRE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING US?!” …Anyway, I was never really in jeopardy, yet some fights took about 45 minutes to complete. FOURTY FIVE GOD DAMN MINUTES. Holy shit, the longer battles will go down as some of the worst gaming moments of my life. I wasn’t playing the game I was enduring it.
I wouldn’t mind that playing time if the battles were tough, if I had to do everything in my power just to stay alive. However, It was almost a given that I would win as my opponents were all pussies. Most of the guys you go up against can’t hit for shit but instead absorb a lot of damage. They don’t come close to taking you out but they sure as shit take forever to kill. The battles were fun the first 10 minutes, all right the next 5, but after that I just couldn’t take it anymore and felt like I was just going through the motions. What should have been the high point of the game really holds Front Mission 4 down from being what it should have.
That being said, the game has some pretty cool ideas. Commanding a bunch of big fucking robots who are fighting other robots is pretty cool. Also, your Wanzers can be customized a lot of different ways. You can change the look of the arms, legs, and body; you can also equip big ass guns and missile launchers on your Wanzers. During battle your Wanzer has four hp levels, body, legs, and your arms (both left and right!). If your body level reaches zero, you die like a bitch, but if any of the other parts are destroyed you still have a chance. As long as you have a body and an arm to attack with you are still good to go. This goes for your opponent as well, so you almost want to take out both of their arms first (because they have lower hp levels than the body or legs) just so he/she is useless. You can repair damaged body parts in battle, but the computer really doesn’t. You don’t choose where your attacks go, if you did it would be too easy, so you just have to pray you actually hit something worth hitting.
The graphics here a pretty nice, the Wanzers themselves look pretty bad ass. As do the tanks, helicopters, and other “regular” shit you run into along the way. Some of the areas also are quite well done; a few are a little bland but not to any extreme. The voice acting here gets the job done; some people sounds like shitheads but most manage to turn out a good performance. On shitty thin about the game is that most of the story is reveled through text placed on a static screen. So instead of having some sort of cool animation showing people talking, you have to stare at a picture of a boardroom full of empty chairs. Lame.
As it stands, there is no real reason to play Front Mission 4. Its gameplay falls short when compared to other games in this genre. While the story, graphics, and customization features are well done, they can’t save this game.
Verdict: Like Final Fantasy Tactics? By like, I mean do you stick your dick in the little hole on the disc? If so, give this a shot.