When I heard about this game at first, I was a bit hyped. For a fan who played the classic Front Mission 3 back on the original PlayStation, Left Alive really got my interest. Also, it features art from the great Yoji Shinkawa of Metal Gear fame and mechs from famed Gundam designer Takayuki Yanase, so what’s not to get excited here, right? RIGHT?
Well… Before all that let me get back to that and tell you a bit about the game. As stated Left Alive takes place in the mechanized world of the Front Mission series, so from the get-go you can expect that at one point you will get to control these beasts. They’re called Wanzers by the way, and are easily the best part of the game. And I think that is the most positive thing I can say about this title – the slight nostalgia it brings… Because everything else in the game really just falls apart in every level and I’m having a hard time where to start (hey, that rhymes!). But okay let’s start with the story.
Left for Dead
The main story begins with the nation of Garmonia invading the neighboring Ruthenian border city of Novo Slava. I a surprise ambush you are instantly dropped into the chaos and utilizing three forgettable characters, a pilot, a cop and a radical and scarred revolutionary. Slogging on to the story I found it difficult to connect with the characters and a huge part to blame in this is the poor writing and shallow voice acting which was present right at the very start. It was really at that moment when I heard the first dialogue that things are not going to be good.
Tactical Espionage Action This Ain’t
As soon as I started to control my character, just like the story and dialogue, I really wanted to take a moment and think why this game even exists in 2019. Movement and animations are at best clunky, wonky, unintuitive and stiff. Everything I do in the game feels like a chore and mess and it persists with every new thing I discovered around the corner. This is game is being billed as a stealth game so at least I had that in my pocket. What’s really weird here is, for a covert action game I found it laughable that when you finally (and sneakily) approach an enemy I did not find any sort of take-down or silent-kill that is always present in these types of games. That huge oversight really took the cake for me.
Because of the mentioned oversight, you can expect that will you frequently encounter some nasty gunfight with some silly and broken A.I. enemies. The problem there is that gunfights in Left Alive is just as much of a sloppy mess as it is for the rest of the game. Aiming and shooting feels light and weightless, without any hint of realism. I also noticed that the animation when taking damage feels bugged as it loops in this particular frame where you can’t really do anything but accept your fate. Furthermore, as with most cases during my playthrough you’ll probably be dead within seconds before you even get a chance to do anything about it. As I’ve said the A.I. here seems to be broken because of the insane cone of sight in the map partnered with the ridiculous damage and accuracy that they churn. I would have appreciated the added difficulty but not in the expense of really bad gameplay and controls.
Better Left in the Dust
Someone set his expectations a bit high. I really wanted to like this title but after playing and trying to find something positive I ended up really disappointed in the end. It really feels that the game wasn’t made with the same love and passion as with other Squeenix titles and to be really honest, Left Alive looks like a title that could have been made 10-15 years or a couple of gaming generations ago. What’s even sadder is I’ve played games way back that are better than this…
In a nutshell, Left Alive is trying its very best to fill in What Metal Gear vacated more than 3 years go. I won’t mince words here and say this straight – they really failed this time… In almost every department. Please do yourself a favor and try to steer clear away from this game.