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The mechanics of Front Mission 3 are a radical departure from Front Mission and Front Mission 2. While it is a tactical role-playing game, there is a stronger emphasis on role-playing elements as opposed to strategic elements in Front Mission 3. The game progresses in a linear manner: watch cut-scene events, complete missions, set up wanzers during intermissions, and sortie for the next mission. The player travels to locations on a world map. As the player progresses through the plot, new locations are revealed on the world map. Towns and cities act as intermission points where the player can organize and set up their units for the upcoming mission. New to Front Mission 3 is the Double Feature Scenario - this allows the player to experience two different scenarios that exist independently of one another within the game's storyline. In other words, the player can play through two stories; while they may share common events and environments, the stories are largely unique and in essence are fully-fledged games. Front Mission 3 missions are traditional tactical RPG fare, ranging from destroying all enemy targets to protecting a certain allied target. Where the game differs significantly from its predecessors lies mainly through a new combat feature - the ability to attack the pilots themselves. During any attack, the pilot can be damaged or forcefully ejected from their machines. The player can also have a pilot eject from their unit to fight on foot, or hijack another machine on the battlefield. The game also changes how skills are learned; instead of gaining experience to improve a pilot's proficiencies, they are now learned by equipping wanzer parts and using them in battle. When certain conditions are met, there is a random chance that a pilot may learn a new skill from one of their wanzer parts, which can be programmed into the wanzer's battle computer. Many gameplay features from Front Mission 2 have also been removed, greatly simplifying the overall structure of mission play. Missions are now much smaller in scale, limiting the amount of strategic options the player can use. There are some returning features from Front Mission 2 that are used for mission play though, namely Action Points (AP) and Links. Action Points (AP) is a feature that dictates how much actions can be done with each unit. Actions such as moving and attacking require a certain amount of AP to use. At the end of a full turn, which is one Player Phase and Enemy Phase, a set amount of AP is replenished. A unit's AP amount value depends on how many combat ranks its pilot has earned; these are earned by destroying enemy units. Links is a unique ability that allows multiple units to provide offensive support to each other during Player Phase battles. Links operates differently in Front Mission 3; a unit's pilot must have a Link-class skill and the appropriate weapons (which also acts as their linked actions) equipped. Once this condition is met, a linked battle will commence if the skill activates. Up to three units can be linked together to form one "link". Other returning features that appear in mission play include mission rankings and mission branching. As in Front Mission Alternative, players are graded on how well or poorly they clear missions. While there are incentives to perform well, the game does not reward the player with new parts or weapons as it did in Alternative. Mission branching returns and now allow players to choose what type of mission to play next. Aside from these, the Network feature from Front Mission 2 returns and is greatly expanded upon. Players can now browse through the pseudo-Internet, send and receive e-mail messages, tinker with online files and wallpapers, or use the new Battle Simulator feature. The Battle Simulator is a game mode where the player can participate in VR training exercises. These drills can be used to increase the fighting proficiencies of the player's pilots and can be taken as many times as needed. Lastly, players can strengthen their parts with the return of the remodeling feature. Through this, the player can augment a wanzer's armor coating (known as "Def-C"), the accuracy of its weapons, increase its jumping power to scale buildings, or equip it with rollers to dash on flat surfaces quickly.
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