Left Alive - PlayStation 4 Review

Not a solid experience

Game Info:

  • System: PS4, PC
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Developer: ilinx Inc, Square Enix
  • Release Date: March 5, 2019

Who it Caters to

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It has been nearly ten years since we have seen a game from the Front Mission story and that has pained us incredibly here at Honey’s Anime. That’s why when news of a story set in the Front Mission universe came out, our eyes opened as if we entered a candy store filled with delicious treats. Unfortunately, the game that did release to us called Left Alive quickly removed that excitement and instilled something else in our hearts…sorrow. What went wrong with Left Alive and why isn’t it the game we had hoped for? You’ll find out below as we review Left Alive for the PS4.

What to Expect

Left-Alive-game-300x376 Left Alive - PlayStation 4 Review
Left Alive is a stealth/action game from a development team who has dabbled with series like Metal Gear Solid, Ghost in the Shell: Arise and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Players will take on the role of three individuals who must survive in a deadly war using whatever they have on hand. Players will need to use stealth when faced with hundreds of troops and the all-powerful Wanzers or unleash devastation—when they can—using an arsenal of weapons and creatable tools. Death comes for you often in Left Alive and only those with quick thinking and survival instincts will make it out of this war alive…


Left-Alive-game-300x376 Left Alive - PlayStation 4 Review
Left Alive takes place in the year 2127. A war-torn country continuously suffers and various faction fight for power making the struggle that much harder for those involved. You will take control of three different war survivors as they scour through a ruined city in attempts to stay alive. Will you fight with all that you have or use stealth to eliminate threats from the shadows? Make your moves wisely to live and stay alive…


Left-Alive-game-300x376 Left Alive - PlayStation 4 Review
Left Alive, if we could compare to a Front Mission game, echoes themes from Front Mission Evolved which released back in 2009. Unlike Front Mission Evolved though, Left Alive is a title that mirrors its developer crew who worked on games like Metal Gear Solid and Xenoblade Chronicles X. You’ll take control of three war survivors who each must fight the enemy for varying goals and ideals. Let us start off by saying that Left Alive works best during its story driven sequences. The cast of voice actors clearly aren’t rookies and put a lot of expression into their acting and narrative execution. The story also works quite well giving those who know their Front Mission lore a nice experience from perspectives outside the main war and usual factions. Add to that solid character model designs and a beautiful art style and you would think Left Alive would be game of the year contender. Unfortunately, what we’re about to write from here on won’t be as pleasant as what we mentioned a moment ago. Left Alive is far from a solid video game and you’ll find out why as we review it for the PS4.

At its core, Left Alive is a meld of stealth based gameplay and third person action. Players will be dropped into the middle of a war that rages fiercely and must survive using on the field provisions as well as created tools from items found scattered across the city. Left Alive takes concepts from a million different games but never feels like a unique experience. Crafting objects is overly simple—find a can and some explosive elements and you’ll have an explosive can—and despite dozens of possible tools only a handful are something we’d deem as useful. Molotov Cocktails—for example—should be powerful tools but often just set an enemy on fire and do so little damage regardless of the difficulty setting. Enemies will stand in the fire, cry a bit and then move around unfazed by their burning trauma. The same can be said of guns which no matter the size might as well be nerf guns to these armored troopers. We occasionally had over 50 rounds of ammo and found—again on the lowest difficulty—that an enemy could sometimes take 25 shots before being downed. Melee weapons usually kill a bit faster—4 or 5 hits—but break upon constant use and show another element that doesn’t work in Left Alive…the controls.

Many of you gamers probably never heard of Winback for the PS2/Nintendo 64 consoles, but it is considered the innovator of cover based gameplay controls. Left Alive’s cover based system feels like Winback due to its clunky/awkward handling. You’ll press a button to hit cover on various objects and often do it without even wanting to. Thanks to the button mapping, rolling is also assigned to the cover button meaning there will be times you might want to roll away from a tossed grenade to find yourself slamming against a wall or car as cover. Controlling any of the three heroes feels painful as you struggle with stiff movement and outdated movement concepts. Overall, Left Alive controls like older PS2/PS3 games and often makes shooting or sneaking around feel downright sad.

We did forget to mention one silver lining—amongst a sea of problems—for the controls of Left Alive and that is when you get to ride a Wanzer. During these moments, you feel empowered in comparison to your usual spongy character who can take only four hits before being almost dead. Wanzer mechs control quite well in Left Alive and make you feel powerful as you blast away other Wanzer threats or regular soldiers. You can also pick up new weapons and pieces as you defeat enemy Wanzer units making Left Alive feel—for a brief time—like a good action mech game. Just don’t get too comfortable with Wanzer moments as they are scattered across Left Alive’s gameplay and won’t be usable as much as you’d hope.

What hurts Left Alive even more than anything else in its list of issues is the AI. We know that, in real life, you can often see a person standing at a distance, that makes sense and is understandable. What we know you can’t do—unless you have hidden Quirk-like abilities—is see a person standing behind an object miles away or see them the minute they move into sight. Left Alive’s AI is extremely strange. Often it goes from ridiculously dumb—see Molotov cocktail comment above—and then other times goes into Sword Art Online territory having enemies act as if they were embodiments of Kirito. We would pop out of a piece of cover and instantly be shot by a squadron of enemies who quickly saw us or be shot to swiss cheese by patrolling Wanzer. The AI in Left Alive is baffling as they don’t stay consistent and often just feel unfair. We get hard games like Dark Souls but those games have AI that take advantage of your follies. In Left Alive, the AI will often just know you’re behind a wall or even know you’re there the second you arrive in an open field. It makes Left Alive feel unfair and downright unplayable no matter the difficulty setting.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Left-Alive-game-300x376 Left Alive - PlayStation 4 Review
Left Alive has so much going for it. A great artist, a great team of developers with a laundry list of amazing anime and video game works and a solid set up for those who love the Front Mission series. However, due to the horrendous gameplay element of Left Alive, the whole experience becomes a testament to patience. Death will often come quickly in Left Alive and a majority of the time it won’t be because of a poorly executed plan or user error but because of weak control and AI that regularly goes from intelligent to downright unfair. Left Alive could have been the Front Mission spin off we needed for ages, but ultimately, it is a title we can’t recommend to many. If you’re a die-hard fan of stealth/action games and can forgive weak controls and gameplay, you’ll find something to like in Left Alive. Everyone else, though, will find Left Alive not worth the price of admission and best bought when it goes to the bargain bin.

Honey's Pros:

  • Interesting story of war with solid narrative
  • Decent visuals at times thanks to character models and setting
  • Wanzers control quite well the few times you get to utilize them

Honey's Cons:

  • Horrible controls that feel outdated and stiff
  • AI that frequently goes from smart, dumb and downright godlike
  • Repetitive gameplay that doesn’t ever change styles despite the three characters
  • Still looks like a PS3 era game due to most of the visuals
  • Poor checkpoint systems that change too often resulting in losses of progress
  • Not enough Wanzer moments

Honey's Final Verdict:

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We here at Honey’s Anime find it difficult to ever say a game is downright poor. Most gamers will never know the struggle a development team undergoes to produce any game as they spend years working long shifts to make their creation amazing. Nevertheless, Left Alive doesn’t utilize its strong dev team and comes out as more a train wreck of an experience than a great video game. There are parts we liked about Left Alive but as a whole experience, it’s a hard game to recommend to anyone unless you are—as we mentioned above—a die-hard veteran of the Front Mission series and need more. Are you playing Left Alive or did our review—or anyone’s review—turn you away? Comment below to let us know! For all your game reviews and article needs, be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!

Left-Alive-game-300x376 Left Alive - PlayStation 4 Review


Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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