The Alliance Alive Review-The 3DS is Still Alive
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: March 27th
The Alliance Alive is the latest JRPG brought to us by FuRyu, who are best known for games such as The Caligula Effect, Lost Dimension, and The Legend of Legacy. The Alliance Alive may look like a sequel to The Legend of Legacy at first glance, but it instead is a standalone game with its own separate story. That being said The game does borrow quite a few elements from The Legend of Legacy such as the combat system. With all of this in mind, does The Alliance Alive hold up on its own?
First off let’s discuss the game’s story. The Alliance Alive takes place in a world where humans have been conquered and near enslaved by a race of creatures known as “Daemons”, the game centers around a resistance group who is trying to find a way to liberate humanity from their grasp. You will have a cast of nine main characters who will be going on this journey together, and each character is actually pretty interesting. Sure they may appear a bit two dimensional in terms of their development, but they do manage to get the job done, and add a nice amount of chemistry to the story.
While the story is very simple and won’t win any awards for best narrative, it nevertheless was a treat to experience. All of the characters worked off each other incredibly well, and made me want to do whatever it took to see them succeed in their journey. I think the only issue the story has is the pacing, but this is remedied the further you get into the game for a more streamlined experience. If you enjoy a good story with atmosphere that sucks you in, this game may catch your eye.
The gameplay of The Alliance Alive is very reminiscent of The Legend of Legacy. Which originally was much to my chagrin. Thankfully after having my hands on this game, I actually quite enjoyed how well the game played. You spend the game exploring the open world or dungeons within the world during story. I think what I enjoyed the most about this was exploring the world around me here. The Alliance Alive has this strange somber atmosphere throughout the game that just really sucked me in and The exploration really drove it home.
Onto combat, The Alliance Alive is a turn based JRPG, but it’s not like your traditional turn based game. By this I mean, there is no leveling up your characters in a traditional sense. Just like in the Legend of Legacy, you gain new abilities with your characters through repeated use of certain skills and weapons. By using certain skills over and over, your character will inevitably awaken to a new skill. This means you will have to use weaker skills to unlock stronger ones, but Thankfully the more you use a skill, you can actually level up said skill with the more you use it. This in turn makes the combat a lot more balanced when fighting stronger enemies.
The Alliance Alive also has an interesting burst type mechanic. In this game you have something known as Ignition. Once your ignition meter is full, you can then perform a move known as Final Strike. Final Strike is an incredibly powerful move that can help you out of any situation, however the cost of this move is that of your weapon. Meaning after you perform the move you will be unable to use it again until it is repaired at a guild. While this can be seen as a bit of a trade off, Final Strike is pretty much what the name implies, a final strike. This move has no problem of doing damage well into the thousands, and can easily take down bosses when in a pinch. If you have a full team ready to use Final Strike you can pretty much wipe any enemy no problem. This sadly creates a balance issue. While yes it is a good panic button, it kinda removes a lot of strategy. While yes it may take awhile to build up the meter, if you have one or two teammates go down the meter will fill up insanely fast. That said it becomes a risk versus reward at times, as if your final strikes do not take out the enemy monster your entire team will be at a disadvantage. So I only found myself using it as a last resort.
Sticking to combat, a Another interesting mechanic in this game is the chain combat system. While roaming the overworld or dungeons you will run into a lot of enemies. If enemies see you, they will begin to chase you. If multiple ones chase you and one catches you, you will begin a chain fight. Chain fights will have you fight your way through every enemy that is chasing you and in the surrounding area. While on the surface these chains could be bad for the player, you get a multiplier bonus of money and skill points at the end of these gauntlets. This makes grinding a lot more effective, it is also handy if you want to clear out a lot of enemies on the field in one go.
The Alliance Alive is a very good looking 3DS game. The towns and dungeons you explore are pretty well crafted and are a pleasant treat to look at. Sadly this cannot be said about the overworld that you explore. While sure they have neat environments that add to the games atmosphere, they are overall very bland, and only serve to connect you to different destinations. That said, this is still a very pretty looking 3DS game, and I often found myself just enjoying the scenery of the more well crafted areas.
The music in Alliance Alive is honestly very relaxing. Each track in this game just adds a lot to the game’s overall somber atmosphere. The only tracks I found in this game to be a bit on the disappointing side were the battle themes. While tracks all had this classical theme to them, they honestly made the fights feel kind of boring. To make it more jarring, in some instances there is straight up no battle theme and the fight will only play the current overworld music. This at times really took me out of the game. However, this shouldn’t take away for how good the music in this game truly is.
I think the only downside to the presentation of this game would have to be the lack of voice acting. While I was not expecting this game to be fully voiced, having some voice acting in the games pre-rendered cutscenes would have gone a long way of driving the story points home. It just became very jarring to look at. You could have a very dramatic or powerful scene and just watching the characters mutely address each other was just so weird.
The Alliance Alive succeeded in everything The Legend of Legacy failed in. From rich environments and a somber atmosphere, to more balanced combat, and to an overall much better story, you truly have a JRPG that channels the roots of a lot of classic games. While the game may have a few technical issues, it is a rather enjoyable time through and through. The 3DS may be in its twilight years, but it has another good JRPG to add to its lineup. Check this game out if you need another game to scratch your JRPG itch.