The view of gamers is indeed focused on projects that look super ambitious on this one. How come? He borrowed the talent Yoji Shinkawa – illustrator of the Metal Gear Solid artwork that has a distinctive style for photographing the three main characters of Left Alive. This step is seen as an attempt by Square Enix to concoct a game that would be positioned as the “main competitor” of the MGS series from Konami whose future is indeed increasingly unclear. They also recruit promising behind-the-scenes talent, such as the figure of Toshifumi Nabeshima from Armored Core as the person in charge. All are formulated in semi-open-world game design in trailers and screenshots, showing a chaotic urban war. On paper, Left Alive looks like a “sure” game with a successful formula. But in fact? It’s exactly the opposite.
So what is Left Alive actually offering? Why do we call it a game that can be called a cruel joke? This review will discuss it more deeply for you.
Taking the Front Mission universe, Left Alive takes settings in a city called Novo Slava in 2127. By canon, the story timeline means being between Front Mission 5 and Front Mission Evolved.
You will act as three characters who are “trapped” in this super complicated situation. Where the Novo Slava, the city that was supposed to be the border between two countries – Ruthenia and Garmonia ended up falling apart. After the conflict had stiffened for some time, Garmonia suddenly invaded Ruthenia by taking control of Novo Slava first with full military force. Not only did they use infantry, they also sent heavy weapons, including the Wanzers to do so.
As can be predicted, slowly but surely, these three characters will intersect on Left Alive. Slowly but surely, you will also begin to open the veil of mystery that the likelihood of a war that occurred in Novo Slava is not just a war to fight for territory. Those who appear to the surface indicate that there is something deeper and more complex, happening here.
So, what really happened in the Novo Slava war? What kind of conflicts do these three characters have to pass? What kind of conspiracy is going on behind the scenes of this devastating war and death? Of course you must complete Left Alive to get answers to these questions.
Bad, there are no more appropriate words to explain the overall experience offered by the presentation by Left Alive, especially from the visual side. Even the super cool artwork formulated by Yoji Shinkawa will not be able to save him. Left Alive feels like a released game, late one or even two generations. A game that you should enjoy in the Playstation 2 or Playstation 3 era.
Sound brutal? Believe it or not, this fact is what you swallow as a bitter pill when enjoying this one stealth survival game. You will meet with so many low-resolution textures that “greet” you from all angles of existing city design, from rocks to Wanzer – mecha which should be the visual attraction of this game. A visual effect that should make things more dramatic, from the light emanating from the darkness to the effect of the fire that appears when molotov cocktails are also handled so badly. Simply put, Left Alive brings visuals that should fascinate you if it’s released, maybe 10 years ago. There is a strong impression that this game was developed with a low budget.
The character model offered is also the same. Even though it looks stunning when the cut-scene runs, the same quality details are not seen when you play them directly during gameplay. You will also meet many moments where a new texture will appear after a split second you enter an area. But waiting for this texture to load even if it does not necessarily guarantee a better visual experience, where it still looks like a game that is left behind generations. The same thing happens in a variety of weather effects that instead make it more charming, it produces the opposite effect.
But one of the most ridiculous parts of Left Alive in terms of presentation seems to lie in the motion animation itself. Although it must be admitted that in some parts, especially when meeting Wanzer who was on patrol in the city managed to leave the impression of a powerful and heavy machine from the movement, most of the animation of this game was stiff and uncomfortable. From character movements when playing that do not reflect modern products, to the sensation of using Mecha / Wanzer which feels messy. Motion animation systems, attack animations, damage-affected animations, and animation using weapons feel like an outdated product. What’s worse? They can’t even handle the flashlight effect properly. This ridiculous presentation seemed impressive as he was a low budget game handled by amateur developers.
The same thing unfortunately, happens on the audio side. Fortunately, the OST that accompanies you, especially in the main menu can be said to be quite satisfying and effective in building the atmosphere that Left Alive offers. But for the other side? Being in the shadow of the same quality. The sound of the effects of footsteps, attacks, weapons, to voice acts that should strengthen the side of the story cannot be said to meet existing quality standards. But for the last business – voice acts, he is still in a stage that can be tolerated.
So with all of these combinations, the Left Alive presentation must be admittedly disappointing. That aside from their big idea to build a “playground” that focuses on chaotic and devastating urban warfare situations, none of the presentation’s sides are stunning. The behind-generation visual and audio quality actually impresses strongly that the development process is really tied to a small budget. This is a game that might look stunning 10 years ago, not now.
The concept that is actually stunning
Before we go deeper to talk about Left Alive and why we should perish and not be left alive, it seems more balanced if we also talk about what the game has done. Believing or not, like the gold mining process where you are looking for a shiny yellow metal with a handful of land that is of no value at all, Left Alive actually has a good concept. A concept that in our eyes will obviously be charming if it can be handled more perfectly than the process of executing the elements that support it. An actual concept, can be stunning.
What concept is that? That it was built as a survival stealth game amid an urban war theme that is indeed impressive, an invasion that should be. The three characters that you use will not carry many different things except the weapons that they can get on their way. But Left Alive managed to concoct the right conditions to impress the three indeed being trapped in a complicated situation beyond their control and there was nothing they could do but survive and help as many survivors as possible. Left Alive managed to do that.
In concept that you read above, there is clearly something that Square Enix wants to offer on Left Alive. Its foundation as a survival stealth game in an open world that you can explore is something that we want to see more implemented in the future. The concept that might feel similar to MGS V: The Phantom Pain, but feels more challenging and more demanding of caution.
So, if Left Alive really has a concept with a class like this, why is it scorned? Why did we choose the sub-title above? The simple way to explain it is the fact that in the end, that’s all he has to offer. Left Alive is a game with a charming concept that is wrapped in bad execution on all other sides.
A Cruel Joke
The disappointing quality of Left Alive does not only lie in the presentation that we have talked about before, which in fact reinforces the impression that it is formulated with a limited budget. Complaints are actually rooted in aspects that should make it charming – gameplay. Believe it or not, there are many designs in this game that really count as absurd.
The biggest problem with this game is the strong impression that the developer doesn’t understand how to mix the stealth game as it should. A tense stealth game, but on the other hand it feels modern and rational to take. Currently offered by Left Alive is a stealth game formulated with the approach of a third person shooter game from the mechanical side. The result is a game that is design, confusing and irrational.
No need to dive too far. Believe it or not, regardless of its status as a stealth based game, Left Alive doesn’t have a stealth takedown system at all. That’s right, you CANNOT move behind your opponent and finish them using features that are supposed to be “standard” for all games that have this stealth element. Imagine a stealth game WITHOUT stealth takedown, what kind of genius has a brilliant mind to present a system like this.
Other extra problems? Left Alive does not offer any alternative solution to cover this Stealth Takedown absence. If there are enemies that block your path and it is impossible for you to pass without attracting attention, you now only have 2 solutions: hit him using a melee weapon or shoot him with your firearm. Two concepts that both have their own problems, again to support Left Alive as a game that has a strong identity in stealth based gameplay.
Okay, what if you rely on firearms for example? Congratulations, because you meet with other flawed elements that also have a problem compared to other stealth based games. First problem, none of the weapons you get have silencers. That’s right, there are no silencers or silent weapons! This means that if you want to kill the enemy before your eyes, all your weapons will sound and your position will be discovered. The second problem that is even more severe? Left Alive does not carry the system 1 headshot = 1 kill which is actually the standard for stealth based games. To kill just one enemy, you can issue 4-5 headshot bullets. This system without instant death makes everything you do with your own firearm lead to open warfare, which with a rigid animation system will be another nightmare.
All of them are covered with an AI system which can be concluded, inconsistent. Sometimes it’s difficult to predict what they can and can’t do. In one situation, you who walk down for example can pass them from close range without them knowing it at all. But in other situations, enemy AI suddenly becomes so sensitive and responsive that you can realize your position from afar. The worst part is when you are dealing with a Sniper that does occupy a high location. First, you don’t have a standard weapon that can reach and finish them from afar. Second? They have eyes so sharp to aim at you from a distance and inform you of your location, even though you have played as safe as possible. The range of sounds that the NPC can hear is also inconsistent, where sometimes they silently hear your firearm at close range, while in other conditions it immediately engulfs you when you shoot it from a distance. Only psychics can predict the behavior of AI in this game.
These combinations of elements make Left Alive end up being a stealth game with messy mechanics. A stealth game without mechanical stealth support is an amateur design that makes you curious and keeps throwing questions, “What does the designer really think?”.
So, is Left Alive appropriate to look at? It doesn’t seem to be our answer. That despite all the things he wants to offer, he feels like an outdated game that is confused with his own identity.
Like a cruel joke, there are no more clear sentences to explain what Square Enix has to offer with Left Alive. Basically, you can see the potential about the concept that he wants to offer. A stealth gameplay-based survival game in the midst of an urban war that does require intelligence and a specific strategy to solve. But unfortunately, everything ends up being a big disaster. Left Alive comes with quality as if it was handled by amateur developers with a limited budget.