Release Date: 10/8/2019
Publisher: NIS America
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4,
Review By: Roger Harper
Disclaimer: Review copy provided by NIS America. We are not sponsored by NIS America in any way
Furyu’s 2018 RPG Outing, The Alliance Alive, has made it’s way to modern consoles.. Originally launched on the Nintendo 3DS, The Alliance Alive was well received by fans upon it’s 2018 worldwide release, after having released in Japan in 2017. This review is based on my time with the Nintendo Switch version of the game. How does this upgraded version of the traditional style RPG hold up? Let’s dive in.
The Alliance Alive begins in a divided world. Continents have been split apart by the Daemon race, who leave Beastfolk to rule over humans. In addition, they have also sealed away the sun – and it has been raining for a thousand years. The adventure starts off with Galil and Azura – the latter of whom desires to see the legendary blue sky. Not long after, your perspective of the game shifts to another set of characters – a curious deamoness - Vivian who wants to see and learn more of the human world, accompanied by her servant, Ignace. Finally, it shifts to a human servant to deamons, Gene. About ten hours into the adventure, your characters’ stories finally come together and your party of nine sets off for the second act of the game.
While the story is fine, it seems to lack any sense of urgency as far as the majority of the games’ events are concerned, which falls on very mixed pacing to the story itself. Where the game does shine however, is in its’ characters. All the main protagonists are immediately likeable and interesting. I felt invested in the game because of the characters themselves and loved the flexibility the game gives you in how to develop these characters in battle. In particular, as much as I was enjoying my time with Galil and Azura with their intriguing storyline, and was sad at first when the story shifted away from them, I became particularly fond of Vivian, Ignace, and Tiggy, who had great personalities – sometimes over the top in the best of ways.
The battle system in the game is a good mix of being very traditional, with a touch of uniqueness. The battling is strictly turn based. There is no form of ATB (active time battle) here. Everyone in your party, and the enemies act, then the next turn begins. I really like the equipment system here. Each character can equip one or two weapons. As you use your weapons, you gain new skills to use. As long as you continue to use the same type of weapon – for example, I was learning great sword skills with Galil – your skills will carry over to that next great sword you use. There are a lot of unique weapon types with lead to several different skills to use in battle. Each skill consumes a different number of SP, which restores when you use basic attacks. If you use a skill frequently, that skill itself will level up and become more powerful.
One of my favorite aspects of the battle system is ignition mode. If your characters continue to take damage in battle, they will enter ignition mode. With ignition mode, you gain access to an extremely powerful attack (Which can often just be an absolute boss killer – there are many battles that ended very quickly because of these attacks). Be careful not to abuse this however! Upon using that attack, the weapon you use to execute the attack will break and can no longer be used. This can be very dangerous if you’re deep in a dungeon and you don’t have a backup supply of weapons.
The level up system is also quite unique in this game. Your HP and SP raise occasionally. Aside from that, you gain talent points in battle to use toward proficiency with your different weapon and spell times. These points can be used to help lower the SP costs of your skills, help learn new skills faster, or increase your SP restoration between battles. Your HP also restores after each battle.
The art style game is for the most part, charming. There are a few drab towns, particularly the starting area, where your surroundings and settings are a bit dull and boring – but it lends itself properly to the setting of the game in the world where it always rains. This is really just a personal nitpick that I don’t like the art style there.
My biggest complaint with the game is the music. I first assumed the issue I had was a bug with the game and will hopefully be addressed soon with a patch. However, after speaking with a representative of NIS America, it was confirmed to me that it was actually the way the sound had been designed. Through most of the game, anytime I would enter battle, the battle music would not play – instead, the world/area map theme for where I was would just continue playing. Even after winning the battle, there would be no victory fanfare, just the continued loop of the area theme as I exited battle. This, to me, comes off as complete laziness on the behalf of the developer to not include battle and victory themes for the majority of the game. In addition to this, none of the tracks I heard stood out as memorable.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with The Alliance Alive – but as someone who is very much into music (my full-time job is as a music teacher) – I really have a hard time overlooking the issues with the games’ soundtrack. It’s a fun battle system, with a good story and great characters however, with a pretty good graphical style.
Typically, this is a game I recommend to fans of the genre ONLY. If you’re looking to play an RPG for the first time, this isn’t the starting point (If this is you, go check out Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy IX, or Dragon Quest XI) – but I do encourage you to visit this later once you have more experience with the genre, as it is a quality title with charming characters that are deserving of the attention of any fan of the genre.