I signed up for that thing where Square-Enix will send you a demo disc of Front Mission 4 a month or two ago and, who knows, it could be on the way. What I do know is that I got impatient, so I picked up a recent issue of Official Playstation Magazine, demo disc featuring Front Mission 4 included.
Just when I was starting to think that Square might have started to go downhill with the addition of that "-Enix" to their name, this game came along and rocked the shit right out of my ass. What can I say? I love giant, badass, gun-toting robots and I love turn based combat even more. This game is firmly rooted in the older-school, grid-style strategic tradition; alongside your Final Fantasy Tactics and what-nots of the world. However, not everything is from the tried and true book of the old-school. Grid-based combat has probably never had quite as much snazz as is presented here, with the camera closing in on the wanzers(giant robots) right before the inevitable exchange of gunplay in a very cinematic fashion. The game's not out yet, and I haven't played any of the other games in the Front Mission series, but it seems like if the robots are customizable enough for my liking, this is a game I'm sure to pick up.
Also on the same demo disc was a game I've only started to hear about recently, Future Tactics: The Uprising. This is also a turn based affair, except instead of the chess-like placement of units on a grid this game gives you some pseudo-freedom-of-movement by allowing you to guide your selected character around, platformer style, until you find a spot suited to your liking. The same approach is used for aiming and, while it does throw a change-up into the pace of gameplay, it's also quite a pain in the ass to even see where an enemy unit is unless you've already spotted them out in the first-person view. It's got a cartoony atmosphere and some bad voice acting, which is not to say that Front Mission 4 doesn't. When it comes to goofy voice acting of the week award, it's a toss up between FM4's stereotypical Italian and FT: TU's stereotypical British accents. Future Tactics is out in stores, and although it hasn't got the greatest reviews, it seems to be a pretty enjoyable title that I may end up adding to my collection.
By the way, next week I'm finally going the way of the cow into the slaughterhouse(OK, I guess that's a bit dramatic) and signing my soul over to the broadband demons. While this means that I will spend my afterlife eating naught but burning hot coals and drinking naught but burning hot cola, it also means I get to play Far Cry online for the first time, and not have to deal with the horrible lag issues with Call Of Duty. Another nice side effect is that I'll be able to download new games and mods a whole lot faster, meaning more reading enjoyment for you: the reader.