877th played so far

Genre: Strategy
Platform: Playstation 1
Year of Release: 1999
Developer: Square Product Development Division 6
Publisher: Square

I’ve been looking forward to playing Front Mission 3 – at its core a tactics game like Final Fantasy Tactics, but with mechs and all that. It also seems appropriately story dense and in my prep I’ve seen that there’s a split in the storyline early on. It feels completely up my ally and if anything, I’ll need more time with the game in the future. We’ll see whether I do keep going, but let’s get started.

Our Thoughts

Front Mission 3 challenges you from the start. While the tutorial obviously is straight forward enough, a few missions in I felt the squeeze and battles early on felt like a puzzle to solve where I didn’t know all the pieces I needed to put together. I used a guide to help me out, with a lot of it telling me to stay put. It seems best to play defensively, letting the opponents wade into battle as you ambush them and use counter fire to weaken them. It took some going, but I got there after a while.

It’s a system that’s made more interesting – if less predictable – by the more complex damage system. Damage is modelled not just for different parts of the mechs – arms, legs and so on, limiting your actions appropriately – but also for its pilot. This allows the pilot to jump between mechs if needed, giving you some more options to continue the battle for them as you need to. Add to that the mech customization, at the appropriate times, that makes them even more individual, and it takes the complexity of the battles up by a fair amount. It’s an interesting system, although I felt overwhelmed soon enough.

The story in the mean time is quite interesting in how it’s told. There are two strands, with your protagonist either following his friend or his sister based on a decision early on. It doesn’t get sign posted – I didn’t know I was locked in until a while after – but it certainly seemed interesting. I’d like to see more of the other path – perhaps it would have been easier with less back-to-back battles – and that’s for a future playthrough. At the same time, even at this point I got a feel for the story. There is a big internet-type network implemented in the game with news articles, websites for various organizations you encounter and other names. It helps with the plot a few times, but mostly is a lot of background information that’s a lot of fun to dive into as well.

Final Thoughts

Front Mission 3‘s storyline is an interesting one to explore, one that you obviously can’t do in a single playthrough by design. That’s combined with a tactical game that has a lot of depth, even more with the extensive customization included in the game. I need a guide to deal with it right now, but there’s a lot more here to discover.