Front Mission 1st: Remake (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 28.10.2023

Review for Front Mission 1st: Remake on Nintendo Switch

The original Front Missionis a revered Japanese cult classic, widely recognized as a strategic RPG. This innovative game stemmed from the passion of Squaresoft's producer, Hironobu Sakaguchi, who was an avid enthusiast of mecha model building and kit-bashing. This marked a departure from Square's usual RPG offerings, as it shifted the focus from the conventional themes of magical crystals and dragons to a narrative centred around geopolitical intrigue and colossal mecha. Notably, the inclusion of talent like Kow Yokoyama, renowned for works like Venus Warsand Bubblegum Crisis, as the mech designer, and Toshiro Tsuchida, known for the success of Langrisser, taking on game design responsibilities, solidified Front Mission's status as a Super Famicom classic. This remake promises a captivating experience with fresh 3D visuals and quality-of-life enhancements.

Front Mission 1st: Remakefeatures a remarkably mature storyline that was ahead of its time. It immerses players in a geopolitical conflict of the 2090s, where various superpowers make the controversial decision to withdraw from the United Nations, all driven by their aspirations to stake a claim on Huffman Island. This island emerged following a volcanic eruption and became the focal point of international disputes.

The Oceania Cooperative Unit (OCU), composed of nations like Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, and several smaller Pacific nations, finds itself on one side of the conflict. Opposing them is the United States of the New Continent (USN), an entity established in response to the OCU's actions. The USN took swift action in the 2020s to establish territorial control in and around Huffman Island, setting the stage for ongoing tensions.

Huffman Island's unique volcanic genesis endows it with abundant minerals and valuable resources, making it an irresistible prize for the world's political and economic elites. This coveted island becomes the epicentre of a protracted conflict, with soldiers from both sides at its forefront. Front Mission 1st: Remake's narrative revolves around the compelling stories of these soldiers who are either tasked with defending or attempting to conquer Huffman Island.

Screenshot for Front Mission 1st: Remake on Nintendo Switch

Front Mission 1st: Remakeboasts two scenarios, each aligned with either OCU or USN, and each scenario introduces a unique protagonist. In the OCU narrative, players step into the shoes of Royd Clive, embarkingon a relentless quest for vengeance against the unit responsible for the tragic loss of his beloved during a Wanzer exercise. Royd Clive's insatiable thirst for retribution is matched only by his innate mercenary spirit. Rarely does anything faze him, andhis self-destructive disposition paradoxically becomes his most potent asset on the battlefield. In many ways, Royd exudes a personality reminiscent of a character from the Metal Gear Solid franchise due to his well-crafted portrayal.

One notable aspect of Front Mission 1st: Remake's writing is its poor translation that suggests that the development team might not have English as their native language. The dialogue, at times, exhibits awkward flow and questionable word selections, leaving the impression that the text underwent translation from Japanese to Polish before reaching English. This is likely due to the game's developer, Forever Entertainment, being based in Poland. The transformation of the protagonist, from a war hero to a war criminal, serves as a poignant illustration of how the rigours of battle can fundamentally alter a person. This theme of the expendability of soldiers continues in the USN scenario, where players step into the shoes of Kevin Greenfield, a special forces Wanzer pilot.

Kevin's scenario, although somewhat lacking in character development when compared to Royd's, is much harder. Kevin operates as a covert operative executing the USN's covert operations, plunging players into a perilous campaign that borders on a suicide mission. The odds are consistently stacked against the player, creating an environment of formidable challenges at every juncture.

Front Mission 1st: Remakeis a product of its mid-90s origins as a strategy RPG, which brings both commendable elements and certain drawbacks. The game embraces a robust gameplay system while disregarding efforts to streamline the experience. In this instalment, the depth of customization and tinkering optionsseems nearly boundless. The gameplay is rich in variables, introducing a multitude of factors to consider on the battlefield. Each mission teems with possibilities for unforeseen complications, further compounded by a significant randomisation element.

Screenshot for Front Mission 1st: Remake on Nintendo Switch

At the core of Front Mission 1st: Remakelies the destructible Wanzer limbs and a torso. The primary strategy for overcoming enemy Wanzers involves either swiftly destroying their body for a rapid victory or methodically dismembering them to assert control over the battlefield.

Front Mission 1st: Remake'sstrategic approach is to prepare and meticulously specialize in building the party's Wanzer load outs rather than individually targeting specific enemy points. Achieving victory hinges on the careful construction of the units. Becoming acquainted with the game's esoteric symbols and icons,and deciphering the intricacies of these elements becomes a matter of mastering the management of numerical data and statistics.

The most effective strategy is to have each unit heavily specialize in a particular field, tilting the odds in favour of a specific attack type. This approach comes with a trade-off as specialized units tend to be more vulnerable and only excel in particular situations. Opting for more generalized builds provides a safer approach but can prolong battles to the point of tedium. It's worth noting that ranged attacks have limitations and may experience an unusually high rate of misses. There's a gratifying sense of accomplishment when immobilizing an enemy, rendering them unable to retaliate and leaving them stranded at a distance from the main battlefield.

Front Mission 1st: Remake introduces several new features, enhancing the gaming experience. The addition of camera controls allows for a superior view of the battlefield. The original game was confined to a 2D format with an isometric point of view. While this remake includes a mode that replicates the classic angle, the introduction of free camera control significantly enhances the gameplay.

Screenshot for Front Mission 1st: Remake on Nintendo Switch

In the original mode, Wanzers ambled slowly and realistically to their chosen destinations on the map, offering a charming novelty. However, the "modern mode" revolutionizes the pace by having the mechs swiftly dash to their designated positions, eliminating the tedium of leisurely walking. The game offers extensive customisation options for building Wanzers, though it's not as intricate as in later games. This aspect is where the kit-bashing inspiration truly shines, enabling players to mix and match parts and specialise in various statistics tocraft their ideal war machines.

Front Missionon the Super Famicom may not have been a graphical standout, but it possessed a distinct visual charm, featuring rugged pixel art and scanned imagery. In this remake, character portraits receive a freshmakeover, aiming to capture the essence of Yoshitaka Amano's artistic style, but fail to stick to landing.

Front Mission 1st: Remake'supdated 3D graphics are developed using Unity and carry an aesthetic reminiscent of seventh-generation console graphics. The game's environments exude a plastic-like quality, a nod to the inspiration drawn from model kits. Grass and dirt surfaces are polished to a gleaming sheen, offering a unique visual texture. The implementation of an aggressive depth-of-field effect adds to the appeal, creating a visual sensation evocative of a miniature diorama.

Despite the inclusion of quality-of-life features such as animation skipping, engagements in Front Mission 1st: Remakecan extend past 30 minutes. Some gamers might perceive this as laborious.There's a meditative quality in gradually and methodically shifting the tide by chipping away at the enemy forces. The flow of battles retains a nostalgic 16-bit essence, a gesture sure to resonate with fans of the original. Forever Entertainment has demonstrated their prowess in reviving classic titles with updated visuals while preserving the core gameplay.

Screenshot for Front Mission 1st: Remake on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Front Mission 1st: Remake, like its predecessor, caters to a niche audience, and even dedicated strategy RPG enthusiasts may encounter the demanding intricacies in the gameplay. Every aspect of the Wanzers necessitates careful consideration, and resources can deplete rapidly, leading to extended grinding sessions to ensure readiness for impending battles. While Front Mission 1st: Remakeoffers a commendable alternative to the original, some may wonder if a snappier, HD-2D reimagining could have been a more fitting approach. The success of these efforts sets the stage for the reception of more ambitious upcoming entries in the Front Missionseries.

Developer

Square Enix

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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