The Elite Institute’s ‘impressions’ series are not full reviews of titles. As we pride ourselves on providing in-depth reviews for games that we have beaten or completed, our ‘impressions’ instead focus on providing you with details on the game along with our general thoughts on the title, to help shape your opinion. This means that there will be no score, but we can hopefully give you an idea of the quality.

The reasons for doing an ‘impressions’ rather than a full review vary: perhaps it’s a genre that we don’t feel comfortable reviewing due to gaming tastes, maybe it’s too hard or too bad that we are unable to make it through, or maybe even it’s a game that just doesn’t really have an end goal.

Many thanks to Forever Entertainment for the game code.

Front Mission opens up with our protanist Lloyd Clive and his team investigating a munitions plant. Upon their arrival, they’re ambushed by USN Wanzers (basically a fusion of tank and mech) who promptly kills Lloyds team-mate and fiancée Karen, and blows the joint up before fleeing. This sparks an international incident that escalates into a war known as the 2nd Huffman Conflict.

Fast forward a year and Lloyd has resorted to arena fighting in his Wanzer to earn money after being left understandably scarred by the incident. After his latest fight, he is approached by Colonel Olson of the Canyon Crow’s mercenary unit who wants to recruit him. With the prospect of avenging his fiancée’s death, Lloyd joins them and the real fight begins.

It’s a pretty standard plot, but also a pretty effective one despite all the confusing acronyms being thrown around the place without any care for your understanding. The game also features a much harder second scenario too with an alternate plotline featuring a special forces operative known as Kevin. This scenario came from the later PlayStation release of the game, but fills in some extra story details to give you a fuller understanding of the game’s events. 


For those unfamiliar with the series, Front Mission plays out in a similar vein to that of X-Com. Taking control of a squadron of Wanzers, the goal is to move gradually towards the enemy and wipe them out. Movement range is limited per turn, and the terrain will also affect distance travelled so you need to choose wisely. If you’re within attacking distance of an enemy, you can initiate combat with them where you’ll take turns having a go at each other. You have a choice of short, mid, and long range weaponry so you should choose the best tool for the job. Should you fail to destroy your enemy, you may still end up disabling one of their weapons by damaging one of their arms. It’s purely RNG during the early stages, but later on you can actually choose parts of the Wanzer you wish to target.

Battling earns experience points for your Wanzer, which will allow them to level up and become stronger, and beating a mission earns you cash to buy better stuff and pimp out your mech. There’s quite a fair degree of customisation here too, although I have to admit that I had no clue what most of the weapon stats referred to.

This gameplay loop is effectively what is going to make or break the game for you. With both you and the enemy taking turns to kill each other, it’s a pretty slow-paced affair – especially when you add in frequent lengthy conversations that interrupt the action to add a little bit more unessential story. For those who played the comparatively fast Mario and Rabbids, the action here may slower than you may be expecting. The newly added accessibility options allow you to skip movement and battle animations to help things go a little faster, but it’s only a small help that isn’t going to win over any people who dislike the genre…


… as was the case with me. Whilst I do like strategy games, particularly real-time strategy games, I can’t help but find the incredibly slow pace of turn-based titles to be far too tedious for me. Everything just takes forever to perform and offers far little satisfaction to maintain my interest. Mario and Rabbids is actually what made me willing enough to give Front Mission a fair shot, but this game was only a stark reminder of why I dislike the genre in the first place. This reason is why I ultimately decided no leave this as an unscored impressions rather than giving it a full score. My lack of enjoyment is not due to this specific game, but rather the genre as a whole.

In fact, Front Mission is an extremely good remake that is clearly very faithful to the original. The modern visuals and soundtrack are wonderful and clearly reminiscent of the original whilst looking like a new game. Considering the visuals for their other remakes had a bit more of a mixed reception, the team did a really good job with the game. In addition to all that and the aforementioned accessibility options, there’s also a newly added ‘Modern’ game mode (don’t worry purists, original mode is still there) that tweaks certain things to give the game a modern feeling. Fans of the original or the genre will no doubt love this title.


Front Mission 1st: Remake is probably the team’s best remake yet. Returning fans will no doubt be very happy with this game, but newcomers should be aware that this is still a 1995 Square Enix Turn-based Strategy game at its core, which means that the game is best suited for genre aficionados. Anyone else, may have a tough time dealing with the game’s incredibly slow pacing.

That being said, as with all Impressions, we’ve included some gameplay footage of the early game to give you an idea of what to expect. If it looks interesting to you, then this one may be worth a try!