“Front Mission 3” is a tactical role-playing game (RPG) developed and published by Square (now Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation (PSX). Released in 1999 in Japan and in 2000 in North America, the game is the third installment in the “Front Mission” series. Known for its strategic gameplay, branching storylines, and mecha-themed setting, “Front Mission 3” offers a compelling narrative and engaging turn-based battles.
Gameplay: “Front Mission 3” features a blend of tactical RPG and simulation gameplay, where players control giant humanoid mechs known as Wanzers. The game is divided into two scenarios, each with its own protagonist and storyline. Players can choose to follow either Alisa Tremain in the USN (United States of the New Continent) scenario or Kazuki Takemura in the OCU (Oceania Cooperative Union) scenario.
Key gameplay elements include:
- Turn-Based Battles: The core of the gameplay revolves around turn-based battles on grid-based maps. Players maneuver Wanzers across the battlefield, taking advantage of terrain and utilizing various weapons and abilities.
- Customization: Wanzers can be customized with different parts and weapons. Players can choose the loadout for each Wanzer, including arms, legs, body, and backpack modules. The customization adds a strategic layer, allowing players to tailor their mechs for specific roles or playstyles.
- Pilots and Skills: Each Wanzer is piloted by a character, and pilots gain experience and skills through battles. Skills can affect combat performance, accuracy, evasion, and other attributes. Managing pilot skills is crucial for success in battles.
- Story Branching: The game features two distinct storylines, with choices made by the player influencing the narrative progression. The decisions made by the characters and the player impact the outcome of the story, leading to multiple endings.
- Link System: The Link System is a feature that allows pilots to develop relationships with each other, affecting their performance in battles. Cooperative and rival links between pilots add a dynamic element to the character interactions and gameplay.
Graphics and Sound: “Front Mission 3” utilizes 3D polygonal graphics for both the field map and battle sequences. The game’s visual design features detailed mechs and environments, capturing the futuristic and military aesthetic of the “Front Mission” universe.
The soundtrack, composed by Koji Hayama, complements the game with atmospheric and cinematic music. The sound effects during battles and the clanking of Wanzers contribute to the immersive experience.
Story: The game’s narrative unfolds through the perspectives of two protagonists, Alisa Tremain and Kazuki Takemura, each navigating a complex and politically charged storyline. The overarching plot involves political intrigue, conspiracy, and the impact of war on the lives of civilians and soldiers.
Reception: “Front Mission 3” received positive reviews for its deep and strategic gameplay, compelling narrative, and the addition of multiple storylines. Critics praised the game for its customization options, tactical depth, and replay value due to the diverging story paths.
Legacy: “Front Mission 3” is considered a highlight in the “Front Mission” series and a notable title in the tactical RPG genre. While subsequent entries in the series explored different settings and mechanics, “Front Mission 3” is remembered for its engaging storytelling and robust gameplay systems. The game contributed to the ongoing popularity of mecha-themed tactical RPGs.