When Front Mission 1st originally made its way to the west, tactical RPGs weren’t even close to something I was jamming. It turns out that was to my detriment because there was a gem here I wasn’t ready for. Probably because I was 20 and busy playing edgy games like God of War 2. Well, now, after an original Japanese release in 1995 and the western release in 2007, the game has been remastered for Switch in 2023, which is perfect for me.
Front mission drops us into a conflict in Oceania. The two powers are the UCS and the OCU. The OCU goes to investigate a UCS plant when the UCS ambushes them and blows up the plant. A quick accusation that the OCU actually destroyed the plant kicks off the conflict further.
Our protagonist, Royd, is discharged, but as his fiance was killed in that incident, he can’t let it lie and investigates further. The story takes a little while to warm up, but it gets better the further you get in. There are so many plot threads with betrayals that keep you on edge, which is so much more impressive given the original game’s age. There is a second campaign from a different perspective to make your way through, which only adds to the story and is well worth your time.
The gameplay is a pretty traditional turn-based tactical RPG. You control Wanzers, which are just a fancy word for their mechs. You can customise the mechs, which involves essentially rebalancing which stats you want to be the focus. In 1-on-1 combat, the mechs have different body parts that can be hit, which means you can knock out specific parts to limit attacks. Specific attacks are more likely to hit parts or just scatter damage. This is a simple system that adds a lot of value to combat.
Fights can really drag at times, which isn’t too bad of an issue if you are into Japanese tactical RPGs. The only issue is that when you are really getting into the story, the breaks for gameplay can be a pain. It is weird to complain about the game part of a game, but something about the flow didn’t always feel right.
The graphical overhaul is pretty damn good too. It isn’t quite as tidy as a 2023 game, but it looks very good. Especially if you compare it to the original Front Mission. On the TV, it looks a bit more average, but on the Switch, it looks great. You can play in classic mode, which is a great addition, but man, without improvements like moving the camera angle, I switched it back so quickly.
I am so happy to have been able to spend time with Front Mission 1st: Remake. It is an awesome story that is well worth giving others the opportunity to enjoy. The gameplay is fun, it looks great, and it is easily worthy of its release in 2023. I can’t wait to see the sequel make its way here soon.