Live A Live (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 26.07.2022

Review for Live A Live on Nintendo Switch

Live A Live has finally come westward. Originally a Super Nintendo game released in 1994 in Japan, the game held a cult status and was widely loved and appreciated. However, even with its virtual console release in 2016 the game was kept exclusive to Japan. Now Square Enix and Nintendo have provided a new avenue for players to access this SNES classic in a much more modern form on Nintendo Switch. This remake is built using the new HD2D tool set used in many other SquareEnix games as of late and is thus providing a spectacular visual presentation and promising a host of new features. Can this classic remake live up to the hype?

Live A Live's story is split across multiple time periods and characters. Each chapter is interwoven with actions that contribute to the bigger overarching story and the overall ending that will ultimately play out. It's an incredibly ambitious scope for the time period the game was released. Different story eras are visually and musically distinct and feature a unique cast of characters, it's incredibly ambitious given the game's SNES origins. This is the first instance of the game appearing with an official English translation and full voiceovers in both English and Japanese. It's an impressive upgrade presenting the story to the world in its best possible quality, shy of a proper 3D remake.

Screenshot for Live A Live on Nintendo Switch

Square Enix and Nintendo have chosen to rebuild this game in the HD2D style used for Octopath Traveller and Triangle Strategy. This results in a striking visual style that looks excellent on Nintendo's hybrid console both on the TV and in handheld mode. The design is quite different from the other HD2D efforts, besides the effects suite, with characters sporting a slightly more recognisable style and shape. It uses this to recapture the character of the original game while looking leagues better. Comparing scenes directly between versions show how amazing this toolset really is, it's quite phenomenal just how this remake has been made with so much attention to detail and how much the new lighting and particle work in place enhances scenes to no end. The same goes for the redesigned character sprites and locations that drip with detail and shine. Which really helps the game's story find its footing in a more detail-rich environment while enhancing character representation, meaning interactions can be much more meaningful.

Gameplay is divided into 2 main vices, exploration and battle. Exploration is a fairly simple affair but it has some cool features. Most of the game is from a top down perspective and has some NPC interactions as well as some cool problem solving. Unlike most typical JRPGs there is a fair amount of avoiding traps and finding keys that open locations that must be backtracked. This setup compliments the large interwoven levels that each character has to explore. Each character also has a unique skill to use on the map that lends itself to the level theme. For example, the shinobi character can become invisible but stationary as a means of avoiding conflict, adding a bit of cat and mouse play to the Edo period level. It's in these scenes that key dialogue takes place and choices are made; these often have custom animations that lend the game a lot of character and life.

Screenshot for Live A Live on Nintendo Switch

Battles are initiated by walking into either events or through running into or interacting with characters in the level. The battle system is cool and unique and stands out against the crowd, it has the trappings of an SRPG and a traditional turn-based fighting system. Each character has a very different fighting style, usually accentuating features of their era. During battles players can freely move the character on their turn but doing so lets the charge metre fill on the other characters bringing their turn closer. It has a real feeling of risk and reward that many other games in the genre fail to really create. All of the attacks are punctuated with some fantastic visuals with explosive particle effects that fill the entire scene.

Screenshot for Live A Live on Nintendo Switch

The music by Shimomura Yoko is amazing with each character and area having a very unique feeling. For example, the music in the Edo period level is very traditionally Japanese but with some good game beats to keep the excitement up. It completes the atmosphere perfectly and really helps emphasise the bigger revelations in the story. These musical tracks are all enhanced over their original versions and now feature a host of instruments that really help emphasise each melody; some songs are true bangers that will likely be the base of many gaming playlists in the future. Of course the voice work is also of a high quality with both the English and Japanese performances shining through. This reviewer's preference was for the Japanese voicework as it feels a bit more natural in most settings though the English voice overs really help with the feeling of the Wild West areas.

Screenshot for Live A Live on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

The intriguing and unique premise of Live A Live is a genuine hook for players from all walks of life. This game not only has a fantasy story worthy of a SNES era Square game but it also treads an extremely up-to-date line with it's cool turn based combat and choice/morality systems. Players will be blown away by the content on show in this awesome RPG and it cannot be recommended enough. A great game turned masterpiece with this fantastic remake!


Square Enix




Turn Based RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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