Live A Live Live A Live PS5 Review Review square enix

Live A Live Review (PS5) – An Excellent JRPG That Feels As Relevant Now As It Was Revolutionary 30 Years Ago

Live A Live PS5 Review. Most gamers outside of Japan never got to experience Live A Live as it was never released outside of Japan back in 1994. It may not seem revolutionary now with titles like Octopath Traveler and Chrono Trigger, but it was thanks to the profound changes Live A Live made to the standard JRPG formula that the uniqueness of the game has influenced those titles.

Live A Live PS5 Review

A Unique Story-Telling Experience That Plays Out Like An Anthology

Moving away from the traditional JRPG formula of the time, Live A Live was unique as it allowed you to select one of seven characters to start your adventure. Each protagonist is from a different timeline line and offers vastly different gameplay mechanics from the others. None of the seven characters has any connections to each other and provides a smaller experience, like an anthology rather than a grand epic story.

Unlike Octopath Traveller, where your characters eventually meet up, Live A Live tells seven separate stories across time. Akira is a young orphan living out of an orphanage in the future. Sundown, on the other hand, is an old West cowboy.

Each character’s chapters have unique mechanics built in. Sundown’s Old West chapter is very puzzle-oriented and will see you solving quite a few to progress. One chapter doesn’t even feature combat and is a story you play like a visual novel.

Each Chapter Has A Unique Mechanic To Keep Things Fresh

Oboro’s story takes place in Edo, Japan and features a stealth mechanic that allows you to get through his entire chapter without killing enemies or clearing out the whole chapter of foes. There is an incentive, as you’ll get different rewards depending on your choice.

Once you complete each chapter, you unlock a final eighth chapter. This chapter connects all the timelines in a pleasant narrative way, allowing you to select a new character or go around and require characters from the other chapters to join you. But it’s also the most brutal and challenging of all the chapters. It will undoubtedly frustrate many players.

It’s a weird difficulty spike since none of the other chapters is particularly difficult, and it may shock those who had been breezing through the game up to that point.

Some chapters have combat, which can be pretty fun and intuitive. Battles occur on a grid you would find in a tactical strategy game without the hardcore strategy. In classic turn-based fashion, you have a gauge build-up during combat. Once the gauge is complete, you can move your character around the grid. Each movement and action takes a piece of the ATB gauge.

Fun Combat That Is Simple And Easy To Understand

Once it’s run out or you perform an action, your turn is over. Actions don’t cost any skill points or magic points. They are straightforward actions. You can heal to your heart’s content or perform your most powerful attacks as much as you want.

An excellent addition is that enemies will be weak to specific attacks. It will be made known every time you select an attack. It will let you know over an enemy’s head if it is weak against that attack.

During combat, you’ll also encounter leaders. If you take down the leader, it will eliminate all the other enemies in battle. It’s a quick way to end combat, but it’s not featured in every encounter.

One aspect of combat is that if one of your party member’s HP reaches zero, they can be revived like other titles. However, if they are struck once more while knocked down, they will be out of the fight permanently and can’t be revived until after the battle ends.

Another Example of Fantastic HD-2D Pixel Art

Visually the pixel art has received a fantastic makeover for this remaster. It’s not quite as vibrant as Octopath Traveller with its 2D-HD art style, but it offers a unique look and is still gorgeous to look at. The Old West, in particular, was my favourite to play through.

The soundtrack is top-notch. The rearrangement feels new while keeping the feel of an old SNES title. Each track is masterfully scored to represent the feel of the period.

Voice acting, new to this remaster, is primarily a miss. While dialogue is spoken in the accent or style of the period, it almost never works that well. It’s a shame because Square Enix has been pretty solid with their global voice work that Live A Live feels more like the type of efforts that you’d get around the days of the PSOne.

I should mention that even though Live A Live officially launched on the PS4 & PS5, it did release on the Nintendo Switch last year. Unfortunately, the PlayStation versions haven’t received any updates or additions outside Trophy support. As such, don’t expect any unique DualSense support and changes from the Switch version: this is a straight port.

Live A Live is a masterclass in design. It moved the genre forward and influenced some of the most memorable titles and franchises we love today. It took thirty years to finally leave Japan for the rest of the world to experience, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s not every day you get to play a game that’s aged as well as Live A Live.

Live A Live is now available on PS4, PS5, and Switch.

Review code kindly provided by PR



The Final Word

An excellent remaster of an excellent game, Live A Live influence can be spotted in many titles to this day, and most people may have never even heard of it. After 30 years, consumers can finally enjoy one of the most unique and compelling JRPGS from the SNES area.