Live A Live Review (Nintendo Switch): Born again in the modern era

Live A Live is a peculiar title in that this release hasn’t been seen outside of Japan since it came out decades ago. Gamers worldwide can finally experience this hidden gem of yesteryear thanks to Square Enix and Nintendo and it truly is a testament to the great video game design of the 90s.

The original title came out in 1994 on Super Famicom and gamers outside of Japan would most likely never have heard of this title before of that fact.

Thankfully, we now have a fresh release of this classic on the Switch with the same spectacular 2.5D pixel visuals that Square Enix applied to Octopath Traveller and Triangle Strategy.

Live A Live

Live A Live is a collection of short stories or vignettes. There are eight in total and each character in the game has their own tale to get through.

Players are advised to play through an entire chapter or story at once, however, you can always quit out and select another one. We wouldn’t advise doing this though because each story is so well done you’ll want to play them to completion in one go.

The story of Live A Live varies greatly between each character. For example, one character is a teenager who can read minds while another is a wild west outlaw with a shady past. There’s also a kung-fu master, a prehistoric era human and much more.

These tales are all so incredibly well done that it would be a shame to spoil anything from them.

Live A Live’s stories do suffer from a bit of a pacing issue at times with some of the character’s stories featuring a lot of text and dialogue to get through before any real combat action takes place.

Gamers who lack patience might find this a tad annoying but for those of us out there that love games that weave a tapestry of tales, this game delivers excellence throughout. Think of Live A Live as reading a book of short stories, each with their own flavour that grips you.

Classic JRPG Goodness

Gameplay in Live A Live follows the traditional tried and tested JRPG formula of selecting actions to take in battle. Players will move along a grid and attack based on a grid too. Their characters will level up and gain new abilities and skills over time.

The game, being from 1994 is from a time when video game developers were experimenting with new ideas and we can only imagine how innovative this title must have felt back then.

In fact, it’s remarkable how well the game holds up by today’s modern standards and this indicates that the developers who worked on this back in the day really knew what they were doing.

Graphically, this title features gorgeous 2.5D visuals. Everything from the environments in each story to the extremely flashy attacks are a visual feast for the eyes. Pulling off more powerful attacks always results in some beautiful sprite work on screen coupled with sound effects that match perfectly.

Being a game from decades ago, Square Enix and Nintendo have done a great job with sprucing up the visuals and making it look modern.

It would have been great to see some additional content here in the form of a development diary or something like that explaining the game’s rich history, but alas that isn’t the case here.

The soundtrack of the game is also fantastic with Yoko Shimamura having contributed to this title. There are numerous tracks in the game that will get stuck in your head because of how great they are.

The main theme in particular is excellent.

The voice acting in the game caught us by surprise too by how great it is. Not all character dialogue is voiced but the lines that are really makes you feel as if you are in that particular era where the story takes place.

Final Verdict

Overall, Live A Live, is a collection of great stories with varied gameplay that ranges from pure action, to stealth to even futuristic mech battles with lasers and huge explosions.

If you’re a fan of JRPGs that dared to be different and try something new, this is a Nintendo Switch game you shouldn’t overlook.

We can whole-heartedly recommend giving this game a go.


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