Fossil Fighters: Frontier is simply a good introductory RPG packed to the brim with dinosaurs – and that may be just what the young gamer in your life will want soon, when the dino-craze takes over once more. [Issue #15; May/June 2015, p.76]
As a lighthearted Pokémon wannabe with some interesting twists, Fossil Fighters Frontier is not a bad game. But with a well designed structure and lots of things to do, Red Entertainment and Chunsoft have not managed to exclude repetitiveness and boredom from the formula.
Fossil Fighters Frontier certainly has abundant contents that results in countless hours, unfortunately, the repetitive and boring gameplay combined with almost no motivation for the player to return, will cause many of these contents remain buried as fossils in a game full of potential with a lot of errors in execution.
For a game that is clearly geared towards children, the difficulty spikes and grind in the later part of the game didn't really make sense, nor did teaching kids to win their battles with what equates to a mean steroid habit.
I bought this game for my kid and he seems to enjoy it. He spends hours playing and doesn't talk about anything else than dinosaurs. This game must be doing something right. What makes the kid happy, makes me happy. So 7/10.
The past two games have been great, with the sequel capitalizing on the first ones mistakes while improving everything else. Champions was the best game no doubt. Played it for hours. So you'd imagine I was quite excited for another sequel, which I was. Then I got the game. Boy, was it a disappointment.
Don't get me wrong, the game is a bit fun. It's something to do when there's nothing else to do. But if you can do something else, you should. Heck, i'll replay Champions (did I mention it's a great game?) before going back to this. They removed some of the most interesting aspects: fossil types, SUPER REVIVAL (very disappointing change), and they changed the entire format of battle. Before it was a strategic 3 on 3 with your Vivosaurs (your fighters) against theirs. You switched places in battle to give your Vivosaurs advantages and disadvantage theirs with smart moves, like a game of Chess. What does Nintendo do? They took all strategy away from it. Now it's strictly: "w0w. my v1v0saur is strong there. cool". They took all power out of your hands and put it into the game.
This is coming from an experienced player. If you're new to this series, you can give this a go and chances are, you won't be as salty as I am. But seriously, just play Champions instead.
As many others that bought this game, I was a big fan of the first two Fossil Fighters games. If you're coming into the game as an outsider with no prior Fossil Fighters experience, I have no idea how this plays. Maybe mediocre, but not terrible. But this is a very bad Fossil Fighters game, and if you liked the first two, don't expect more of the same from this one.
Immediately concerning to anyone who has played the previous 2 games is the fact that the development of FFF was outsourced to Spike Chunsoft, whereas in the past the games were developed through a 4-way collaboration between Nintendo SPD, RED Ent., Artdink, and M2. While RED Ent. still provided "assistance" in the development, the bulk of the game was developed by people that had no hand in the original games. And it shows, because FFF features the removal of many core gameplay mechanics that defined the Fossil Fighters games prior.
First off, the new battle system simply blows. The idea of a 'sequel' game is generally to update and improve core mechanics, which is exactly what Champions did when it built upon the original FF. FFF comes in and removes the 3-member team-based gameplay, forcing you to team up with AI fighters that you cannot control or coordinate with. The updated fighting system relies not on strategy and teambuilding, but more on luck and grinding to get your one good vivosaur to be even better. Support effects are gone. Zoning is not controllable. Others have dug into this flawed system more in other reviews, and I can't be bothered to pick it up again to give a more detailed review - just know it's fundamentally different and not as fun.
Elemental advantages are inexplicably scrambled in this game, breaking away from the well-established elemental pentagon that fans of FF and FFC would be familiar with. Improvements made in FFC such as Super Revival are removed. Nearly all vivosaurs that survived the cuts and made it into this game feature drastic redesigns, some for the better but some most definitely for the worse. The models look underwhelming, strangely slimy in texture, and ultimately bland, somehow outdone by their cartoony, low-poly predecessors in FF and FFC.
I don't have much to say about the characters. Character design was alright in this game, but I felt no attachment to anyone. It didn't help that I was forced to work with most of the characters in a frustrating and unsatisfying battle system. Many recurring characters from past games are mysteriously absent, like this game takes place in an alternate universe.
Cleaning fossils is a nightmare and much more frustrating than it ever was in FF/FFC. They expect you to use the 3D options on the 3DS during this part but it just makes the process even more confusing and hard to navigate. There isn't enough colour OR texture contrast between the outer shell of the rock and the inner shell of it, so you end up drilling right through fossil if you aren't careful, and you'll be lucky to end up with a score above 70. I found cleaning fossils to be an unrewarding slog in FFF, which is a bad sign if it's one of your core gameplay hooks.
The addition of Bone Buggies in combination with the choice to add in roaming vivosaurs (who revived them?) rather than other fighters as environmental obstacles leads one to believe that the developers were much larger fans of Jurassic Park than they ever were of Fossil Fighters. I did not enjoy the switch from roaming fossil grounds on foot and digging them up yourself to a hard-to-control bone buggy that felt more like it belonged in a racing game than a game about exploring the wilderness and finding dinosaur fossils. Having to spend money on upgrades to your CAR in a game about reviving dinosaurs feels so unnecessary and tedious.
Overall, I find this game a strange and baffling example of a corporate cash grab. Excluding 75% of the original developers from the making of this game, changing so many core gameplay components, and slapping the Fossil Fighters name on it feels so transparent. The whole game lacks the campy charm of the original 2 and is just plain boring. I'm tempted to say they must have been planning for this to be a generic, unrelated game about fighting dinosaurs in your little Jurassic Park-style buggies but saw that they already had a moderately performing dinosaur game series and clumsily plonked it into the franchise instead.
Even the theme song used in both FF and FFC has been replaced by something more generic, a strange choice that makes FFF feel even more disconnected from the past two games.
I have a combined 150+ hours in FF and FFC. I couldn't even finish this game if I tried -- I gave it 6 hours and dropped it. It's not worth your time unless you didn't like FF or FFC very much and still want to try another Fossil Fighters game for some reason.
SummaryUnearth extreme adventure!
The latest game in the Fossil Fighters series delivers a first: Players can now hop into their vehicles and drive around exotic locations to excavate fossils, which transform into real-life dinosaurs known as Vivosaurs. Players battle their Vivosaur with wild Vivosaurs they encounter on digging adventures.