Sadly, I bring bad news, at least with regards to a game called Armored Core: Formula Front. I dropped 5800 yen on this so-called mech strategy game on Sunday, played it for two hours, and have vowed to never play it again.
The Armored Core series has always about two things: (1) realistic, heavy-footed, hands-on mech combat, and (2) the ability to interchange hundreds of parts to make your own robot.
Formula Front delivers on #2 but not on #1. There isn't much of a "game" here at all.
You can fill a garage of three mechs from hundreds of available parts (a few are unlocked throughout the course of playing), pick and choose color schemes for each individual part, and program your pilot's fighting behavior by adjusting six separate sliders. But during the fight, you don't do ANYTHING. You just sit there and watch the two CPU pilots battle. As far as I can tell, adjusting the sliders doesn't influence the outcome much. I didn't touch any settings for the first three matches and won all three.
My friend Hisao and I play six VS matches. Most boring thing ever. Like watching TV. He won four of six by using default cores. I used upgraded cores and my pilot didn't even use the missile pack.
Formula Front isn't a game--it's a mech maker and a battle viewer, but not a game. The graphics are beautiful (check out the PSX Extreme screens), but again, this isn't a game and it's certainly not worth 5800 yen.
Sorry for the bad news.
Ridge Racers is great though. I'm sure Aaron or Arnold or Frank will tell you about that later. My English isn't good enough to rightly describe everything about it.
12/14/2004 Lance Kwok