Full Metal Panic Game Review: Made Me Watch the Anime

 

Full Metal Panic comes to us in a form of a videogame this time around with an attached name of “Fight! Who Dares Wins.” Coming from Bandai-Namco Entertainment, it’s no surprise that we’re getting an anime series that involves giant robots an SRW-ish adaptation.

You take on the role of the anime’s protagonist, Sousuke Sagara, and basically play through the anime series’ events, including the currently running one. And well, if that doesn’t sound very interesting to you already, that might be a problem if you were thinking of picking up this game. I for one, know only that it exists and not much after, so perhaps it gave me more than I expected to chew on and stuck on for much longer than I thought, so let’s see what I found.

Production (2 / 5)

I wondered a lot about why they decided with the Super Robot Wars (SRW) format when I first looked at the game when it clearly didn’t have to go that route. Well, that is until I found out that BB Studio was the main developer behind it. I mean it makes sense that they’d make an SRW-esque game but I don’t really agree that they would be the ones who can really make a good game out of Full Metal Panic.

So here we are, with super-deformed giant robots moving on a giant chess-board. The UI attempts to look minimalistic but instead ends up looking quite cheap. In fact there’s quite a bit of stuff I missed out on because I didn’t quite understand with what the interface was showing me until later on, which is a bit of a shame.

Story is progressed with visual novel style cutscenes and some CG drawn from the anime as they run the same story. Not very interesting but the fully voiced dialogues are appreciated. Perhaps the most visually interesting attacks would be the ones that require high morale like how it usually is in these kinds of titles. But with models that fail to impress and effects that look pretty basic, it’s not really saying much.

Mechanics (2.5 / 5)

What I immediately recognized in once I started playing would be the existence of HP not only for the robot itself, but also for the head, arms and legs of each mech. Destroying each part drastically reduces the capabilities of the robot. Head affects aim, arms affect attack power, and legs affect evasion and movement. With that I found myself aiming for multiple robot heads when dealing with being constantly vastly outnumbered, which worked well for me until I levelled everyone up too much and just powered through so much of the story.

Another part that would be different from the usual SRW format would be the unit-based turn system. Meaning instead of each force moving all their units at the same time, each unit will have their own turn based on stats and what they previously did during their turn. This made me look at the screen constantly instead of generally going afk and spamming the skip button during enemy turns, so maybe it made it more engaging in some sense.

And finally there’s the customization system for both pilots and mechs. There’s not much to say for customization as it’s generally buffing up the stats if you have the money and pilot skills are learned per pilot, but for some reason they share skill points but they gain levels separately. Maybe it’s a way to let under levelled pilots catch up as a good chunk of the skills simply directly increase stat points, but I wish this was explained to me a little better.

So you’d think this’ll make you want to grind and customize each of your four pilots and their matching mechs to maximize their potential, yeah? Well, it’s not really necessary. Once you get through to a certain point of a story with almost no grinding, your protagonist can just power through most of the game without so much as  breaking a sweat. So in case you were dreading the idea of the grind, there’s that.

Content (3 / 5)

To match the series of Invisible Victory, the game runs 26 story missions and 4 repeatable missions in case you wanted to grind. Each of the repeatable missions even have an alternate scenario where you can fight even more enemies to help you farm.

The story pretty much follows how the anime, so you can go ahead and spoil yourself of the anime’s story because so far their story matches. Except for maybe a few minor details.

It also includes a few extra scenarios you can access one your NG+

 

Features (1.5 / 5)

As I previously said, the title features a NG+ where you get to carry over some of the progress you’ve made with your previous playthrough. You also have a CG gallery for you to be able to review the big story moments in their still-frame format. Yes, we can say it’s not really much.

 

Verdict

I don’t think anyone would be surprised if I were to say the game was obviously made to market the anime. Because for me, it worked. Having not watched the series, I got really curious as to how the story would pan out in the original way it should be shown in. And I found the anime decent enough to sate my mecha combat action needs for the season. It also got me engaged when they teased the idea of Front Mission mechanics but in the end made me miss the said title instead.

I’d be hard pressed to recommend it to anyone, but if you wanted to see what Super Robot Wars could be like, or ever wondered what Front Mission is similar to, maybe give it a try. At the very least, it’s easier to learn than what’s commonly in this genre.

Full Metal Panic: Fight! Who Dares Wins! Might have a hard time seeing victory, scoring a 2.3 / 5.

Available on the PlayStation 4.

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