Live A Live | Tried

Live A Live | Tried

That Square Enix intended to continue to exploit the very particular HD-2D style for other projects, after Octopath Traveler and Triangle Strategy, was now well known, and the toto-remake had already started to guess which titles would be resurrected. But we never expected it to be a dark cult like Live A Live, even if its announcement certainly pleased us.

The only circumstance in which you may have already read this title is if you are a fan of RPGs dedicated to the “archaeological” recovery of the glories that made their history. Everyone else does not feel the weight of ignorance, given that Live A Live was one of those SNES-era titles that never came out of Japanese territory, which has so far only been accessible to Western users via English patched roms.

Square Enix has so far focused heavily on remasters and porting of little-known and, we must admit, financially courageous titles such as Legend of Mana and SaGa Frontier. Live A Live inaugurates what we hope will become a remake trend of semi-unknown pearls of the past waiting to be rediscovered.

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At the same time, the new visual aspect has achieved an excellent balance between respect for the style of the original and a celebration of its atmosphere with an exhilarating quality. The SNES original was a more than decent game to watch at the time, albeit not at the level of the top players for the console, such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. In its new incarnation Live A Live exhibits detailed updated sprites, fluid in animations and even more expressive, as well as delightful new special effects to see on screen.

The only drawback we noticed is that, despite the graphic approach is the same, the game is not as spectacular as Octopath Traveler, but for the simple fact that the latter was born to make the most of HD-2D, while the remake of Live A Live must adapt to the "matrix" of a game from 28 years ago.

However, what should interest you most about this remake is its particularly original and heterogeneous structure. This is not a classic JRPG with a party of characters that gradually grows on a common storyline, but just the opposite. There are eight characters, each placed in a different historical era, who individually face an individual adventure, sometimes flanked by other companions.

If we want, Live A Live can be considered an anthological title, as long as in the advanced stages of the game the different protagonists, initially divided by space and time, will end up aggregating into a common story (which obviously we will not spoil you).

The protagonists and the settings are not, however, the only things that differentiate the various sub-plots. For each, the game adopts a very different style and approach to gameplay, returning different shades of gray in terms of narration and fighting.

The chapter of Masaru Takahara, set in the present time, for example, is blatantly inspired by classic fighting games like Street Fighter II, as it excludes any kind of exploration and interaction with the environment and literally places us in a series of battles with different martial arts champions around the globe, with the aim of learning the their techniques and become the strongest. The chapter starring the ninja Oboromaru, on the other hand, places us in front of a complex dungeon to be overcome with the possibility of avoiding clashes with a stealth approach. Or again, the chapter set in the distant future is almost entirely combat-free and focuses entirely on exploration and narrative.

We could give you several more examples, but if this has sparked your interest, ours my advice is to download the game demo from the eShop and experience the extraordinary heterogeneity of Live A Live on your skin. If you are looking for a classic but "non-compliant" JRPG that deviates from the somewhat stale canons of the genre, we strongly advise you to keep an eye on it and read our review which will arrive shortly before the release date, set for next 22 July exclusively (for now) for Nintendo Switch.

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