A wise man once said “You dig giant robots! I dig giant robots! We dig giant robots!” and nothing exemplifies that statement more than the country of Japan and their love for Mecha. Originally released for the Super Famicom in 1995 and later remade for the PlayStation in 2003 and Nintendo DS in 2007, Front Mission is a tactical RPG centred around the warring nations of the O.C.U and the U.C.S where battles are fought with giant mech suits called Wanzers. Fast forward to 2023 and Front Mission gets another remake with Front Mission 1st: Remake for the Nintendo Switch. Do you have what it takes to make it out of this war alive?
Front Mission 1st: Remake allows you to choose between two different story campaigns, one where you play as Captain Royd Clive of the O.C.U as his recon platoon gets ambushed by the U.C.S, the other has you playing as Lieutenant Kevin Greenfield of the U.C.S which is meant for more experienced players who are familiar with Front Mission’s gameplay. With this, players are able to experience the story of the war from both sides of the conflict.
A nice touch I always appreciate in remakes is the ability to choose between the classic and modern styles. Classic style has both the gameplay and visuals look more akin to the original Super Famicom style though a little touched up for modern standards, while Modern style adds 3D graphics and a User Interface more akin to modern tactics games like the newer XCOM or Fire Emblem titles.
Front Mission 1st: Remake’s best and most in depth features is its mech customisation. You can mix and match different chassis, legs, arms, guns and shoulder mounted weapons to your heart's content and once you’re done with that, you can paint and name your mechs. Each pilot specialises in different aspects of combat and finding the right parts to synergise with their skills is so satisfying.
- Multiple story campaigns
- Classic and modern gameplay modes
- Fleshed out mech customisation
Front Mission 1st: Remake lets you know that you’re playing a remade Super Famicom game by not letting up on its difficulty. The main reason for this is that each mech has four separate health bars, one for each arm, one for the legs and one for the torso, and a unit is defeated once the torso’s health is depleted. The thing is that attacks target random parts of the body which can cause fights to last for a long time or you could just get very unlucky and have your protagonist take two missiles directly to the torso and be forced to restart the mission. That being said, some characters can learn to specifically target certain body parts but you have to get pretty far in the game before you get that ability. On top of that, Front Mission 1st: Remake doesn’t factor in environmental bonuses, unit defences, and more into attack previews and will only display a weapon’s base damage and accuracy so attacks can feel more like a crapshoot rather than a calculated move.
Lastly, even though this is a remake, Front Mission 1st: Remake still feels like a game from 1995 in some aspects. A lot of the game outside of combat is navigating menus over a pre-rendered background image which is fine but definitely shows its age. Another thing is that if you need a specific loadout for your units for a mission, then you have to go all the way out and go back to a city to do so, only to then come back. It would’ve been nice to be able to modify loadouts before combat.
- Brutal difficulty
- Heavily RNG reliant
- Very little quality of life updates
Final Score: 6/10
While Front Mission 1st: Remake is a fun game, it shows its age. I do recommend picking this game up if you’re a fan of tactical RPGs or mecha but personally, I’m hoping they’ll improve upon this formula in the announced remakes of Front Mission 2 and 3.
Thank you for checking out our Front Mission 1st: Remake Switch review, thank you to Microids (via PLAION PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: