Live a Live: the resurrection of an extraordinary JRPG (Gamekult)

Live to Live is a game that dates back to 1994 and the Super Famicom. At the time, he demonstrated marginality, mixing several styles and different gameplay. The title comes back to life 28 years later and arrives in Europe, in search of light.

Bringing games out of an old box, dusting them off and bringing them up to date can be a real headache for studios. Make a remake is indeed a double-edged bet. Especially when it comes to a title forgotten for almost 30 years and which seemed like a UFO at the time. Live to Live is both similar and different from other games, its particularity residing in the mixture of genres. Sometimes visual novelsometimes a fighting game, he also does not forget to recall his Japanese origins, both in the frame and in the gameplay.

Odio’s Bizarre Adventure

The construction of the story is also surprising since it is presented in chapters that are quite distinct from each other, all taking place in different historical periods. The common point of this narrative fresco, from prehistory to the distant future, remains the protagonist with a changing pace but permanently presenting the letters of the Latin word odiomeaning hate, in his name. Each chapter tells its own story and, of course, each of them has its own specificities of gameplay. Most are successful, but the few weaker episodes rub off on the overall rhythm of the game. As Gamekult points out, the most impressive work remains the quality of the modernization of the project.

Because if the depth of Live to Live has remained intact, its area is less so. A work that is due to the Asano team and the Historia studio, first of all with 2D HD, which is enjoying flourishing success due to its skilful blend of retro charm and visual quality. Added to this is extensive audio work, whether in the convincing (Japanese) dubbing or in the re-orchestration of the game’s entire soundtrack. The bodywork has certainly been refreshed, but the heart of this time capsule remains unpublished and out of of the common.

Keep in mind that when playing Live to Live, we indulge in an extraordinary game. If it did not have a Western edition in 1994, it was because it was shaking up codes that Japan could barely impose with the JRPG. In the fights, we still feel this Japanese influence, but the particular individuality of the chapters, which can be carried out out of order, gives a feeling of renewal. So when a chapter turns out to be less powerful than the previous one, disappointment combines with the feeling of betrayal, a remnant of the past. Live to Live demonstrates during its little thirty hours of play a whole range of disproportions, both in the quality of the chapters and in the gameplays changing or even in these fights oscillating between enjoyment and frustration. The resurrection not without flaws orchestrated by Squaresoft is surprising, but convincing.

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