Live A Live | Review – A sweet and unexpected success
We have repeatedly pronounced ourselves very positively about the operation of recovering its catalog of old classics that Square Enix has implemented over the last three years: old glories published on platforms that have made the history of the videogame medium, such as the Super Nintendo, which perhaps had never left the Japanese borders or, having reached the United States, had completely bypassed the Old Continent.
Live A Life, originally released in 1994, responds perfectly to this identikit, and after the first hours of play, which we documented in our test a few weeks ago, our curiosity had increased dramatically.
Today we will tell you how our experience was on Nintendo Switch with the bizarre JRPG: it’s time for its review.
The wild bunch
Seven stories disconnected from each other, eight protagonists, and nine different chapters to play: even just looking at the numbers, Live A Live seems to start on the right foot, although it is advisable to clarify immediately that the production values and the scale of the project are not the titles. first-rate.
We are still talking about a remake of a Super Nintendo title released twenty-eight years ago, which not everyone appreciated and which has won a passionate fanbase mostly thanks to word of mouth, forums on the Net, and amateur translation patches – the only way to play it before this operation set up by Square Enix as the developer, with Nintendo as the publisher.
The Chocobo house has understood that buried in its forty-year archives, there are pearls of rare beauty, and has decided to slowly bring some of them back to light in the coming months, if we think of the remakes already announced relating to the Front Mission franchise and that of Dragon Quest III: They probably won’t reach the top of the sales charts, but we’re sure they’ll make a large chunk of fans happy.
Each story has its peculiarity, and, despite their brevity, almost all of them manage to remain impressed, to transmit a clear and rarely univocal message: The seven samurai of master Kurosawa, 2001 a space odyssey by Kubrick (to whom we owe the name of one of the seven protagonists, moreover), For a fistful of dollars of the unforgettable Sergio Leone are just some of the most obvious sources of inspiration of the various scenarios, which also recall numerous of the most iconic titles of the Square house.
Each of our readers, we are sure, will develop their favorites among the seven stories told, choosing to impersonate his chosen protagonist when the time comes: from the misadventures steeped in slapstick comedy (and without dialogue) of the caveman Pogo to the near future, in which on a spaceship that floats in space all kinds of events happen, passing through the climb of a young Japanese wrestler to the throne of the best fighter ever.
For our part, for atmospheres and themes, we loved the sortie in Japan of the late Edo period in the role of Oboromaru, the one in Imperial China all based on martial arts and, above all, the one in the Wild West, punctuated by a series of stratospheric pieces to accompany the tension of the duels.
There is something for all tastes and, although at times there is a lack of a more cohesive and structured narrative, this is balanced by the constant feeling of freshness and by the continuous surprise in the change of scenarios and characters.
The skill of the team of writers is inherent precisely in being able to make memorable characters who are granted very little time on the screen when compared to those of the more noble triple A JRPGs: you will be surprised at how much attachment you have developed for a lone gunslinger with a tormented past or for a Japanese orphan with unsuspected psychic powers.
And don’t forget that Live A Live is, in fact, the draft from which Chrono Trigger came to life in a few months and that Chrono Trigger is considered by many (including this writer) to be the best Japanese RPG of all time.
JRPG but not only
In addition to proposing different plots and protagonists, Live A Live also enjoys experimenting from the gameplay point of view, taking as a basis the classic Japanese role-playing games that were most popular at the time of the Super Nintendo, but adding, chapter by chapter, several mechanics disconnected from this videogame genre, thus obtaining a mixture with a whole new flavor.
In the section dedicated to feudal Japan, for example, we will be called to infiltrate, as a ninja, inside a huge castle, in what is one of the longest chapters in terms of the duration of the entire adventure.
Once inside, we will be able to proceed at full speed, katana in hand, killing anyone who stands in our path, or moving in the shadows, minimizing losses among enemies, and arriving at the inevitable final boss with the blade not soaked in blood. Our choice will lead to consequences not only within that given chapter but also in the final calculation.
In short, thanks to the short duration of each chapter, which is reflected in a total amount of hours between twenty and twenty-five hours at the most, you never get bored and, indeed, without the wear and tear that can come from mammoth titles, the player perhaps he is driven to explore to the maximum and uncover the many secrets scattered around the various locations – including collectibles, little gems, and references to pop culture of the last thirty years.