As a title previously unavailable outside of Japan, we were overjoyed when LIVE A LIVE made it way to Nintendo Switch last July.
In our review, we concluded that “If you’re a fan of quirky JRPGs, consider LIVE A LIVE a must-have. Each and every one of the stories offered up here is distinctive and interesting, keeping your attention held like a vice. Along with a fantastic combat system, and numerous improvements to the presentation of the overall package, we’re overjoyed that this title is finally available in the west.” And now, thanks to the title launching on yet more platforms, it’s going to have greater reach than ever before.
LIVE A LIVE is an RPG like no other. It presents seven heroes, each with their own very unique stories. Hell, they don’t even occupy the same time zone; with one character you might find yourself in the age of dinosaurs, another the Wild West. Whether it’s the past, present or future, there’s a story to be told here. And along with each character’s unique setting, there are also unique mechanics.
Travel to Edo Japan, for example, and as a young ninja you might find yourself on a rescue mission, where stealth is the better option to combat. You’ll need to move around undetected, finding keys and making use of your agility to progress. Contrast that to being in control of a gunslinger in charge of preparing the residents of a town for an imminent bandit assault, finding weapons and traps before assigning them against the clock, and you have a game that truly keeps you on your toes, and is all the better for it.
Obviously, something does tie all these stories together in the end, but that’s for you to find out. In any case, what’s so brilliant about LIVE A LIVE is that each and every one of these individual stories is enjoyable and engaging in its own way. Chances are you’ll have your favourites, and they might be different to someone else’s who is also playing the game, but they’re worth playing through. You can tackle them in any order that you wish, too, and leave one part way through to pick up another, then return to it later.
While skipping Xbox for some reason, LIVE A LIVE will soon also be available on PS4, PS5 and PC. It’s exactly the same game that it is on Switch – there are no changes or additions when it comes to gameplay or features – but that’s to be expected. Play it on the likes of the PS5 or a high-spec PC, however, and you will notice a nice bump to the game’s visuals. Using Square Enix’s lovely HD-2D style, character models remain suitable pixelated, but environments and special effects get a bit of a boost. More importantly, everything’s just clearer and sharper.
We’ve been playing LIVE A LIVE on PS5, and have been having a great timer with it yet again. Alongside the improved visuals, we love that loading times are extremely short, allowing us to spend more time playing and less time looking at static screens, twiddling our thumbs. If we have one complaint, it’s that there’s seemingly no attempt to make use of the DualSense’s unique features. We never expected adaptive trigger support, but some kind of haptic feedback would have been nice.
Regardless, as we said in our original review, if you’re a fan of quirky JRPGS, you should consider this a must-have. It’s great that LIVE A LIVE is not only finally available in the west, but now also on a wide range of formats and remade with such love and care. This is a JRPG that has truly stood the test of time. And somehow, nearly 30 years after its original release, it still feels utterly unique.
LIVE A LIVE launches on PS4, PS5 and PC on 27th April. It’s available right now on Switch.