Front Mission 3 is one of the most addicting games you'll ever play, thanks to it's great story and sublime gameplay.
Lows: The game gets painfully difficult down the stretch, long loading times, cheap deaths.
Verdict: The best Front Mission game in the series.
With the first two games in Square's tactical RPG series Front Mission never seeing the light of day outside of Japan, Square decided to let us Americans try out the tactical RPG goodness of FM for the first time with Front Mission 3, released for the PlayStation in 2000 in North America. Front Mission 3 takes place in Southeast Asia and Australia in the year 2112, revolving around the OCU (Oceana Cooperative Union), the DHZ (People's Republic of Da Han Zhong), the USN (United States of the New Continent) and the JDF (Japanese Defense Force), and a deadly and violent conflict revolves around the four. In FM3, you play as high school student Kazuki Takemura and his best friend, Ryogo Kusama, who get themselves involved in construction wanzer transporting gone wrong when an explosion happens at the base, and they soon discover the truth behind what happens with either Emma Klamsky (USN scenario) or Kazuki's sister Elisa Takemura (DHZ scenario), and they all get dragged into a full-scale war. If you've played the first two Front Mission games, you're in familiar territory already. The gameplay is excellent as veterans of the series and newcomers alike can get an idea of how things work in a tactical RPG. The story is excellent, as it has excellent character development, and lots of plot twists that leave you surprised in the end. The music is also very solid, and while some stages use the same song, it's still very good in it's own right. The weapon selection in the game is very balanced, as you a selection of missile launchers, machine guns, shotguns, grenade launchers, and melee weapons to choose from so you can equip your wanzer for battle. You can also upgrade the strength of your wanzer's parts, and you also have the option to name and paint your wanzer. There is also an eject feature which allows you to get out of your wanzer, and you can either fight on foot, or hijack another wanzer, but your player's health is low when he's on foot so be careful. There is also the network feature, which allows you to send and receive e-mails, go into the Battle Simulator mode, use the online shop to buy parts for your wanzers, pay to download certain programs, download wallpapers, and tinker with websites. The replay value of Front Mission 3 is so high that you'll want to keep coming back to it very often, because FM3 is a damn good tactical RPG that's up there with other greats like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars, and some tactical Shin Megami Tensei games. However, FM3 is not without problems. As you continue playing, the game becomes Contra-difficult, as enemies are much stronger, and can take out certain parts of your wanzer in just a couple hits, the loading times are long, as it takes a while to load up the network feature and other things like the battle sequences too. And there are plenty of cheap deaths that happen in the game, thanks to some overpowered enemies or a frustrating battle setting. But overall, Front Mission 3 is a PlayStation classic that serious PS1 collectors and gamers alike should totally try out. Prices for FM3 are under $20 on Ebay and Amazon, so you should have no problem getting a hold of it. Don't miss out on this wonderful title.