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  #31  
Old 12-27-2010, 03:35 AM
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Stop it. You're reminding me I'll never see a localized copy of Front Mission 5.
Yet several more Disgaea titles will come to America instead! And Squenix thinks people will care about Front Mission Evolved instead of releasing more SRPGs!

(Seriously, I hate NiS for many reasons - but mostly because Disgaea came and devalued the strategy RPG market in North America so much that people are now mostly interested in "go to level retarded" number-crunching SRPGs instead of anything strategically rewarding. Yes, I know Tactics Ogre is coming out - don't devalue my argument like that!)

As for FM3, I'm this close to buying it on PSN and playing through it again. I have incredibly fond memories of it and the positive impressions here so far are making me want to play it again. I mostly want to try new configurations with everyone's wanzers, primarily to see if I can use rifles properly and if I can get away with not using melee on most of my characters.
  #32  
Old 12-27-2010, 06:12 AM
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Stop it. You're reminding me I'll never see a localized copy of Front Mission 5.
There is an unofficial one. And importing the original japanese release is actually not that expensive.
  #33  
Old 12-27-2010, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by PeaceTalk View Post

(Seriously, I hate NiS for many reasons - but mostly because Disgaea came and devalued the strategy RPG market in North America so much that people are now mostly interested in "go to level retarded" number-crunching SRPGs instead of anything strategically rewarding. Yes, I know Tactics Ogre is coming out - don't devalue my argument like that!)
Dude, we just had an Yggdra Union fun club, and since Disgaea came out, we've seen four separate Fire Emblem games released in North America as well. To say nothing of a variety of other strategy RPGs I can't comment on because I never played them. Maybe the SRPGs that NIS released get a disproportionate amount of press or something, but I don't know that they're the scourge you make them out to be. If anything, I just consider them to be a weird sub-sub-genre designed to appeal to obsessive-compulsive shut-ins.

That said, I'm finding that FM3 is strategically interesting, but not terribly difficult for the most part. I'm still experimenting with a variety of wanzer loadouts, but for the most part, any halfway-sensible team seems to be more than adequate for most missions. The first genuinely challenging mission on Alisa's path was 12 or 13 missions in, the fortress battle with the mobile gun emplacements and multiple enemy missile wanzers. I think that was the first mission that went on long enough that I had to use missile reloads.

One thing that I'd forgotten about this game: destroyable terrain! I smiled during one battle when I saw stray machine-gun bullets cutting down palm trees in the background, but I was even more pleased to see that this had resulted in those trees actually being removed from the map. I don't recall seeing that before, but it was pretty awesome. It also served to underscore how much thought went into the maps and the visual design of the game; sure, all the locations are designed to look fairly realistic, but they're designed so thoughtfully that I never find them to be boring.

I've gotten a couple missions past the point where Pham joins, and good lord is she ever obnoxious. Although the way she whiplashes between "Don't talk to me, you filthy peasants!" and "Shut up! I'm a fighter for democracy!" is pretty amusing. I also find it interesting that in a game with 15(?) playable characters, 3 of them are Filipino; that's a pretty interesting and unexpected design choice, although it makes sense considering how many missions take place in the Philippines. Actually, the way that the game portrays conflicts taking place in actual locations, and for (relatively) believable reasons, is a pretty big step up from most games in the genre.
  #34  
Old 12-27-2010, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Hito View Post
I'd just like to add that this game is even better if you play Front Mission 5 before it because the ending of FM5 is the beginning of FM3.

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Stop it. You're reminding me I'll never see a localized copy of Front Mission 5.
One of the things I like about FM3 is the "pilot eject" mechanic. Sure, it can screw you over if the pilot should happen to get ejected while his/her Wanzer is still functional, but sometimes you can use it to turn a bad situation around, by stealing an unbroken/new/better Wanzer. Alternately, if you can eject an enemy, you have a chance to kill it before it can get back in...
  #35  
Old 12-27-2010, 01:22 PM
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Alternately, if you can eject an enemy, you have a chance to kill it before it can get back in...
If you move your wanzer next to an unoccupied wanzer, you can "eject" directly into it -- so you can do that, kill the pilot with his own wanzer, then eject back into your own. Fiendish!

Even if you can't do that, though, Pilot Eject Eject Punch turns into a fantastic skill later in the game because of a bug: ejected enemy pilots returning to their wanzers won't reactivate the additional defense mechanisms like Anti-(pierce/flame/impact).

Last edited by Mazian; 01-01-2011 at 09:40 PM. Reason: wait, that's the lousy skill, not the AWESOME skill
  #36  
Old 01-01-2011, 08:46 AM
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Even if you can't do that, though, Pilot Eject turns into a fantastic skill later in the game because of a bug: ejected enemy pilots returning to their wanzers won't reactivate the additional defense mechanisms like Anti-(pierce/flame/impact).
I had not known about this, but that's pretty useful. Are there any skills other than Eject Punch that force enemy pilots to eject? I always enjoy it when a melee wanzer tries to punch one of my dudes, and I counter with a shotgun to eject the enemy pilot before they can complete their attack; I just wish I had a way to do it consistently, without relying on dumb luck.

Speaking of dumb luck, I captured a Genie during one of the first missions where they appear, and gave it to Alisa to replace her original wanzer; among other things, it has the Pilot Damage III skill, which is tons of fun. I've never seen it kill anyone with one missile hit, but it does enough damage that two shots will consistently take out an enemy pilot. It's pretty nice, although I worry that since I tend to capture wanzers whenever it's convenient, I'm missing out on experience I'll need later on. Then again, the simulator is always available; I've just been trying to avoid using it this time around.

I've also started to come around on the subject of rifles. I think the main issue I had early in the game is that Liu was my one rifleman, and his wanzer just doesn't have the necessary skills to really make it work. I tried giving Ryogo a rifle and loading up his computer with Zoom I skills, and it's a pretty effective setup. Good range, decent counter-attacking ability, and the potential to hit four times without having to worry about wasting ammunition. I'm still not sure it's more effective than using machine guns and ROFUP I, though. FM3 does encourage me to tinker with my team's set-up a lot, though, which helps keep things fresh.

Now I just need to decide whether or not to start using grenades once they're available. I had way too much fun with them the first time I played the game, but I found that if I really wanted to make them work, I basically had to design my team around them. I'm not sure if I'm willing to go that far, this time around.
  #37  
Old 01-01-2011, 09:46 PM
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Sadly, Eject Punch is one of a kind.

I usually keep a Rifle expert around because it's the ideal match for a dual-wielding setup with the beam cannon and Dbl Shot II. Still, it only kicks in so late in the game that it's questionable whether the payoff is worth it. Dbl Shot II really shines with the flamethrower as the secondary weapon, since you can crank it up to an 11 AP attack, then switch back to the primary (probably a shotgun for range reasons). If you get the flamethrower attack to trigger -- and it does quite often, especially with three copies of the skill in the high activation/low combo computer -- it's deliciously AP-efficient murderization.
  #38  
Old 01-03-2011, 06:55 PM
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I don't think I've ever used flamethrowers, but they sounds pretty boss. I might have to give one a try, when they become available.

I'm now about 20 battles in, and despite a couple of somewhat close fights, I've mostly been steamrolling the opposition; the fight against Purple Haze at Taal Base was particularly brutal and one-sided. I'm now using Pham as my primary melee combatant, since she and her wanzer aren't good for much else, and I bough Kazuki a grenade launcher. Old habits die hard. While the low-end grenade launchers have fairly pathetic damage output, they're still good for (literally) disarming enemy wanzers, especially if Kazuki's backed up by one or two wanzers with shotguns.

I'm still sort of taken aback by how powerful the skills can be when you chain them. They can turn a battle against a roughly equal-strength opponent into a one-sided shooting gallery, but they're also pretty much the only thing that keeps me alive during the tougher battles. The difficulty has been pretty uneven to begin with, but the effectiveness of the skills makes it even more so.

I did discover, rather to my dismay, that an arm's skill can fire even if the weapon you're using is in the other arm. I'd swapped out Miho's Kyokei with a Kyojun for its better accuracy and skills, but I left her with a Kyokei arm for holding her shield, since it has equal HP while being lighter. Unfortunately, every so often its awful, awful Hit or Miss skill would activate, frequently resulting in an enemy wanzer dodging an entire shotgun blast. So I guess the lesson is to not equip any wanzer part if you think its skill will disadvantage you in some way.

As the game goes on, I actually become more and more amusing at how very angry all the characters are. I guess it kind of makes sense; if they didn't have rage issues, why would they want to pilot huge armored destructo-bots in the first place?
  #39  
Old 01-04-2011, 09:56 PM
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I've been playing this game for the first time and have found it quite enjoyable so far. I've tried to avoid spoilering anything so I'm just running with the standard Rifle, Shotgun/melee, Missle and Rifle wanzer and been doing well so far which is pretty nice. Been really tempted at times to do a 4 stack of missle spewing idiots though.
  #40  
Old 01-05-2011, 12:06 PM
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The trouble with missiles is that they weigh so much that your missile-er can't really do much else except spew missiles. But it is fun to watch a Wanzer get blown up from all the way across the map...
  #41  
Old 01-06-2011, 08:18 PM
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I find that if you use wanzers which are designed with missile combat in mind (i.e. wanzers with good power output and low weight), you can create some decent set-ups. It's not too hard to stock such a wanzer with a missile launcher and an item backpack to hold a couple of missile reloads. Alternatively, a missile wanzer with an energy backpack will often have enough weight left over to hold a decent melee weapon, machine gun, or shotgun, giving it some close-in combat capability and letting it contribute to the battle even after its missiles are expended. The one down side, of course, is that missile-oriented wanzers seem to have universally lousy HP and damage reduction, so they're pretty fragile.

That said, there's not a whole lot to recommend an all-missile team over a more balanced squad. Missiles are very useful, but so are most other weapons, especially once your pilots have a decent assortment of skills. I suppose there are some degenerate skill setups you could use with missiles; a missile combatant with the Body Smash skill can be ridiculously effective, and there's probably some bad fun to be had by chaining together a couple of Pilot Damage III skills.

I've finally reached the Da Han Zhong missions in Alisa's storyline, and I've lately become a convert to the Double [Whatever] skills. Earlier in the game, Kazuki had triggered the Zenislev's Double Assault skill a couple of times, and while a simultaneous shotgun-melee combo is nice, it didn't strike me as anything to write home about at the time. Then I decided to have Kazuki try out a flamethrower.

This is probably old news to any Front Mission veterans out there, but Double Assault is insane when you use it to combine a melee weapon and a flamethrower. A maximum-power flamethrower attack costs 11 AP, but if you use a melee attack to trigger Double Assault, you only need to pay the 1 AP for the melee attack, and you get the 11 AP flamethrower attack for free, which is just insane. It only gets more degenerate if you load up with 3 copies of the skill. The Shangdi's Double Shot skills and the Grapple's Double Punch are also pretty great, and have made the last few missions much easier.

Thus far the storyline is still fairly interesting, and it's an interesting contrast to my first (dimly remembered) run through the game. I guess the outcome of the Philippines missions are more or less the same on both paths, although I seem to recall there was a tough fight against the Taal Base commander on Emma's path, rather than the fight against Serov's weird-looking murderbot on Alisa's path. It's kind of weird to be fighting for the DHZ this time around, though, since they're depicted as being remarkably vicious. The Wulong mercenaries are still assholes, though, even when they're on my side.

I really wish the network was more streamlined and easier to navigate; while it's sort of interesting to dig around for background information, or check out the news reports, it seems like the payoff is too small to justify the time investment. I kind of prefer the email system, since the messages you get tend to be more directly relevant to your characters, and some of the e-mail related dialogue is pretty funny. One thing that strikes me as somewhat odd in Alisa's route, though: While there are occasional exchanges where Kazuki and Ryogo hassle each other about the e-mails they've received, there are an awful lot of dialogues where Miho comments on other people's email; it kind of leaves me with the impression that she's reading over everyone else's shoulder. Between that and a brief reference to her on the DPS web site, I'm starting to think that she's not actually a traffic cop.
  #42  
Old 01-07-2011, 01:04 PM
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I'm loving this game all over again. I'm about 7 hours into Alisa's path and the game is a nice reminder of what I like about SRPGs like this and FFT...lots of customization, but a small enough unit on the field that I don't find myself getting exhausted customizing everyone.

I can spend a half hour setting my crew up and about another half hour taking on a mission. There's a nice balance here that I just don't find in games like Disgaea and Fire Emblem.
  #43  
Old 01-09-2011, 01:56 PM
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My playthrough is going pretty slowly (Emma's path), but I think I'll try something I've never done before: Getting/Using the Hoshun M112.

Has anyone here actually bothered to get it before? If so, it is actually any good, or just an excuse to use the Internet for things besides exposition and/or backstory purposes?
  #44  
Old 01-09-2011, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Dawnswalker View Post
My playthrough is going pretty slowly (Emma's path), but I think I'll try something I've never done before: Getting/Using the Hoshun M112.

Has anyone here actually bothered to get it before? If so, it is actually any good, or just an excuse to use the Internet for things besides exposition and/or backstory purposes?
It's pretty good. The skills are a mixed bag - nice on paper, iffy in practice (for example, Body Smash is a guaranteed kill when it triggers... but activation rate is very low and it takes five blocks). However, the parts are top-notch, especially the legs and their sky-high Evade% stat.

The Heavy P-Gun is fairly impractical by itself due to its 15 AP cost, which is well more than it's worth, and its class of its own means none of your characters have any Ace Rank for it. Best thing to do is hand it to a Rifle user and load up on Dbl Shot II.
  #45  
Old 01-09-2011, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dawnswalker View Post
My playthrough is going pretty slowly (Emma's path), but I think I'll try something I've never done before: Getting/Using the Hoshun M112.

Has anyone here actually bothered to get it before? If so, it is actually any good, or just an excuse to use the Internet for things besides exposition and/or backstory purposes?
Yes, I got it the first time I played the game. It's totally worth it. To the best of my knowledge, when fully upgraded, the Hoshun is equal or superior to to any other wanzer in every single statistic, and all three battle skills associated with it are quite good. The weapon that comes with it has enough drawbacks that I never used it all that much, but I expect it's probably quite good with the right set-up and a pilot who's properly trained to use it.

One thing that's kind of interesting about Front Mission 3 is that every wanzer that belongs to a particular "class" is statistically identical, except for the battle skill associated with it. If you want, you can keep Alisa in her starting Meledyne, and if you keep upgrading it, it'll be just as effective as any other missile wanzer. That's pretty nice, since it means that unless you're trying to learn new skills, you don't need to constantly buy new wanzers as they become available. Although there are a couple of oddball wanzers, notably the Kyokei and the Zenislev, which don't seem to fit into any of the common categories of wanzer.

As it happens, I still have Kazuki and Alisa using early-game wanzers (the Zenislev and Enyo Mk109, respectively), and they're quite effective. The Enyo is the best missile wanzer I've found so far for shutting down enemy melee units. Except for Pham, who has a Grapple M1, all the rest of my pilots have whatever godawful Frankenstein wanzers I've managed to throw together. And, oddly enough, I've gone back to having most of my characters use the same weapon types they had at the start of the game; as it turns out, while flamethrowers can be effective, I prefer the longer range and more consistent damage of shotguns. Although Liu did get a lot better when I realized that his Shangdi's Double Shot skill requires him to wield two different types of gun. Once I worked that out, he became a lot more effective in combat.

Checking the various news sites on the Network did reveal something interesting and/or annoying about the plot and about Front Mission continuity: It seems like every large-scale conflict in the game ends the same way on both paths. It makes sense in the Philippines, since your squad's overall objective there is the same, regardless of whether you're with the DHZ or USN. The rails are a bit more visible during the DHZ plot arc, though. On Emma's route, sure, you help out the Hua Lian rebels and lead the attack on the Tianlei, so it's not surprising to read the news about the rebel forces steamrolling the government forces. On Alisa's route, though, you kill off several prominent rebel leaders, defend the Tianlei against multiple attacks, and get dropped off in Wuhan. . . then a few missions later, you check the news and find out that the rebels have destroyed the Tianlei and are steamrolling the government forces. It's a little jarring.
  #46  
Old 01-14-2011, 07:09 PM
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Is anyone else still playing this? I've got just a handful of missions left to go, and it's gotten to the point where pretty much every enemy has at least a couple of annoying battle skills equipped. It's ratcheted up the challenge level nicely for the endgame, but I'm a little surprised it's only happening this late in the game.

I did like the mission where you have to rescue the Prime Minister, and instead of bringing your own wanzers, you're required to use whatever vehicles you find in the enemy compound. It was a nice way to shake things up for a mission, and it left me wanting a Front Mission-style game that let you use tanks, helicopters, and other vehicles as part of your core force, in addition to the wanzers. The game already encourages combined-arms tactics (as much as that's possible in a game with a four unit limit, anyway), so why not go all out with it?
  #47  
Old 01-14-2011, 07:19 PM
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I'm still playing through, but I haven't made it much farther than my last post. I'm about 8 hours in on Alisa's path in the middle of sub attack.
  #48  
Old 01-15-2011, 11:29 AM
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I've been playing this on the bus and before I go to sleep for the past two or so weeks now, and I forgot just how much I love this game. I'm not very far, though we're attacking Dagat Ahas or however it's spelled on Alisa's path. I cheated a bit and unlocked that super hard simulation mission, and I've just been grinding weapon ranks there, since each hit is 56-64 exp, and even a miss gets like 26. Not bad for 6 hours into the game.
  #49  
Old 01-18-2011, 09:22 PM
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I've been playing a bit more and I'm up to the Taal Base missions. The first one was a reminder of why I usually stop playing this game before beating it as I "lucked" into two of my wanzers getting taken out on the first turn.

I've been getting ejected a lot too, which has always been an annoyance. Despite the minor battle issues, I still love the game and pretty much everything about it. I'm still at a loss as to why I like FM 3 but 4 and 1 I just can't get into at all. Well, I didn't make it very far in 1 but I think that one was due to most weapons being only usable when you're in an adjacent space to an enemy unit.

I actually laughed when Kazuki gets out of his wanzer to open a supply depot door and when it jams he pulls his sidearm and starts shooting the button.

Edit: Oh and I love that I can speed through cutscenes and dialogue by pressing Start. It takes some of the frustration out of things.
  #50  
Old 01-18-2011, 09:28 PM
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I think I missed my chance to get access to the top-level simulator battles; I guess there's a very limited window of opportunity to get the address to the necessary website. Luckily, I was a little bit more on the ball when it came to getting the Hoshun Mk.112, and I've been having plenty of bad fun with that.

This time around I did find out something interesting about experience gains: apparently, they're based on the discrepancy between the number of active upgrades on your pilot's wanzer and the number of active upgrades on the wanzer they're shooting at. It's possible to game the system somewhat, and increase the amount of weapon experience you get, simply by declining to invest the AP to activate your wanzer's upgrades; I suppose that if you like living dangerously, you could even forgo HP upgrades. It's risky to do that in actual battles, of course, but it's a useful trick for squeezing more experience out of the simulation missions.

One thing that recently occurred to me about the Dahat Agas missions, now that it's been about a million hours since I've played them: if your attack submarine is capable of shooting armor-piercing wanzer-carrying torpedoes into the ship's hull, why can't it just fire torpedoes loaded with plain ol' explosives? I mean, okay, that would be four less missions that game gets to throw at you, but it does seem kind of odd.
  #51  
Old 01-18-2011, 09:48 PM
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One thing that recently occurred to me about the Dahat Agas missions, now that it's been about a million hours since I've played them: if your attack submarine is capable of shooting armor-piercing wanzer-carrying torpedoes into the ship's hull, why can't it just fire torpedoes loaded with plain ol' explosives? I mean, okay, that would be four less missions that game gets to throw at you, but it does seem kind of odd.
I figured since it was such a large ship a single sub wouldn't have enough torpedoes to take it down and attacking straightforward like that would just get the sub demolished by return fire. It's kind of like the trojan horse approach. Put the enemy into a panic and enough of a disarray to keep them off balance and take out their numbers more effectively.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:36 PM
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I have to say, I'm really impressed with how well the CG has held up in this game! It might be because they rarely show people (if at all) but the CG doesn't look nearly as old and antiquated as most other PS1 games (the Resident Evils, the Final Fantasies and the Tekkens jump to mind).
  #53  
Old 01-20-2011, 10:40 PM
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It's been a month, so we have to end this now. Thanks to those who played!
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