Front Mission Evolved: The Wanzers

By Jim Rossignol on September 24th, 2010 at 1:56 pm.


That’s “Walking Panzer”, I believe. Wanzer. Yeah. Anyway, I’ve been playing a bit of our preview version of this and ROLLERSKATING ROBOTS ARE ATTACKING THE MANHATTAN SPACE ELEVATOR! Things have got a bit less interesting after the initial insane FMVs, but I will play through some more and let you know what I think. This is definitely not the Front Mission Evolved you will be familiar with from years past, anyway, as you can see from the new trailers detailing different shooty-biff Wanzer types, which I have posted below.

, , .

77 Comments »

  1. Unaco says:

    So, Wanzer is short for “Walking Panzer”? I suppose it’s better than what it would be if they’d used the English and called them “Walking Tanks”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lambchops says:

      Beat me to it.

    • Dominic White says:

      I actually believe it’s a contraction of Wanderung Panzer, and would be pronounced in the German style – Vanzer.

      It sounds really dumb if you pronounce it in the wrong language, but that applies to pretty much every foreign word out there.

    • Araxiel says:

      “Wanderung Panzer” would be ‘Hike Tank’, which makes not a lot of sense. So it’s either the contraction of “Walking Panzer” (since panzer somehow found the word into the english language as a synonym for “badass tank”) or “Wandernder Panzer” (roaming/walking tank).

      Well, I rather go with Wanzer (no matter how ridiculous it sounds in German) than with the contraction of ‘Walkig Tank’: ‘Wank’

    • DrGonzo says:

      I think it’s derived from people who like these Panzer games. Wankers, who like panzers, Wanzers. So it’s actually pronounced with a w sound. :)

    • Torqual says:

      Wankers would be cool too. But Japanese people like all things german. So they a tank is a panzer. And a Wanker a Wanzer. In german a robotsuit would be called “Selbstgehende gepanzerte Waffenplattform mit Flug und amphibischen Fähigkeiten.” = walking armored weaponplatform with flying and watercrossing abilities. Germans are not cool about making abrevations. Or “Mechanisierte Infantrie” = infantry in robosuits.

      Its really hard to find words and ips for battlemechs, because all the cool names like battlemech are protected by copyright. So wanzers sounds really cool to me.

      Its like a shoot em up. Wasnt the original Front mission a turn based strategy game. There are enough shoot em ups about mechs. A strategy game would be much cooler, when you ask me.

      Nethertheless the vids show some good solid mech action.

      Have a nice rampage with your 80 ton atlas.

    • Gea280 says:

      Wanzer actualy is short for “wanderung panzer” which roughly translates from German to englsh as “walking tank”

  2. Wooly says:

    Should have been Walking Tanks.

  3. Unaco says:

    Having watched the trailers now, and not just looking to make a knob gag/cock joke… Doesn’t look too interesting to me, combat wise. Felt somewhat bland. I was hitherto unaware of this franchise (I take it it’s a Japanese Mecha thing)… but I think I’ll hang on til the new Mechwarrior for my Giant-Stompy-Stampy-Robot-Kill thrill.

    • Latro says:

      I’m very interested in the previous entries on the franchise, as they are tactical combat. FPS, not so much.

      Seems Front Mission is either unavailable or hard as hell to find on Europe :-(

    • Latro says:

      turn-based tactical combat RPG I mean.

    • sassy says:

      Umm where are you looking? The rest of the series is on consoles, starting on the SNES then going to PSX and then PS2.

    • Latro says:

      Dunno, maybe Spain then? Cause sure I cant find the PS2 games anywhere.

      (Dont have a SNES)

    • ErikM says:

      @Latro

      I had Front Mission 3 for my ol’ Playstation and it was a great gaming. Probably one of my faves.The story was at times somewhat odd, but it’s unusually realistic for being a mecha game. It was basically like any other tactical turn-based RPG of japanese origin, except you could blow arms and legs off. Pretty neat

    • Seol says:

      @Latro: If you wrote that message from a pc you do have a snes. :).

      The english fan translation for Front Mission V (allegedly the best one in the series) was released some months ago. and it plays fine under PCSX2. For a retrospective on the series, people would do well heading over HG101.

      May spamotron have mercy on this overlinking post :P.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      Yeah, FM3 was awesome. Think X-Com/FFTactics turn based strategy with completely customisable giant walking death robots.

      This however doesn’t really interest me nearly as much.

    • Ergonomic Cat says:

      Front Mission 1 was rereleased on the DS, and is good. Front Mission 2 I haven’t played, but I got Front Mission 3 for about $20 off Ebay. And Front Mission 4 (my favorite of the series) is on the PS2. I can still hear the music from combat. And so can my wife, poor thing. ;)

      I don’t think I’ll be able to bring myself to play Front Mission Evolved. For those that don’t know the series, this is about the equivalent of the new XCom game for us.

  4. Lucas says:

    RPS needs a filter so I can skip all the promo crap and just read about games RPSers are actually playing.

  5. Warduke says:

    I can appreciate that all mech games don’t have to be done in the Mechwarrior style, eg. Heavy Gear was pretty solid in its own right. Therefore….

    Giant robot combat!! Yes!!!

  6. KillahMate says:

    So basically they did to Front Mission what they’re doing to X-Com, only (arguably) worse. Good to know our console brethren have something to rage about also.

    (Front Mission on the SNES was quite something, incidentally. A bit old school even back then, but a lot of love went into it I think. What a shame.)

  7. Redford says:

    Hey, Front Mission:Gun Hazard was one of my favorite games. That said, I doubt polygons will do much for this series, unless we end up with something like Armored Core, but then you could just play Armored Core.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Gun Hazard was a lot of fun, even if its title did sound like the warning label on the box your army comes in.

  8. Daniel Rivas says:

    I thought these games were like Ogre Battle. Oh well. Just looks a bit like a third person shooter.

  9. Chris D says:

    Put me down for another “I would have been interested if it was still turn based but now not so much”

  10. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    I never understood why people make giant fuck-off mechs in games only to have them control exactly like any bland ’90s third-person action game. I mean, they’re robots. Make them grim, slow, menacing, confusing things. Have them stumble into buildings as their legs are shattered from beneath them with an explosive. Force the player to rush coolant to a rocket pod that’s overheating. Chuck in a feature that allows mechanical control of the railgun once cockpit power’s down, for a last-ditch game-changing attempt at revenge. They’re robots.

    • Dominic White says:

      What gets me is that despite the previous action game in the series (Front Mission: Gun Hazard on the SNES) being a 2d platform-shooter, it looks like far more of a giant, stompy robot game than the gameplay we’re seeing here. Your mech was HEAVY. It had inertia, and took time to start and stop movement. You couldn’t change direction instantly, and attempting to do so would result in an impressive skid. Aiming up and down wasn’t instantaneous either – there was a moments pause for your mechs arm to adjust angle.

      This looks like a generic third person shooter dressed up in giant robot clothin.

    • Premium User Badge

      tomeoftom says:

      Yeah, exactly! They’re all floaty and instant and gamey. They have a number that descends when you fire at them or punch them, then they hit zero and pop into nothing. Just… why? Why would you even bother to make a game like that? It’s been done before countless times.

    • Premium User Badge

      tomeoftom says:

      Italics are very important for emphasizing entire paragraphs.

    • disperse says:

      I think I’m going to go back and replay the Mechwarrior 2 series…

    • disperse says:

      And, end italics:

    • Sardaukar says:

      “Chuck in a feature that allows mechanical control of the railgun once cockpit power’s down, for a last-ditch game-changing attempt at revenge. They’re robots.”

      I’m going to shamelessly plug something here and pretend I’m delivering on a request:

    • Kevbo says:

      You guys should check out Mechwarrior: Living Legend if you have a decent gaming rig. Amazing crysis mod that really does justice to controlling massive mechanical beasts :)

    • Premium User Badge

      tomeoftom says:

      Kevbo: does it run faster than vanilla Crysis Wars? My rig is juuuust too slow to handle it well enough for Serious Multiplayer Internet Fighting. It does look quite good, going on videos.

    • Sardaukar says:

      My experience with it is that it runs more consistently smooth than Crysis itself. Almost all of the videos I have up are getting 20-40FPS while recording, usually 40-70 when Fraps is off; This is with an i7, GTX275, Soundblaster X-Fi, and three gigabytes of RAM on XP 32bit.

      Well, actually, that was when I was on a 1280×1024 resolution. On 1920×1080 now, and there’s a drop of about ten FPS average.

  11. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Doesn’t look like that fun. It’s like.. a generic FPS.. but with robots. Nothing against big robots (mechs if you will), but it just didn’t look good.

  12. Ragabhava says:

    Hilarious!

    In german ‘Wanze’ = an insect of the Heteroptera family. More commonly a ‘Bedbug’.

    ‘Wanzer’ sounds like ‘Bedbugger’ to my german ears.

  13. Flunky says:

    Bit of a shame, really.

    As a general fan of the previous entries (even imported the excellent-but-only-released-in-Japan Front Mission 5), it’s sad to see what was in some ways a unique and good TRPG become just another floaty mech shooter. Plenty of those already about, most of which have both already been released and are already better than this. I understand they’ve generally had problems being popular outside of Japan, but why wait only until you’ve gone the generic action route before releasing a PC version? Ah well, better franchises have fallen (and are falling) in just the same way.

  14. sassy says:

    Your right Dominic, it is pronounced Vanzer … I never knew where it came from so thanks.

    If anyone here hasn’t (which mostly likely you haven’t) go play Front Mission 3, one of my favourite games, maybe even my favourite. It was a brilliant game, especially in the way the story branched.

    • Dominic White says:

      The story in FM3 didn’t so much ‘branch’ and ‘sprout into two completely seperate trees’. There’s only one real plot decision to make, but it’s right at the start and leads into two completely seperate, full-game-length campaigns.

    • Chris D says:

      I have fond memories of Front Mission 3. I’m not exactly sure why.

      When I think about it now the plot was dull, the cut scenes seemed eternal, the dialogue ludicrous, the fake internet subgame was pointless, the skill learning mechanism needlessly obscure and the protagonist more in need of a slap than anyone since Squall in Final Fantasy 7.

      Also in a group containing multiplle secret agents, a scientist, a hacker, a business man,a frigging general and a hormonal teenager with severe judgement issues guess who gets to be the boss?

      Yet somehow it managed to overcome all of these was still pretty good in spite of them. It takes something special to manage that.

  15. Nallen says:

    Hah. So not closing your html tags reformats the entire site? I love defects like that.

    • Tei says:

      we have never see this particular bug before.
      in defense of the code of the page, is hard to reproduce this effect

  16. sassy says:

    That counts as a branch … just ;)

    I just like the way the branch puts you on different sides of the conflict, only hearing references of the other story or maybe seeing the event but not taking part in it.

  17. sassy says:

    why won’t any of my replies work? I’ve never manages this many reply failures before

  18. fearian says:

    Lets see…

  19. MountainShouter says:

    Probably should have used VTs (Vertical Tanks).

    Oh wait, Steel Battalion got that already.

  20. PleasingFungus says:

    …I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be possible to build a space elevator in Manhattan. Isn’t it a little far away from the equator…?

    (I do approve of the massive italics attack, though. SUCCESS FOR HTML FORMATTING.)

  21. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    I take full credit for this typographic anomaly.

  22. DigitalSignalX says:

    Wouldn’t this be a FRS or FMS? First robot / mech shooter?

  23. nuh uh no way says:

    Conflatulation! You broke RPS.

  24. Salazaar says:

    If it’s meant to be 100 tons of walking metal then have it behave like 100 tons of walking metal.

    Wrrrrr, klunk.

    Wrrrr, klunk.

    Wrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    BOOOOOM!

    I know it’s a staple of the genre in certain regions but having scooty, dancy mechs holding guns in giant robotic hand (rather than having them just attached – it just a bloody great tank y’know, tanks don’t ave hands!) just breaks the suspension of disbelief for me.

    I’m off the play MW4 Mercs again (MekTek.net :D) and I think I’ve still got a copy of Steel Battalion round here somewhere…

    • Dominic White says:

      I always find it amusing that there are people who find arms on a giant robot to be immersion-breaking, yet putting legs on a tank is perfectly reasonable.

      As for the chunky-stompyness, yes, it’s missing in this game entirely. Really sad, as every other Front Mission game has it in droves. Those things are big, heavy and powerful. Just not here.

    • Salazaar says:

      I’ve got no problem with arms. It’s just hands, and the designed for hands guns that go with them, and swords. Arms are perfectly acceptable on big stompy robots, IMHO.

    • Dominic White says:

      It may disturb you, but a great many mechs in the Battletech universe have hands, too. They just couldn’t model them in the Mechwarrior series, due to technological limitations – back in the days of MW2, mechs looked like a couple of slabs of granite roughly carved into a bipedal shape.

    • Salazaar says:

      They may have hands but they’re still not ostensibly designed as a human surrogate who happens to look like a giant robot. Admittedly, the whole concept of giant bipedal tanks is a large conceit to swallow but not beyond the realms of possibility, but to make them dance around like a ninja and to give them fully functional hands which are dexterous as any humans (hands being a highly flawed design decision – fine on a person who has a whole range uses for hands but a bit impractical on a tank, walking or otherwise) is pushing the bounds of belief to far.

      Even those Battletech mechs which had hands rarely, if ever, used them in the way that crossed the bounds in to disbelief. They still bristled with weapon hardpoints, never picked up a gun with a trigger and didn’t carry giant katanas. Furthermore, no Battletech mech has ever flipped out and skated lightly across battlefields, the closest they’ve come to that is jumpjets, taking in to account the enormous mass and energy requirements.

  25. yourgrandma says:

    Their is a excellent fan translated version but only a modded ps2 can play it. FM5 is one of my favorite turned based strategy games i have played… defiantly the highlight of the entire series with way more strategic gamplay then fm3 and a better story (even if it is another amnesia based story). I hoping this is just a one time thing and after this they will go back to turned based… but keep making the series for PC.

  26. yourgrandma says:

    wow reply function fails to work… and i had to enter captcha 3 times! i have officialy given up on making any comments

  27. Tei says:

    wow.. this is awesome *combat start* oooh… same… seems is a game that dont want to be good.
    no locational damage, so firing somewhere obvious, like legs or arms, does nothing more, is a game of lowering hp bars. exactly what you dont want in a mechs game. oooh…

  28. Armitage says:

    It’s called Front Mission: Evolved not Front Mission 4. And its not as if this franchise had a huge following in the west that will rage and boycott. Such sentiments only suit the vocal loyalists and can only hurt gamers. That being said, I am disappointed that XCOM is now an FPS, but the trailer looks awesome and I will probably buy it anyway.

  29. Rane2k says:

    When your Mech (or Wanzer, what an awful word) can glide around at high speed, why would it ever need to walk?:-)

    I´d like a Mech game in the style of Earthsiege 2 again, with pumped up graphics and added urban combat..

    • Dominic White says:

      “When your Mech (or Wanzer, what an awful word) can glide around at high speed, why would it ever need to walk?:-)”

      What happens when you reach a surface that ISN’T flat, paved road? Those wheels are there pretty much so that they can move around flat terrain without stomping holes in the tarmac everywhere. It’s actually good design.

    • Rane2k says:

      Ah, it´s supposed to be on wheels? I had the feeling it was some kind of jetpack. (And the closeup in the beginning shows no wheels/skates, guess they are under the foot)

      Anyway, is there some decent Mech game around at the moment? Say, up to 5 years old, and with “heavy” feeling mechs, not floaty stuff like this?
      While these trailers did not spark my interest for this particular game, they have awakened my desire to stomp around in giant metal machines, armed to the teeth. :-)

  30. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Thanks for standing still, Wanzer!

  31. wcaypahwat says:

    So…. Apart from the completely unrealistic physics of the GIANT METAL ROBOT TANKS WALKING AROUND AND ROLLERSKATING…

    Is the game itself any good?

  32. Kevbo says:

    Cant…. get out…. of italics….. dam u tomeoftom :)

  33. pipman3000 says:

    awesome a front mission game for the pc

    …oh wait it’s not a tbs.

  34. Gareth says:

    How did the crazy italics happen?? Looking at the source of the page… Doesn’t really explain it at all. Mmm. Odd.

    Front Mission games are often good, but I found the last one I played on the PSP to be a bit… dull: far too much button-mashing, not enough tactics. But the one before last, on the PSP, felt far more exciting because, as someone mentioned above, it felt like the tanks\robots\things were heavy.

    • TCM says:

      There aren’t any Front Mission games on the PSP. I think you are thinking of Armored Core, which is totally different.