Game: The Alliance Alive HD Remastered
System: Nintendo Switch (also PS4 and later Steam)
Developers|Publishers: Furyu | NIS America
Price: $49.99 US | $75 AUD| € 49,99 |£49.99
Age Rating: E10+ (US) | 12 (EU) | PG (AU)
Release Date: 8th October (US) | 11th October (EU) | 18th October (AU)
Review code thanks to NIS America
The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is, shockingly, a HD remastering of The Alliance Alive. Which originally released worldwide in 2018 on the Nintendo 3DS. Now it comes with a much better graphical fidelity and a UI update.
A World Divided
One thousand years ago the war between daemons and humans ended. The surface world was split into realms to keep them under control, in the time that passed not many are even aware of the other realms. The first protagonists you start with are Galil and Azura who head to an Ancient Museum to see a painting of a blue sky. In doing so they come across misfortune and a greater mystery. In the early parts of the game you switch between different groups, who eventually come together across the Dark Current. Rather quickly they all agree to work together to unite the world.
Awaken and Ignite
The game play of this rpg is turn based. Asides from the usual equip, stats and buffs, there are quite a few other systems. First of all your characters do not level. Their max HP and SP can increase after a battle, while moves can be leveled up from using them. I really liked this way of getting stronger and I only felt it was a problem when I hit a couple of spikes.
The Awakening system, is how they learn new moves. Sometimes instead of doing what you chose they do the new move, which will be in their list from then on. There are a sizeable amount of these moves and for each weapon. Certain characters have restrictions on what weapons they can use but others are much more customizable. They do start with specific specialties but you can solely focus them on one to two weapons or many if you so choose. In any battle they can hold two different weapons, use unarmed attacks and certain kinds of magic.
Party members can reach an Ignition state, which builds up from taking/receiving damage, or their friends being knocked out. This allows them to use a final strike, which is a special move based on their weapon which will break it. However, once you’ve developed the Blacksmith guild your weapons can be repaired from resting.
Formulate Your Talent
Eventually you can have a party of five, but there are nine story characters and an additional three optional ones. As you progress you can develop new formations to put them in, this will give characters bonuses to their attack, guard or support based on the positioning. I got away with not bothering with it until the last quarter of the game.
Talent points are accumulated through fighting. These are spent on many things. Such as decreasing how much SP you consume with a particular weapon, increase your Awakening/HP gain rate, lower shopping prices and so on. It is important to properly make use of it.
Once a battle ends your HP will generally heal, outside of certain dungeons and instances. SP for the most part will not without resting. Various monster shapes can be ran into in the world and dungeons. This will start combat, if you manage to aggro a couple of monsters before starting you can create a battle chain. This means that the next fight will take place right afterwards and your HP and SP won’t recover in between. Bonuses do occur from successfully completing these. When you retry in a battle chain you will have to start from the first fight.
You can be knocked unconscious in a battle, so long as not every party member falls. If you were hit by a monster during a turn, but someone heals you in that same turn you may be able to do your chosen attack. If you are unconscious at the end of a battle your max HP will be lowered until you rest. There also seems to be an extent to how unconscious you can be, as if an ally is repeatedly kicked while they are down, they’ll be considered dead and you lose the battle.
Exploring and The Alliance
There a few different realms you explore to progress the story. You gain different vehicles to traverse through them. Such as the Ornithopter which can glide down from a higher point, a rubber duck mech suit that eventually can swim in lava and so on. Not only do these help you reach story areas but also ones you couldn’t access before. Which might have far tougher fights, items or characters. There are a few different sparklies you can pick up, one is order gems which let you retry a fight or flee after losing. While Chaosium gems can be traded in for better items.
While progressing you will come across different guilds. When you are within their range they can assist you in battle. Such as the Blacksmith’s Guild will occasionally drop a large cannon attack on the enemy. Halfway through the game you can start recruiting NPCs to be part of these guilds, and make new towers so that you can access these benefits across the world. These guilds can level up, and give you better other buffs such as an increase to talent point gain. New towers need guildmasters which are special NPCs, but recruits can be gained through many other means such as simply helping a random person out you find while exploring.
Choices and Story
One thing to notice when playing the game, is that you will get choices in whether to engage in some fights. I often made the wrong decision. As it turns out these mini morality dilemmas are part of the recruiting feature. Which I learned from ignoring a certain fight and it was later revealed that a character had died because of that.
The world setting is fairly interesting. While the main plot becomes pretty generic there are good conversations about the nature of humans. It even managed to make me feel almost a little bad for a completely horrible character. Most of the characters (including party members) are fairly one note. Worst of all, the make the best one completely miss-able. Make sure to explore the islands around the snow area when you reach it. How else could you play this game without a penguin that wears a swordfish helmet?
All characters in the game are in a chibi style, which with the increase in resolution looks good enough. The illustrated style of towns looks nice, while the over world is a bit more bland. Monster designs are relatively unique. I quite liked most of the music, though I felt it could have more variety. The camera is also a bit restricted in certain areas, which is annoying. There is absolutely no voice acting whatsoever. It had literally one instance of untranslated text, but otherwise it was fine. Some cut scenes can be paused or reset which is appreciated. Unsurprisingly, it ran perfectly fine both handheld and docked.
After completing the game you have two different new game options. So not only do you have a reason to play it again sometime, to remake choices but you have two different ways to go about it. As far as I could glean the game’s content is almost entirely the same as the 3DS original. Since jumping to a higher resolution this version also has a bit of a price increase. So if you’re able to find a copy and don’t care about being able to play on the TV and having a much better resolution, the 3DS is a viable option.
It took me twenty one hours to beat but I also had almost every single battle on four times speed and only did a few optional things. There isn’t a difficulty option and it’s very easy. I only found a couple of spots where I suddenly had to grind and it’s a little harder to tell what you should be without character levels. With all these game mechanics there are aspects I didn’t even engage with such as using food or toys. Others were underwhelming, particularly the easy peasy aerial battles. The game even let me pay off some people instead of completing puzzles on my own. I enjoyed the combat systems, and some story aspects most of all this.
Overall, I can say I like it a lot!