Live A Live : Nouvelle perle du jeu de rôle japonais sur Switch ? Premières impressions !

Preview Live A Live: New pearl of the Japanese role-playing game on Switch? First impressions! on Switch

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Insight Live A Live: New pearl of Japanese role-playing on Switch? First impressions!

After a surprise demo during the last Nintendo Direct, it’s time to spend more time with the Switch version of Live A Live. As a reminder, this is the remake of the eponymous cult JRPG – never before released in Europe. An affront that will soon be repaired, starting July 22. To wait, we had access to a longer portion and an additional chapter compared to the evaluation version. So, are all the lights green? Notice rating.

Never heard of Live A Live? It’s normal ! When it was released in 1994, Squaresoft’s JRPG did not leave Japan, like other games of the genre. It is therefore only this year that the title arrives for good with us. And not in any way. For the occasion, Live A Live is adorned with a remake with Square Enix’s famous “HD-2D” engine, already seen in Octopath Traveler or Triangle Strategy. A choice setting to bring the ambitious concept of this cult game back to life: seven independent chapters taking place in seven different eras (Prehistory, Far West, Present, End of Edo Japan, Imperial China, Near future, Far future). As part of this preview, we were able to venture into China, Japan and the far future – with more content than in the demo – but also in the time of the Cowboys. Enough to have a fairly precise idea of ​​what awaits us in July.

Live A Live – The Switch remake unveils its trailer!

Seven ways to play

Inevitably, the killer function of Live A Live is its very concept. Bringing together seven phases centuries apart, with their own characters and plots, that’s an idea! Already, you should know that these stories will sooner or later come together. As in the 1994 game, two final chapters will appear once the basic ones have been completed. For the moment, it’s too early to say if these time travels have a real interest for the scenario. On the other hand, what is certain is that they do good at the pace of adventure and how it renews itself. Because on the sidelines of obviously different atmospheres from one era to another (the meeting between the graphics, the soundtrack and the dubbing help more than ever to dive into it) Live A Live has the very good idea of ​​making “each story” rhyme with “new mechanics”.

For example, in China, where you play a kung fu master, you have to methodically distribute your training among three disciples and accept the consequences on the scenario. In the Far West, the bandit you play must gather resources in a limited time and entrust them to villagers to set a trap for a rival clan. But the most amazing chapter so far is the one in Japan, which takes the form of a long phase of action-infiltration. In a towering castle with quite a few branches, you must find the highest room of the tallest tower by avoiding the guards (you can become invisible) as well as remembering the passwords of the guard to go unnoticed. We hope that the other chapters do the same.

Rather docked or portable?

As part of the preview, we didn’t notice any noticeable difference between Live A Live’s handheld and docked mode. Square Enix’s JRPG just seems to suffer from very slight slowdowns in the Feudal Japan chapter, in the castle courtyard to explore.

A special meeting

If we find here of course the classic triptych “exploration, narration and combat” of the JRPG, Live A Live has fun dispatching these codes differently depending on the era. From what we’ve seen, the Far Future focuses more on storytelling, like a sci-fi camera in space. For their part, Imperial China and the Wild West seem to find a balance between the three pillars, while Feudal Japan is much more action-oriented | exploration (leveling up is even recommended). You will understand, in terms of rhythm, structure or gameplay, Live A Live regularly likes to surpriseand that’s a really good thing.

However, it must be admitted that certain phases feel a little too much 1990s design. The castle of Feudal Japan, for example, is excessively labyrinthine (you’ll thank the addition of a mini-map in this remake) in addition to often being quite unfair. So expect boss fights when you think you’re talking to an ordinary NPC – even losing the game over a bad choice of dialogue – or falling back several floors through the fault of a well-hidden trap. Fortunately, it is possible to save progress at any time and there is an automatic save system. In the same vein, we can also mention kung fu training, which boils down to a series of fights without much interest against your disciples. Because yes, as you are their master, a few flicks will be enough to calm them down.

Live A Live – A Few Minutes in the Wild West (Gameplay)

time travelers

No matter ! During this preview, no defect really came to taint the beautiful journey that is Live A Live. We would note a few somewhat long dialogues, two or three writing shots, but nothing that weighs heavily in the balance. Globally, Square Enix’s JRPG is first class. We mentioned it above: the different eras, the atmosphere (special mention to the dubbing of important scenes and the “cinema shots” of the most beautiful effect) as well as the dialogues really do the job. Without forgetting the combat phases, which contain some beautiful moments of strategy. Here, we are more on the side of the tactical RPG than the classic turn-based JRPG. The heroes evolve on a grid of seven squares by seven squares. Each blow at a precise range and the slightest gesture will save the enemy time to charge his blows. The important thing is therefore to predict the opponent’s gestures and timing, take advantage of the locations. A nice cerebral overlay for a game that makes you want to be elsewhere. We can’t wait to see more!

No printing

In the blink of an eye, Live A Live sucks us into its worlds and prompts us to question the link that unites seven different eras. Periods now sublimated thanks to the remake work (visuals, dubbing, atmosphere) which reserve some very pretty scenes. For the moment, we only fear that a design that is sometimes a little too old-school will spoil this beautiful journey. Answer later in July, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.

Editorial review

Promising

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