I am sure there are some of you out there that are wishing there were more games out there like Front Mission 4. I am sure there are a lot of you who wish there were more turned based Mech strategy games out there at your disposal. Well if you have been hoping for a new turned-based Mech Strategy game Square Enix has come to your rescue with Front Mission 4 for the PS2.
During the developmental stages of Front Mission 4 we really didn’t hear a whole lot about the game. Except for diehard Front Mission fans, the game really came under the radar and onto store shelves. Which is surprising when you combine mechs with turn-based strategy you would think there would be more. So can Front Mission 4 be the sleeper hit of 2004?
To start the review lets start on the story behind Front Mission 4. For those of you who are sitting there thinking when did those first two Front Mission games release, don’t worry the first two were only released in Japan. The events in Front Mission 4 take place six years following the first two games of the series. So the world is coming to become filled with these giant machines known as wanzers. There are two characters that you will be playing with throughout the game. The first of the two is Darril a sergeant serviced in Venezuela, who is there to help putting down a succession. And then we have Elsa, a French woman who researches wanzers and the technology behind with them.
The biggest incentive behind Front Mission 4 is by far the deep customization that you get to embark in with the wanzers. You get so much play when customizing your wanzers that at times you would rather do that all day then actually get into the combat. You can customize weapons, parts; everything that you would want to do you can do to your wanzer.
Your pilots also improve as the game goes along which gives you the RPG elements in the game. After each mission you have the ability to upgrade your pilot by purchasing new abilities, which can be quite useful. I think the one thing that is Front Mission 4’s saving grace is all of the customization options you have. There is not one thing in the game that you don’t have control over that you would want to have control over.
So the customization in Front Mission 4 is a great feature of the game but how does the game itself fair? The games missions are really a mixed bag of good, bad, and really tedious. There are times in the game where it seems like the pace of the game is much too slow for the game. We know that it would probably take a while to get a wanzer in position but at the normal game speed you will find that it takes a lot longer then most of us can deal with.
What the game really comes down to in the end is the computer AI, which is not terrible, but it’s also not very good either. After playing Front Mission 4 for only ten to twenty minutes I found that the computer AI can be quite predictable and in fact there are times where the battles don’t seem all that difficult. But of course as you get farther and farther through the game the battles become more and more challenging and the true form of Front Mission 4 comes out. I found after a good five hours of gameplay that Front Mission 4 finally started to feel like it was truly at full throttle.
Overall the gameplay of Front Mission 4 combines a good amount of strategy, but the computer AI is just so darn repetitive and predictable. The customization of your wanzer is a long drawn out process but also probably the most enjoyable one of all. Overall the gameplay will please fans of the series, but past that I would have to say it doesn’t offer enough.
Square-Enix is really known for creating some of the best looking graphical games for the Playstation 2. With Final Fantasy X-2 and all of there recently released titles the graphics have always been quite notable. So how does Front Mission 4’s graphics compare to the rest of Square-Enix lineup?
Visually I would have to say Front Mission 4 is exactly like the gameplay, in that it’s also a mixed bag. Starting with the Wanzers of the game, which are by far the best quality of all. The wanzers have plenty of detail and offer enough color that most people will be quite impressed with there presentation. On the flip side you have the environments which look incomplete and missing all sense of detail.
Overall the graphics of Front Mission 4 are not impressive at all. There is nothing all that positive to say about them. I was shocked to see the lack of effort put into these vast outdoor environments. Instead we are left with very uninspired graphical environments that seem like they should still be in developmental stages.
For this portion of Front Mission 4’s review I am going to have to say it is all about how patient you are. I believe that fans of the series already are going to for sure have a great time with Front Mission 4. For those who haven’t played a game from the series I would have to say that if you are a fan of strategy games and mech’s then even some of the fall backs to the game won’t stop you from having fun in Front Mission 4.
Front Mission 4 is a game that has so much potential but really doesn’t put all of the elements together. The gameplay is average, and the graphics aren’t anything to write home about. Fans of the series will enjoy this one, for the rest of us we can probably find more fun elsewhere.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.