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I've seen and heard a lot from gamers who are simply "fed up" with Square Enix and its mainstream, all-style-and-no-content games. If you're one of those people, maybe you'll take solace in this Square classic that was never-before released in English. This game brings both style and content to the table. It doesn't pretend to be anything greater than it is: it's a very straightforward Strategy RPG. But once you start playing, I suspect you'll see what makes this game so special. Do yourself a favor and pick up this lesser-known title. Hey, maybe with enough sales, Square Enix will take the hint and release Front Mission 5 in North America as well.
While it’s certainly not for everyone, Front Mission provides awesome tactical combat and enough customization options to keep even the most hardcore gamers busy. Easily recommended for those who have destroyed Advance Wars and want something with a little more meat on its bones.
I am personally becoming a huge fan of these "Retro" classics becoming popular again. Sure you can argue that it is a cheap port to bring in more revenue, and hey I thought that for a second as well. But, actually it is great way to go back and enjoy some great classics and fall in love with a series all over again.
For fans of the strategy genre, this is your definitive game on the DS; go and pick this game up without a second thought. For those not so enamored with strategy games, this game is worth at least one rental, but beware of the game's length and complexity. Front Mission may not seem like much, but looks are deceiving, because this game has a lot to offer for those who enjoy strategy games. Mature, involved games like Front Mission don't appear every day on Nintendo's handheld.
Front Mission is a good game, but a bit dated. If you enjoyed FM3 and FM4, then seeing how everything got started should be a treat. For everybody else, take a chance on it. It's got giant mechs, explosions, and two campaigns. There's enough here to keep players busy, and Square knows how to put out a good product.
The ability to customize your bots for strategic attacks is one of the best parts of game, and certainly adds to the depth and replayability. Each mech has a body, legs, right and left arm. Each part has its' own health meter and you can attack each section individually - and outfit your mechs with weapons and armor to take advantage of that fact. This leads to many strategic opportunities in terms of how you plan for attack and defense on the various missions. The DS port is very nicely done - the graphics translated nicely and the menus and character dialogs are easy to navigate and understand. The plot does a reasonable job of carrying the game - but this isn't a strategy-RPG: the focus is on the combat system, which holds up just fine. There are many hours of solid strategy gaming here for fans of the genre.
Game industry News (GiN)
Overall, Front Mission is a fun RPG that requires a good deal of strategy to win missions, resulting in missions that don’t get boring or too repetitive. With an entire second campaign to can be played as a USN squadron leader, Front Mission is a big game for the handheld console.
The handheld strategy game wars will be heating up very soon. Panzer Tactics DS is set to ship within weeks and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin will hit early next year. In the meantime, Front Mission is already out. If you're a fan of the series, you know what to expect: lots of micromanagement and lots of giant robots. If you're new to the franchise and don't mind spending some quality hours shopping for mech legs, shields, and shoulder-mounted missile launchers, you'll have a game that'll keep you busy for a long time.
Front Mission isn’t a game for the average DS gamer. It’s classically rooted, expects a ton from the player, and is very deep and involved from front to back. Battles can push on well over the hour mark, with one bad move or wasted attack making all the difference in the world. It comes with the territory though, as Front Mission is about as pure of a port as you could want from a game over a decade old, complete with the same classic pixel art, musical composition, story, and content as before. DS players will get a basic local multiplayer mode as well, which lets you pit team against team in one-on-one battles, but unfortunately allows for no online play. If you’re in it only for the multiplayer, skip on this one. If you’re a diehard tactical gamer, however, Front Mission will offer you more options, more depth, and more overall customization than any of its competitors on DS, with a level of detail, strategy, and maturity that isn’t often found on Nintendo’s handheld.
Once you get into the rhythm of it, the back-and-forth between combat and outfitting gives Front Mission an enjoyable pace. There is a caveat, though: Trying to pound through multiple missions in any one sitting puts a significant damper on your enjoyment. The methodical combat starts to feel repetitive and the Wanzer-building element plays best when taken leisurely. It also helps to set your expectations based on what this is -- a remake of an old game. While touch screen controls have been added, the basic buttons work much better than trying to pick tiny little spots with the stylus, and multiplayer only supports 1-on-1 local play -- no online play despite how welcome it would be. None of this, though, prevents Front Mission from delivering a welcome return for fans and a great place for newcomers to try out a game whose name they recognize and have always wondered about.
Cheat Code Central
Front Mission's two main campaigns are excellent, but there's not much else here in terms of extras which is slightly disappointing. The arena is only useful for earning extra cash in the main game. The local multi-player duel mode stinks since it's basically the same as the arena only with two players rather than a full turn-based map battle mode - which would have done wonders to ramp up the fun factor. When it comes to gameplay, Front Mission excels at turn-based robotic combat. If you don't get tripped up by the depressing visuals and mind-numbing stat management, there are many hours of enjoyment to be gained from this package.
Despite all the great things Front Mission has to offer, it's hard to recommend this game to just anybody. Sure, the game is long, and there's a lot to do, but that doesn't mean it's actually an experience everybody can enjoy. Front Mission is a novelty compared to most other strategy games, and the stories in both campaigns are pretty deep. It's as simple as this, Front Mission is an incredible bargain for strategy enthusiasts with its 60+ hours of gameplay; if you're not crazy about strategy games or you're just a simpleton, don't bother.
Front Mission is arguably the best SRPG currently available on the Nintendo DS. The battle system is solid, the story is great, and the depth of the customization adds a huge amount of playability to the game. Players that don’t like the thought of hours of reconfiguring mechs to make the best possible killing machine may want to look elsewhere, but those who enjoy a solid SRPG with some great options are bound for a treat.
While Front Mission definitely has fantastic depth and replay value, it's not for everyone. This is a repackaging of two old games and sometimes they really just feel old. Outside of outfitting the game for the DS, there aren't any modernizations that help the game appeal to today's players. All that said, if you know you're getting into a heady, deliberate, and involved game then you'll be rewarded well by Front Mission.
Game Informer Magazine
As a Front Mission fan, there’s not much to complain about in this DS remake of the original game – it’s an absolutely solid, faithful port with decent controls. As a strategy/RPG enthusiast, however, the archaic design pales in comparison with recent efforts. The various interlocking systems (pilot experience, wanzer customization, and grid-based combat) work well together, but are extremely simplistic by today’s standards. It’s entertaining enough to plow through the two campaigns, but the fact that there are fairly clear-cut optimal solutions to all three facets of gameplay makes this nothing more than a mildly enjoyable look at part of the genre’s history.
If you stick with the game, you'll wade through a lot of stats and spend a good amount of time in the shop fixing up your wanzer for optimal performance. If that sounds exciting, you'll probably enjoy Front Mission.
And that's Front Mission on the DS: essentially the same game that didn't come out over here on the SNES 12 years ago. Except better, and with more content, and with easy touchscreen navigation of menus. It's not as sophisticated as more recent Front Mission games, but since most people in Europe won't have played too many of those, that doesn't matter so much. More problematic is the amount of effort that players will have to put in before they're able to take any pleasure from the game. But, then, that's why it's so good. And that's why it's still relevant today, and more than just a historical curiosity.
Pocket Gamer UK
As an introduction to tactical role-playing, then, this can't be beaten. The simplicity of its combat system and involved equipment customisation make it easy to enjoy, and only limits on its tactical depth prevent the game from hitting jackpot. Front Mission deals a decent hand; it's just not the best in the crowded tactical role-playing genre.
Even after 12 years, Front Mission is a good game, and if you’re a fan of turn-based strategy games, it would be a great addition to your DS library. It’s a tough game, with complicated battle mechanics, but with a rich story and detailed customisation, it offers hours of entertainment.
Digital Entertainment News (den)
Front Mission makes for a somewhat mediocre SRPG when put up against other titles on the market. The battles don’t require too much thought, and as a result the game gets repetitious very quickly. Plus, the excessively brown color palette and tiny cartoony mechs aren’t doing the game any favors. I’d say to pass on this title unless you’re a big fan of the series.
If you loved Front Mission in the past, or are just a big fan of the tactical RPG genre, or can’t get enough of stomping badguys with your giant titanium feet, then this is the right game for you. Otherwise, you might want to give this one a pass, and leave your Wanzer alone.
Front Mission is available in stores now and carries a higher price tag than most titles, which for this series is a bitter pill to swallow since the game uses dated graphics and has not really done anything to improve upon the twelve year old experience. I suppose if you think about it, if this did come back in 1995 then the game would have been a seventy five dollar entry kind of along the lines of the original Street Fighter. Still if you can get past the old school gameplay and graphics you’ll find a strategy RPG with a deep battle system, even if everything else is less than spectacular.