Live A Live First Impressions

Square Enix surprised everyone earlier in 2022 when they announced an HD-2D remake of Live A Live. A demo is now available on the Nintendo e-shop, plus the progress from the demo carries over to the main game. This is very much an old-school Square Enix RPG, so if you’re into Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy VI, then this is something you might want to check out.

The Live A Live Demo was announced during the recent Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase in June 2022, plus it’s not too long before the full game releases on 22nd July. The demo offers up a couple of small slices of gameplay from a few characters in the game.

Live A Live has some pretty big competition when it comes to RPGs on Nintendo Switch releasing in July with Xenoblade Chronicles 3 having been moved up the schedule to replace Splatoon, which was moved back to September 2022 earlier this year. I’d not heard of Live A Live, although there is little wonder considering it didn’t see the light of day outside of Japan in the mid-90s.

Live A Live is a game about different characters all over the world from different time periods. Each member of the cast has their own story, plus all the stories come together in the latter part of the game, so it’s quite an ambitious project. The original game came out in 1994 for the Super Famicom and was never released outside of Japan.

One of the storylines follows a Shinobi in the Twilight of Edo Japan and it’s up to them to get into a castle and assassinate the evil ruler who is making people’s lives miserable. The gameplay isn’t just battling, it offers up some nice variation with stealth. You can of course go into battle, plus the weight of the enemy’s deaths weighs heavy on the Shinobi’s mind. Each time you defeat an enemy you raise up your XP, but there’s a small moment of reflection too.

Following on from Japan, there’s an imperial China era. This time you play as a Kung Fu expert called the Earthen Heart Shifu. He’s on the hunt for new students to teach the ways of the Dragon. He’s strong and has found his craft unfulfilling given he can beat down everyone in his path. The main storyline here is to gather and teach new students. It doesn’t sound very enticing on paper, but this is a very compelling concept, which really draws you in.

The final storyline you can try out in the demo is sometime in the distant future. This is a nice change of pace from the previous two eastern styles. This is completely different. You play as a robot in the shape of a cube that is travelling in space. Unfortunately, bad things happen and it envokes great 80s sci-fi. It’s slower-paced than the other timelines, but it’s memorable non less.

The Live A Live Demo makes a very good first impression. If you were interested in the trailers we’ve seen from the Nintendo Direct in 2022, then I’d recommend checking out the demo. It’s free, plus progress carries over, so there is really nothing to lose from checking it out. The demo is only a thin slice of what we’re going to see in the final game, but it’s easy to see why this is such a well-regarded game in Japan. For a game in the mid-90s to pull off this scope and scale, it’s very impressive. Pair that with the HD-2D style. There are multiple time periods, great voice acting and also interesting gameplay.

Live A Live launches on 22nd July 2022 on Nintendo Switch and you can find the demo on the Nintendo Switch eShop.