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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Squaresoft

Ups: Cool mecha; lots of strategy involved; great character and landscape designs; a blast to play. 

Downs:  It's super addictive; tactics games aren't for everybody.

System Reqs:
Sony PlayStation

battleshot1b-01.jpg (4231 bytes)If you must remember anything, remember these two things: 1) significant others frown upon eating Milk Duds and drinking Dr. Pepper for breakfast; 2) eating your most healthy breakfast sitting in front of the television going round after round at Front Mission 3, thoroughly ignoring them, is another way to upset the SO. But, domestic partner aside, FM3 is one of the coolest tactical games to come along from Square since Final Fantasy Tactics.

battleshot2b-01.jpg (5026 bytes)Set in the near future, you inherit the role of Kazuki Takemura, a wanzer test pilot for Kirishima Industries, who gets caught up (as you can imagine) in an intricate pattern of conspiracy. While delivering a shipment of wanzers to a Japanese Defense Force base, there is an explosion in which Kazuki later finds out his sister, Alisa, was involved. This propels your character into a struggle between the rebels and the Oceana Community Union (OCU). Now, this is where Square twists the story line. Close to the start of the game, you have the chance to decide if you want to join the rebels or defend the OCU. As expected, both have their ups and downs, but in the end your choice will determine how the rest of the game will play out, who will be an ally, who will be an enemy and the ending sequences.

Aside from the increasingly complex fighting scenarios, the gamer is given another reason to replay this game: the "Double Feature Scenario", as Square likes to call it, provides you with the opportunity to experience both story lines and all of the FMVs hidden within the game.

battleshot5b-01.jpg (5217 bytes)Now mind you, FM3’s story is a good one, but the main attraction of this game are the complex fighting scenarios—each brings to the table varied enemies, causing you to use unique strategies to win. Like its previous incarnations, you play on a grid system, much like chess or Chinese checkers, in which you must make choices of where to move, when and how to attack and when to make a run for it. After some scenarios, and depending on where you are in the game, you are given the chance to upgrade your wanzer. During the upgrade sections, you learn that bulking up in one area will put you at a disadvantage; instead, it’s recommended that you distribute your upgrades equally among weaponry, armor and other, or else you’ll lose the coming battles.

battleshot6b-01.jpg (5085 bytes)Another nice part of this game is that the first scenario has you testing a wanzer in a non-combative environment, bringing you quickly up to date with the combat system’s control and different keystrokes you must make to do things in battle. The secret to FM3 is to master this system, as well as your many options during combat, in such a way that levers your skill above your opponents. Now, you’re telling yourself, "well, of course," but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Through a majority of the game, you will have other wanzers you can control, each with its own pilot who has their own set of skills, as well as each with its own set of hardware specifics. Trust me, you’ll learn fast who can do what and what one shouldn’t being doing.

world-shot1b-01.jpg (5394 bytes)Building upon the previous two Front Mission titles, Square brings to the table another delicious chapter that boasts quicker load times, a more intricate story line, the ability to fight mech against human, et cetera, lending to an incredible game that should not go without being played by any gamer out there who enjoys strategy titles. For me, the game is paced well enough to keep me interested in the story while getting more and more addicted to its strategic elements. Now, if only they’ll release a Front Mission 4 with network capabilities on the PS2—you may proceed to drool over this thought: ah, dreams.

 --Matt Baldwin