Front Mission 5 – Brief thoughts on emulation and a preliminary Lets Play

I like giant robots, real or super. I like role-playing games. I like turn based computer games. Unsurprisingly I am a fan of the Front Mission series, a series of turn based strategy rpg’s from Square Enix featuring a world only slightly in advance of our own where mobile armoured frames known as “Wanzers” have become an integral part of armed conflicts. The mecha in the series fall strongly into the “real robot” category, as represented by stuff like VOTOMS, Mobile Police PATLABOR, etc. The series was renowned for its complex storylines dealing with conflict between multiple morally ambiguous political entities and for the depth of its gameplay. Unfortunately the series saw few releases in the west (Front Mission 3 on the PSX, Front Mission 4 on the PS2 and a port of Front Mission for the DS) and the lead developer of the series has since left Square Enix so no new games are likely to be forthcoming. Though there have been a number of fan trasnlastions (some of which are ongoing).

Unsurprisingly the first game I played was Front Mission 3, which is an excellent game, and one which I’ve played on both the PSX and later on the PSP. Though (much like Start Ocean II) I get to roughly the same point somewhere in the middle of the game and then for one reason or another never quite getting around to completing it. I could never really get into FM4, it looked lovely for the time and the gameplay seemed great. But the story (what little I saw of it) and the characters just did not appeal to me. I was really looking forward to FM5 and was sorely disappointed when it never got a port. A few years later I stumbled across the translation project and thought I’d finally get to play the game when the transaltion project was complete. But then the next generation of consoles came around and I just never really got back to it.

A year ago I was reminded of the series and hunted down the (now complete) translation project and patched my ISO and got ready to play it on the PC via the PSXC2 emulator. But at the time the emulator just couldnt run it without either massive graphical artifacts or unplayably slow speed. So I forgot about it again until earlier today when my attempts to get Persona 3:FES up and running on PCSX2 reminded me of it.

Sadly getting it to run acceptably in PCSX2 wasnt much easier than it was a year ago. But a more powerful computer, the latest SVN build and an hour or so of tweaking has brought me too a point where it looks and runs well enough to play. I’m half considering doing a “Lets Play” of it, but they are always much more work than they seem and considering how many half completed ones I have littering this site I wouldnt hold out much hope for it.

Still I really do want to play FM5, the director of the game series has said in interviews that he’s happy with how he ended the series and the fan response to the game is almost universally positive. Might try a video lets play as that seems like it could be easier.

Anyhow, we’ll see what happens, to give you a taste of the world here is the intro for Full Mission 5: Scars of War – subtitled courtesy of the guys behind the fan translation project.

One thought to “Front Mission 5 – Brief thoughts on emulation and a preliminary Lets Play”

  1. I had some trouble getting it up and running too. Sometimes, I would get tons of graphical glitches or slowdowns causing the audio to be all stretched out. Most of the time, switching the video plugin to use software rendering mode (dx9 or dx11) improves it.

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