Live A Live Review: Classic RPG saves its best moments for last | Digital Trends

    “Live A Live is a high-effort remake from the presentation side, though the base game remains an uneven RPG experience.”


    Fun battle system

    Unique character tales

    Gorgeous HD-2D visuals

    Excellent music


    Takes some time to get going

    Frustrating issue spikes

    Some weak chapters

    The authentic Live A Live launched on the SNES in 1994 however by no means left Japan … till now. A brand new 2D-HD remake, launched solely on Nintendo Switch, brings the influential RPG to the West for the primary time ever. With a solid of various characters, the sport tells eight separate tales earlier than bringing all of them collectively. When it first launched, this storytelling construction was forward of its time.
    Each of the characters in Live A Live occupies a sure setting and cut-off date, comparable to Pogo within the prehistoric instances when speech was nonetheless primitive, and Cube within the distant future the place area commerce is the norm. Each chapter that includes a personality has a novel gimmick, such because the Edo interval Shinobi’s being a full-fledged dungeon crawler, and the close to future Akira’s having an overworld to roam round in just like traditional JRPGs like Final Fantasy.
    Live A Live’s best asset although, is its enjoyable turn-based battle system. But like its slow-building story, that system takes too lengthy to succeed in its full potential.
    Octopath vacationers
    Live A Live lets gamers choose any character’s story from a menu display screen to dive into. Once a personality’s story has concluded, gamers come again to the menu display screen to select one other. Thankfully, you possibly can change between completely different chapters any time you would like as properly.
    Some of its chapters particularly stand out.

    The recreation does an incredible job of presenting completely different mechanics in every chapter to combine up the gameplay. Some of its chapters particularly stand out. Masaru Takaharu’s story is an extremely enjoyable one, as he competes in a worldwide event to change into the world’s strongest fighter. His gameplay is about up like a traditional preventing recreation, just like Virtua Fighter. Here, Masaru can choose his opponents from a fighter choose display screen and even study his opponent’s strikes and retain them for future use. These ingenious mechanics make the chapter really feel completely distinct from the remainder of the tales.
    While a lot of the chapters are pleasurable, some miss the mark. I discovered the Wild West chapter boring, with its character Sundown underdeveloped. His chapter’s mechanic of organising traps isn’t too robust a hook. On prime of that, the chapter itself is brief, failing to totally develop the system.

    The overarching narrative that brings all of the characters collectively after finishing their particular person tales isn’t all that spectacular. It’s a regular plot of banding collectively to defeat an enormous evil dangerous man that strayed away to the darkish aspect. However, the ultimate chapter can be the place the actual enjoyable begins.
    You can decide a lead character to enter the ultimate chapter, after which discover the remainder of the solid as they’re scattered throughout the realm. This permits you to customise your individual get together together with your favourite characters. The closing chapter is crammed with further dungeons and end-game tools with the intention to put together to tackle the ultimate boss. It’s right here the place the battle system actually comes collectively as gamers achieve entry to all of the characters and methods without delay. It’s only a disgrace the RPG saves its finest moments for final.
    Prepare for battle
    The battle system makes use of a turn-based construction on a grid. Both allies and enemies every have a Charge gauge, and when a unit’s gauge fills up fully, it may well carry out an assault. The Charge Gauge will increase by any kind of motion, even merely transferring throughout the battlefield. Additionally, every character learns completely different abilities as they degree up, with end-game abilities being notably flashy and highly effective.
    The battle system doesn’t attain its full potential till the tip recreation.

    The HD-2D remake facet of Live A Live particularly shines right here, as these end-game abilities look completely stunning. Akira can summon an enormous Angel to harm enemies and buff his allies, whereas the Shinobi can hurl blades of darkness, slicing all of his enemies to items. The artwork path makes each a kind of assaults look and feel impactful.
    Live A Live’s music is improbable as properly. The boss theme, Megalomania, precisely displays the entire bosses’ gargantuan sizes and the depth of dealing with them down. In explicit, Akira’s and Masaru’s regular encounter themes stand out due to their energetic guitar riffs.
    However, there are some inconsistent issue spikes alongside the way in which to the ultimate chapter. Some characters have a a lot simpler time preventing their respective bosses as a result of they’ve simpler entry to therapeutic objects and strikes than different characters. For instance, I discovered the shifu’s boss to be tough as a result of it was a solo combat, and my character’s injury output was low, together with the truth that I saved getting KO’d in 3-4 hits.

    On the opposite aspect of the spectrum, the Prehistory boss was a lot simpler to take care of because of the story offering a full roster of 4 characters in battle, one being a healer. That’s why a number of the chapters could be irritating: The battle system doesn’t attain its full potential till the tip recreation. When you’ve entry to the entire characters within the closing chapter, it immediately turns into rather more enjoyable as you don’t have to fret about not having a healer.
    Getting a facelift
    Live A Live’s general presentation going from the SNES to the Nintendo Switch is staggering. The graphics retain their authentic retro allure and the 3D particle results that encompass assaults distinction properly with the 2D sprites. The aforementioned strongest assaults within the recreation look completely beautiful and the instrumentation within the re-recorded tracks sounds clearer than ever.
    Live A Live is a high-effort remake that provides rather more than you’d get from a fan translation.

    There was nice care in overhauling the person interface as properly. The motion menus that pop up throughout battle when deciding on assaults or selecting objects look trendy, however the principle menu exterior of battle acquired the most important enchancment. In the unique recreation, the principle menu was bland. In this remake, it’s bursting with coloration.
    There are particular person icons for tools, objects, formation, and setting screens. The backside proper nook reveals who’s at the moment in your get together and the sprites are mechanically animated, bringing them to life. A enjoyable element is within the shifu chapter the place the shifu stands nonetheless, fully calm as his disciples follow kicks or spar with one another. It provides a considerable quantity of character to the sport.

    There’s additionally full voice performing within the recreation, whereas the unique didn’t have any. The performances are strong and there’s good consideration to element in casting choices. For occasion, for the reason that shifu chapter takes place in Imperial China, the entire major voice actors within the English dub solid are of Chinese or Asian descent. Details like that make Live A Live a high-effort remake that provides rather more than you’d get from a fan translation.
    Our Take
    Live A Live largely accomplishes what it’s alleged to do: inform a serviceable story and again it up with partaking gameplay. However, the sport takes too lengthy to get to the very best half, which is the ultimate chapter when the entire characters can be found to affix a single get together. Until then, just a few of the character chapters could be slogs to get by way of. The visible presentation and music are nice, although, making the journey to the tip a deal with for each eyes and ears.
    Is there a greater different?
    The solely recreation that comes near Live A Live’s premise is Octopath Traveler, which is one other HD-2D remake recreation. Octopath Traveler boasts higher particular person tales between its solid of characters and steadier battle system development.
    How lengthy will it final?
    To full the story and defeat the ultimate boss, together with ending the non-compulsory end-game dungeons, you’ll want round 25-30 hours.
    Should you purchase it?
    Yes. Live A Live is ideal for any JRPG fan. It has the hallmarks that make it entry within the style, particularly a enjoyable battle system, whereas additionally offering a much-needed presentation increase.
    Live A Live was examined on Nintendo Switch.

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