The Switch has undoubtedly become a nice home for RPGs, particularly those of the Japanese-based variety, and things don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon with the latest Switch-exclusive, Live A Live from Square Enix.
What Is It?
We don’t know what kind of attention it’ll get with this Switch release, but Live A Live is actually a remake of one of the most influential games in the medium. The game has launched many careers and is well regarded among Japanese artists and developers to be the project that really put themselves on a path to future success.
Released as an HD-2D remake so many years later, Live A Live is a game that has surprisingly aged well, and even players who don’t typically like JRPGs might find something interesting if they stick with Live A Live.
Why Should I Care?
Similar to Square Enix’s debut HD-2D game Octopath Traveler, Live A Live is a JRPG with a slew of protagonists at the forefront. When you first boot up the game, you have your pick of six characters to choose from, all hailing from a different period in time. There’s Prehistory where you use a caveman in the age of the dinosaurs, Imperial China where you control a martial arts master teaching his students, the Wild West where you use play as a gunslinging outlaw, Present Day where you use a fighter, the Distant Future where you use a robot on a rigged ship, and a couple other scenarios that are all fairly engaging.
These chapters are roughly a couple hours each and can be played in any order you like, and as mentioned, are all quite different from each other. The aforementioned Prehistory chapter has no legible spoken dialog, yet it’s a good introduction to the game’s grid and turn-based battle system, while Imperial China is also very involved with the battle system while taking more time for the plot to develop. We won’t go over the odds and ends of each one, but one cool thing to look out for is how the game makes it feel like you’re getting into other genres while at its core retaining its JRPG feel.
As stated, battles take place on a grid and are turn-based, but they’re nothing like the more strategic games like Fire Emblem. It’s really all about placing your characters in areas where they can attack as well as avoid other enemies, and you can hover over the various skills and attacks you have to see the range as well as how effective it’ll be to take other squads out, and it’s all pretty well done and shouldn’t be too hard unless you choose one of the harder chapters as your first one–we’re looking at you, Twilight of Edo Japan!
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
When compared to recent release, the uninformed might think that Live A Live is an extremely deep adventure that could take over 100 hours to finish, and that couldn’t be further from the case. Each of the character’s individual stories are fairly short, with none going for more than three hours unless you really find yourself struggling. Throw in the pull that each story plays and feels profoundly different, and you have a heck of a game that hardly as much fluff to it. This remake of Live A Live is a project that deserves to succeed, so this is one that JRPG fans at the very least should give a try whether they have already or not.