E3 '07: Front Mission English Impressions

Square Enix showed us a quick localized demo of its upcoming portable mech battler, and gave us some more in-depth details as well.

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The Front Mission series of strategy role-playing games stretches back to the days when the "Square" half of Square Enix was simply Squaresoft. Front Mission first appeared on the Super NES, and since then, the franchise has only shown up sporadically in North America (a number of entries haven't made it outside of Japan). Luckily for fans of this giant-robot strategy series, Square Enix has a nice little handheld package coming for Nintendo DS owners, titled simply Front Mission. We got to take a look at the game's features and found out what kind of content it will contain in a meeting with company reps today.

Most of Front Mission on the DS will be composed of missions and the storyline from the original Super Nintendo game and its successor on the PlayStation (you know, the first one). The game details the strife between two militarized factions, the Oceanic Community Union (OCU) and the United Continental States (UCS). These two factions have annexed Huffman Island, and after a period of armed conflict in which ownership of these territories is disputed, the groups' leaders have declared a cease-fire. Unfortunately, tensions again build when an OCU officer named Roid enters UCS territory for unknown reasons. Both sides are armed with battalions of giant bipedal robots, and the game's combat is carried out between them. Expect a lot of wreckage on the battlefield, in other words.

In the original Super Nintendo game, only the OCU was playable, and then the UCF was added on the PlayStation. Both of these factions' mission sets and story arcs from their respective games will be included in the DS version, and a total of 10 additional missions have been added (five for each campaign). Additionally, new characters featured in Front Mission 5 and Front Mission 2nd will pop up in the revised storylines, and you'll also find weapons and mechs that didn't appear in the original games. (These new additions wlil be taken from the Japan-only Front Mission Online.) Lastly, there's been a decent graphical upgrade applied--the battlefield tile sets have been redrawn with greater detail, and ambient details like floating clouds and more noticeable lighting and shadows have been added to the mission graphics as well.

Click to enlarge!

On the gameplay side, it looks like Square Enix has adapted Front Mission to the dual-screen setup pretty well. The game now relies on the touch screen heavily for its controls--you'll be able to simply point and tap where you want your units to move, for instance. Additionally, the original game had to switch between the overhead map view, statistical displays, and up-close combat interactions. Now, the map view will always remain visible on the bottom screen, with a more detailed stat view occupying the top screen (and being replaced by battling mechs when you actually enter combat).

Front Mission for the DS looks like it's shaping up to offer hardcore fans of the series a nice portable package for some mech-battling on the go, although the reused campaigns may be a letdown to those who have already played the original games ad nauseam. This does seem like the best way for newcomers to the series to check out Front Mission for the first time. Front Mission will be available on October 23.

Discussion

20 comments
Lumenadducere
Lumenadducere

I'm a pretty big Square-Enix fan, so I might pick this up. I'll wait and see what others think of it first, though.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Awesome! I love the Front Mission series. Now if only they'd bring over Front Mission 5 and Front Mission Online. Now that Mechwarrior 5's unlikely to see the light of day for a long while, us mech lovers need our robot fix.

icytower
icytower

A rent for this is likely, but I don't expect much.

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

Front Mission looks very itneresting, I need a new DS game anways

BulletProof007
BulletProof007

Should work well on the DS with its touch screen.

Player1_HDS
Player1_HDS

I'm so very excited, I'm enjoyed front mission since i got my hands on the emulation as a kid. Finally I'll have a real copy to play and enjoy for my DS :)

Sonovius
Sonovius

This should be the first decent TBS on the ds. Makes Advanace Wars look like a joke if its true to the modern series.

randar23rhenn
randar23rhenn

front mission owns hopefully they bring fm5 over as well

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

I'm not sure what to make out of this one but i'm thinking it would be meh

HiNu
HiNu

Who cares if it's not 3D? It's not like it's a platformer or anything, where the game being 3D actually matters. This game is a CLASSIC, no ands ifs or buts about it. There's a translation patch for the original SNES rom on the web, google it.

Pete5506
Pete5506

this should be some what good

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

I actually remember the Super Nintendo game for this...

mrklorox
mrklorox

Darn. I was hoping for something 3d. I really enjoyed Front Mission III and never got to play FM4. I'll probably be skipping this one.

jesus_knight
jesus_knight

if this game is as good as the ps2 version i will buy it!

Blace_07
Blace_07

Can't wait to play this game! Front Mission 4 and 3 are good, but I want to know the roots of the series, and with this I can. I still wish Square would release Front Mission 5 like they planned and then gave up. Have a heart Square-Enix!

AnFangs_Endes
AnFangs_Endes

It reminds me slightly of FFTA, but a little less clear when it comes to mech design, unless in battle.