The Alliance Alive HD Remastered (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Gabriel Jones 04.10.2019 4

Review for The Alliance Alive HD Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Ever since the cataclysmic Dark Current over a millennium ago, mankind has existed only to serve the Daemons. All attempts at resistance have been met with severe punishment. Enforcers at every corner haul away anyone who dares to dream of sunlight. Indeed, no living human has ever seen the sun. Perhaps it never existed in the first place. However, deep inside long-forgotten ruins, unbeknownst to everyone, there lies a hidden painting. It's a portrait of a majestic ark, flying through the deep blue sky. Inspired by this wondrous piece, Azura and Galil join up with the resistance, and prepare to face an evil that defies description. If all this sounds a little familiar, then perhaps you're already acquainted with the excellent RPG The Alliance Alive. Remastered in HD, this epic adventure has been given new life for the Nintendo Switch.

With its well-written storyline, unique world, and SaGa-styled character progression, The Alliance Alive left a noticeable impact on the Nintendo 3DS. If nothing else, this critic was a huge fan of it. Dedicated Cubed3 readers might recall the glowing review that was posted last year. Now that the remastered edition is arriving to current generation consoles, an interesting opportunity has presented itself. One of the few privileges afforded to videogame reviewers is the chance to revisit titles. Perhaps this second look can dredge up some new insight.

Let this start by looking at the elements of this RPG that hold up to increased scrutiny. Chief among them is the delightful cast. All of the characters have endearing qualities, and their interactions with one another are both pleasant and humorous to witness. Professor Tiggy Alstein, the genius inventor, is especially amusing. She makes a great foil for Vivian and Ignace, the daemons with the wildly divergent personalities. Robbins is a secret character that one should absolutely seek out. Aside from being a powerful ally, his random interjections in cut-scenes are hilarious. Much of the dialogue is light-hearted, but without relying on tired tropes. For one thing, Vivian's bust size is never brought up in a conversation. Altogether, there's a level of wittiness here that isn't often seen in the genre.

The world our heroes inhabit is one filled with rain-drenched valleys, active volcanos, and even islands that are suspended in the sky. Traversing these environments on foot isn't always possible, therefore numerous modes of transportation are made available. They lend the journey an interesting wrinkle. The ornithopter, for example, is a vehicle capable of limited flight. After climbing the highest peaks, the player-character can reach new areas, by hovering to them. Then there's the massive Ark. Its sea and air capabilities are un-matched. Discovering all of this world's secrets can take quite a long time, but the rewards are always worth it.

Screenshot for The Alliance Alive HD Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Next up is the battle-system. The bulk of the strategy is going to consist of skilful usage of formations and character positioning. Basically, if someone has a shield, then you'll want that person to take a defensive position. By making them the dedicated "tanks," they can deflect attacks meant for nearby characters. Healers work best in the support position, mainly because they get a boost in speed. In matters of life and death, healing spells must always be faster than a monster's attack. Though a character's stats remain mostly unchanged for the duration of the adventure, frequent battles will increase their maximum HP and SP - SP is required for the massive array of weapon skills and spells, which are also strengthened through constant use.

When it comes to war, nothing is ever set in stone. In his previous run of the game, this critic gave Vivianne the largest axe, and sent her on a berserker tear through anything that got in her way. Since her stats are geared more towards sorceries, this wasn't exactly an ideal plan. Nevertheless, thanks to the skill-up system, she crushed all of her enemies in no time at all. A nominal amount of grinding is usually enough to overcome any statistical deficiency. However, players seeking more of a challenge can always focus on battling as little as possible, relying solely on optimal equipment setups and positioning to stay alive. In short, there's a ton of flexibility in the various subsystems on offer.

They say virtue is its own reward, but in The Alliance Alive, it's hard to ignore the monetary gains that being a do-gooder yields. Through the linking of various towers, which are known as guilds, you can establish a network that spans the entirety of the world. In time, you can recruit NPCs to work in these towers, which increases the guild's level and yields more benefits. Completing side-quests typically awards more recruits, allowing players to decide their own rewards. It's a fantastic system that's designed to ensure everyone will see as much of the world as possible.

Screenshot for The Alliance Alive HD Remastered on Nintendo Switch

In the real world, free time is rapidly becoming a luxury, so it's better to embrace products that offer a lot of conveniences, and this RPG sort of sets the standard by featuring a customizable battle-speed. With two taps of the right trigger, encounters will fly by at four times the normal speed. While the animators should be commended for their great work, having the option to zoom through fights is also essential, especially these days. Handy menu shortcuts allow players to bring up any and all pertinent information. The quick-save function is also really nice. After some story events, players are even allowed to "rush" back to specific locations, completely skipping overworld traversal. This saves maybe a few minutes over the course of an entire play-through, but it's still a nice feature.

In order to re-establish the balance of criticism, it's time to look at those aspects that haven't held up quite as well. Chief among them are the dungeons. Early on, there's a solid variety of locales to explore, with a few even offering neat gimmicks. Most of the time, however, they merely consist of hallways and monsters. The side-content tends to be particularly egregious. A number of optional areas are little more than a single room with one or several beasts to fight. Devil Lairs, which tend to be found near the Dark Current, are a bit more intriguing. There are tons of high-level monsters to fight, and they become stronger over time. On the bright side, your potential rewards will increase. Quick-save is also disabled while exploring these dreaded locales, so they aren't easily cheesed. Altogether, though the dungeons aren't all that memorable, at least they aren't flat-out bad.

Screenshot for The Alliance Alive HD Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Some might also struggle to appreciate the numerous scripted sequences that occur over the course of the story. A climatic mid-journey encounter will require everyone in the alliance to be sufficiently-armed, else a 'game over' is practically assured. Having to stop and train the underused heroes for an hour or two is mildly inconvenient. There's also a sequence where Vivian and Ignace have to deal with a lot of tough foes, all by their lonesome. These events offer a bit of variety, but can also be a nuisance, depending on one's approach. The rest of the experience is much more freeform and lenient, however.

There is one last issue of note. Try to avoid too much grinding, or else you'll end up sleepwalking through much of the later parts. While The Alliance Alive does take some cues from the Romancing SaGa series, there isn't any battle-scaling to speak of. This is most definitely a boon for casual RPG fans, but veterans might want to be wary about becoming too strong too quickly. The over-world is filled with optional boss-level monsters, and they can be easily farmed to boost skill-levels to absurd heights. Some restraint is required if you want this journey to remain challenging.

For the HD Remaster, FuRyu Corporation has done a great job. They've successfully ported a dual-screen handheld title to consoles, without giving up any functionality or convenience. Everything, including the lengthy guides and assorted vehicles, is always a couple button-presses away. The UI does take a little while to get used to, but it eventually becomes second-nature. In terms of graphics, the dramatic bump in resolution is immediately apparent. The original game wasn't exactly a looker, but this edition has some striking scenery at times. The increased clarity also makes a huge difference. Everything looks pretty sharp. Still, you're bound to notice more than a few low-res textures.

Screenshot for The Alliance Alive HD Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Even accounting for the passage of time, and the contempt that familiarity brings, The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is still a class act. This traditional tale offers a unique blend of fun characters and engaging exploration. The battle-system is sufficiently deep, and caters to any style of play. There are times where this journey isn't as good as it could be, but absolutely nothing about it stands out as truly awful. All in all, it's a wonderful RPG that deserves to be checked out.

Developer

Furyu

Publisher

NIS America

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date 11.10.2019   North America release date 08.10.2019   Japan release date 10.10.2019   Australian release date 11.10.2019   

Comments

I get loads of Bravely default vibes from the visuals! I need to check this game out, it sounds really quite cool

Sandy Wilson said:
I get loads of Bravely default vibes from the visuals! I need to check this game out, it sounds really quite cool

Pretty sure it was the same artist or company or something.

Is that girl a catgirl or just her hair?

Dragon0085 said:

Sandy Wilson said:
I get loads of Bravely default vibes from the visuals! I need to check this game out, it sounds really quite cool

Pretty sure it was the same artist or company or something.

Is that girl a catgirl or just her hair?


She's a daemon, but I guess you could also say that she's a foxgirl.
(She has a tail)

Gabriel PVJ Jones said:

Dragon0085 said:

Sandy Wilson said:
I get loads of Bravely default vibes from the visuals! I need to check this game out, it sounds really quite cool

Pretty sure it was the same artist or company or something.

Is that girl a catgirl or just her hair?


She's a daemon, but I guess you could also say that she's a foxgirl.
(She has a tail)

Consider me more sold on both accounts XD

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