Front Mission takes place in a futuristic world where wars are fought with piloted mechs called Wanzers. The setting revolves around Huffman Island where a former conflict took place. Royd, conflicted by past actions, finally rejoins the fight via the mercenary group, Canyon Crows, in order to help the O.C.U. army defend the island from the U.S.C. Royd and his merc companions are a bit one dimensional, offering very little personality along with the overall narrative. There are few twists and turns along the way, but don’t expect Citizen Kane out of this political drama.
The game is tactical, strategy RPG much like the recent hit, Fire Emblem: Awakening. Characters pilot Wanzers, which can be customized in variety of ways. For example, Wanzers can be heavily armed tanks, or fast moving melee busters. In battle, Wanzers have four parts: arms, legs, and the body. Parts can be destroyed, which can be a valuable strategy, though if the body is destroyed, the entire mech goes down so it’s sometimes best just to go for that. Aside from the normal SRPG tropes, the deep customization and strategy value of Front Mission is a mech lover’s delight combined with a sleek, addicting, if not super challenging, battle system.
Aside from the obvious inclusion of the split screens, there’s not much to this SNES remake. There are some new characters from the other games along with side missions, but nothing too expansive. The graphics are pinpoint similar to the SNES version, though that’s not to say they don’t hold up. The acclaimed Final fantasy artist, Yoshitaka Amano, drew the beautiful character portraits adding a nice flair. The mech designs and unfathomable amount of parts and weapons they can equip are astounding. It’s too bad the environments are bland, though in a way, it displays the horrors of war. The soundtrack holds up to Square Enix standards reminiscent of Final fantasy VI, but it’s not as grandiose.
Front Mission on the DS is an awesome experience. For strategy fans that love battles more than a story will have a blast. Mech maniacs who value deep customization and a treasure trove of options will have a hard time putting it down as well. Its unfortunate the story and environments are a bit bland, but for the value inside, this classic is definitely worth revisiting.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on June 4, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.