It has been a very exciting time for Switch owners, with many classic games being remade for the 21st-century system. We’ve already seen the release of Advance Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp, and now strategy fans can also play Front Mission 1st: Remake.
Front Mission was originally released exclusively in Japan in 1995 for the Super Famicom. It was later ported to the PSOne and Nintendo DS, although those re-releases only came out in Japan and North America. It was not until the release of Front Mission 1st: Remake for the Nintendo Switch that the game finally became available worldwide.
As the name of the game suggests, this new release is a remake and not a remaster, so the game looks and plays like it should in 2023. The game is finally rendered in HD, and it also features improved modern controls to make the game more accessible to all players of any skill level.
The graphics are probably the biggest change for those that got a chance to play the original versions of the game. The 3D character models look cool as each mech (or Wanzer) is unique and plays differently. The diverse locations set in the year 2090 also look great, both in handheld or docked modes.
As for its story, Front Mission 1st: Remake kind of starts off on a sour note for the main character named Clive. He and his team are then ambushed by the rival U.C.S Wanzers. The sad part of the story is that Clive’s fiancée Karen is seemingly killed by the U.C.S, and Clive seeks to find out those responsible for her disappearance.
Since this is a strategy game at heart, Front Mission 1st: Remake retains the old-school turn-based combat system that the series is renowned for. This is unlike Square Enix’s Final Fantasy VII Remake, where the combat has been totally revamped from the ground up. Old-school fans don’t have to worry about the combat being too action-orientated.
The core gameplay allows you to control your Wanzers one at a time for each turn. You can have up to six or nine Wanzers on the battlefield, although sometimes you can be outnumbered by the enemy since you cannot always get an easy victory.
Unlike Advanced Wars 1+2: Reboot Camp, the levels in Front Mission 1st: Remake are much bigger and have more diverse terrain. You are also not positioned in the same area all of the time, as you could be put in the middle of the map, completely surrounded by the enemies.
In this game, you also don’t have to worry about capturing areas or caring for a home base. The only way to lose in this game is if the enemy kills off all of your remaining Wanzers. Unfortunately, if this happens to you during any of the campaign missions, you will have to restart the mission.
In terms of gameplay, Front Mission 1st: Remake is easy to learn, although it can be hard to master. At the start of the game, things can be easy because the enemy Wanzers are pretty weak, and your weapons can kill them with ease.
To play this game, you can move one unit at a time. If you are able to get close to an enemy, only then do you have the opportunity to attack them. Players have the option to assign up to four weapons to each of their Wanzers. Two weapons are assigned to the hands, while the other two can be equipped on the shoulders.
One unique aspect of this game is that you can sometimes counterattack enemies when it’s their turn to attack. For example, an enemy can shoot you with a machine gun, but then you can counterattack them on the same turn by punching them. This type of thing doesn’t happen on every encounter, but it’s still a nice way to try and deplete their armour’s health.
Another cool thing is that if you damage their hands, they will drop any weapons that they are currently wielding. That being said, the main goal is to always try and damage their body parts, as this is the central area that will make them explode.
The only annoying thing about this game’s combat is that you can frequently miss your attacks. Even if you are in very close proximity to an enemy unit, you can still miss something as simple as a punch or even a short-range machine gun shot.
Missing targets happens so frequently in this game that it generally made me mad. I understand long-ranged shots shouldn’t be 100% accurate all of the time, but a close-ranged punch shouldn’t miss their targets.
Another thing that might annoy some gamers is that the game can sometimes be difficult the further you progress. If you don’t equip the right type of weapons or armour, the enemy AI can easily steamroll over your entire team. Not to mention you can lose a lot of money if you need to repair any fallen Wanzers in a mission.
Even though missing targets is annoying, the majority of my experience with Front Mission 1st: Remake is a positive one. The gameplay is mostly fun, and the graphics are far better than what the original games offered. It’s worth picking this game up if you are a fan of the strategy genre.