If you were an anime fan at the turn of the century, you might have grown up with the Full Metal Panic! series. Known for its romance, comedic scenes and mech-combat sequences, the hit anime series ran for 3 seasons, from 2002 to 2005, but more recently, the fourth season, Invisible Victory, concluded in 2018. The PlayStation 4 exclusive, Full Metal Panic! Fight! Who Dares Wins, bridges the narrative gap between the 3rd and 4th season. The game features all the main characters from the anime, such as Sousuke, Chidori, Tessa, Mao, and Kurz, and also introduces some new ones.
Although Full Metal Panic! has appeared in games such as Super Robot Wars and Another Century’s Episode, this is the first game that features Full Metal Panic! as a standalone title. The game takes a lot of inspiration from mecha games such as Super Robot Wars, where mech units take turns to move and shoot at each other. Although the game features 3D models, the battle animations are done in anime style and can be quite dull. Most times, the combat animation shows the player’s mech firing a gun, and the enemy mech firing back. This seem to be a step down from animations in Super Robot Wars, where attack animations are more stylized and dramatic. The A.I. for the game seems quite unpolished as enemy units sometimes get stuck when they are around both obstacles, and other friendly mechs.
Similar to Super Robot Wars, the player can level up pilots, teach them new skills and upgrade the mechs outside combat. A tip is not to worry about spending in-game money to upgrading a mech which would be updated later on, as the upgrades will carry over to the new one. There are some nifty features of the game, where you can customize the weapon load out of the game, or target to destroy certain mech parts in the game. Most of the time, you would aim at the mech’s body, as its the only part to destroy to defeat that mech.
Although gameplay can be a bit dull at times, the highlight of the game would be the game’s storyline. The majority of the voice acting was done by the same voice actors from the anime, giving the game an authentic touch. The storyline of the game can be very intriguing, with many surprises and plot twists.
However, it takes a bit of patience to go through all of the 26 missions of the game. Alas, this is a old school grinding game – if you are stuck in a mission due to the enemies pilots being too high level, the solution is to repeatedly play the side missions, and “grind” for enough experience points and resources to upgrade your pilots’ mechs, to be powerful enough to clear the current stage.
All in all, this game is still a must play for die-hard fans of the Full Metal Panic! series to catch up on the storyline. Retailing at S$79.90, the game might feel a bit pricey for the amount of content in it. Aside from its story campaign, the game motivates players to replay the game to unlock all 3 alternate endings and many gorgeous art stills.
GEEK REVIEW SCORE
This game is a good way to catch up with the Full Metal Panic!‘s story before you embark on watching the 4th season. Gameplay requires patience and can be repetitive, but the story makes the game worth playing.