Friday, March 15, 2019
Poor Man's MGS
Front Mission is made up of five mainline games and seven standalone titles. The side games vary from middling to downright bad, but the five sequential titles are all solid. That said, each iteration isn't especially different from its predecessors. When comparing the original SNES Front Mission to Front Mission 4 on the PS2 the differences mostly come down to visuals and a new subsystem or two. Because the fundamental mechanics don't change all that much, it's the story and setting that make each entry unique. The first game takes place on a fictional island in the pacific, the second in the middle-east, the third in asia, and so on. Generally, the stories told are international technothrillers with the primary distinction being the "wanzers." These mechs-by-another-name are every gearhead's dream in that they can be customized in all sorts of interesting ways. Since the Front Mission series never really gained a sizable audience outside of Japan, it might be a good idea to reboot it...not necessarily a hard reset, but perhaps by advancing the timeline past some sort of global disaster. Advanced Wars did exactly that with Days of Ruin, a post-apocalyptic take on the series. In this way, it's possible to retain the mechanics while ditching the convoluted background fluff. Given the world of Front Mission is made up of superpowers jockeying for dominance, it's not a big jump to envision a scenario in which it all goes horribly wrong. Not only are old nations erased, but new ones could be allowed to form based on player input. The wanzers themselves could also get a bit of a redesign, making them more grimy (rather than the ultra-slick look that has dominated the franchise since its inception).
It's not the most original idea, I know. However, the circumstances would allow the series to have a much needed fresh start. Now, before anyone says this is starting to sound a lot like Battletech, let me just say, better a good clone of that than the crappy Metal Gear knockoff we ended up with.