If you don’t have a Nintendo 3DS or do and just don’t use it anymore then you likely missed out on a pretty good JRPG back in early 2018 called The Alliance Alive. The game was published by Atlus on the 3DS and was developed by FuRyu and Grezzo. Sadly, despite the game being pretty good it just kind of came and went without much notice. The good news is that the game now has a second chance to be noticed as NIS America and developer Cattle Call have released The Alliance Alive HD Remastered for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. This is your chance to make up for missing this great JRPG the first time around.
If you happen to have played another game called The Legend of Legacy than you might be interested to know that The Alliance Alive is a sort of sequel to it. These games also have some of the same gameplay elements that you would find in the SaGa franchise, a source of inspiration for the development team. The story of The Alliance Alive is set on a world where humans are ruled by Daemons who have also divided their world into five different regions with a magical barrier. Over the course of the game you jump between and play as many different heroes who all join forces in order to take back their world from the Daemons. All of the characters are interesting and have their own personalities that are fun to get to know. The story here is just really good and is a big focus of this game but it also could’ve been better if the game had added one thing, voice acting. The original 3DS version didn’t have this of course due to hardware limitations no doubt and it would’ve been wishful thinking to hope that the console versions would add it. Still it’s a missed opportunity and you can’t help but wish it was there.
The world in the game is open and free for you to explore after a certain point early on. There’s a good amount of variety in the environments too and it’s worth looking around and exploring all that you can so that you can find the world’s hidden secrets. These can take the form of additional boss fights or treasure. The combat in The Alliance Alive is turn-based and all of your characters can use a variety of weapons to deal damage to the enemies. Using the weapons increases their effectiveness and items can be activated and used should you need them. There are also some nice options to make the battles not feel like a slog like the option to increase the battle speed which is awesome. Roles have to be assigned to all of your characters such as Attack, Support, or Guard. Roles give buffs to different attacks and can also be affected by where they are in the three lane grid that battles take place on called Formations.
Both you and the enemy’s sides of the battlefield are divided up into three lanes basically. Depending on where certain characters are in these lanes can determine things like their stats and who takes damage in what order. Different formations can be set up in the menu in advance to give you options to adapt during battles. If one of your characters is getting close to dying due to where they are in the current formation you could swap to another one that you prepared that would have them further back in the chain of receiving damage. It’s a really cool system that lets you be better prepared for the challenges this game throws at you. You also don’t have to worry about your party’s health after a battle really either as their health always gets restored to the max after each one.
Now the progression system in this game is a bit different from other role playing games. Instead of gaining XP from battles you are just randomly given boosts to your characters stats when a battle is over. Not all battles will give you increases which you may be thinking sounds a little unfair. I found that while not every battle rewarded me, enough of them did that I always felt like my team was progressing at a good pace and thus never found myself struggling due to my stats being too low. Finishing battles also grants something called Talents which is a kind of currency that can be accumulated and then spent to acquire new perks for your characters like increased drops from battles or making it easier to sneak up on enemies in the world map. Another system in the game are Guilds of which there are five in total. Each one specializes in a different field and they give you both benefits in and out of battle. New people can be recruited to increase the effectiveness of each guild should you want to take the time to do so. I don’t think they are really needed to get through the game but they are a nice addition of you want more depth out of it.
So how do the graphics translate from the small 3DS screen to the big TV? Not bad actually. While it isn’t that impressive visually it looks nice enough thanks to the touch ups that were done by the team. The game’s world is very colorful and the character and enemy design is solid but also a bit weird due to the giant heads and seemingly lack of feet. Menus take some learning but function pretty well. The game has an enjoyable soundtrack but the lack of voice acting hurts it and the sound effects aren’t great. The last thing I’ll say about it is if you already played this game on the 3DS I’d say there isn’t a whole lot here to warrant another purchase especially at the current price point. It doesn’t really feature any new content so you’ll have to make up your mind on whether or not playing on the big screen or taking it with you on the Switch is worth it.
If you missed The Alliance Alive on the 3DS and enjoy JRPGs then I highly recommend you pick up The Alliance Alive HD Remastered. It’s got a great story full of interesting and varied characters along with a fun battle system and a different sort of progression system. The portable roots do show in the visuals still and the lack of voice acting is a bummer. Those who already played this on the 3DS also won’t find anything new really to see here. Newcomers should join the alliance though.
*The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is available now on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
The Alliance Alive HD Remastered$49.99
- Compelling story and fun variety of characters to meet and play as
- Big world to explore with lots of optional areas to find
- Fun battle system and the formations give you choice on how to take them on
- Progression is random but balanced
- No new content added over the 3DS version
- Still no voice acting
- Can still tell visually that this was a portable game first