A game that delivers the experience of playing through an incredible anime series with great turn based strategy style!

User Rating: 8 | Front Mission 3 PS
This was a difficult game to get into never having played a turn based strategy game. With that said, after some long hours of getting the hang of things I couldn't put this game down. This game packs an immense amount of content into a single Playstation disk and Squarsoft delivers not one, but TWO incredible stories. Depending on one of your decisions at the beginning of the game, you are able to experience separate storylines that are radically different in your allies and game objectives. Each of these takes around 40 hours to complete. In addition there is even more content to be explored in the vast fictional network within the game where you can learn different things about the futuristic world. Without giving away key plot points the games themes center around family loyalty, honor, sacrifice and the pursuit of peace.

The visuals in this game are incredible and there are a number of impressive cinematic cut-scenes that progress the narrative. Between battles the characters are shown as drawn characters with different facial expressions depending on what they are saying and in what context. There is a still in the backdrop to show the scenery. The battles themselves have decent graphics that depict the different attacks as they happen.

The sound design in the game is very impressive. There are realistic sounding explosions and clanking metal as hulking behemoths crash to the ground when defeated. There is a nice variety of different background music in both combat and between battle preparations too. I was disappointed that there was no voice acting though I understood after finding out first-hand how extensive the script was.

There is a large learning curve to will have to overcome in order to start enjoying the gameplay though once you do the combat becomes the highlight of the game. The beginning of the game has you learning the basic combat mechanics of turn based battle. As you gain more party members and wazner (giant robot) parts more tutorials ensue teaching you about upgrades and shopping. In battle it is possible to have up to four party members. Each one joins your party with a certain weapon specialty though this can be further customized as you gain experience with each weapon as they are used more frequently. Each weapon has different pros and cons and thus it is wise to have your team varied in its weapon expertise. There are key points to your wazner and the enemy (arms, legs, body, etc.). Shotguns are a short range weapon that do a bit of damage to each. Machine guns are similar but tend to focus their damage more on one part. Missiles are long range and do large amounts of damage to one part. Rifles are medium range and specify damage and melee weapons do extreme damage to a single part but you must be next to your target leaving you vulnerable to devastating counters. Furthermore the combat is made even more complex with combat skill slots, repairs, ammo reloads, enemy surrender, ejecting pilots and more factors that keep each battle interesting when not slightly repetitive and slow moving. It is also nice that each battle is a mission with a unique context as opposed to random encounters that would quickly get dull.

As many gamers know, Square makes terrific games and this one is not a rare exception to that rule. It is easy to recommend this game to strategy fans and mech enthusiasts alike. If you enjoys squares traditional RPGs that you may want to try this one out for something a little different. A hardcore gamer can easily invest close to a hundred hours into this fantastic game. Just be wary of the learning curve.