- System: PS4, PC
- Publisher: Square Enix
- Developer: ilinx Inc, Square Enix
- Release Date: March 5, 2019
- Rating: M for Mature
- Genre: Stealth, Action
- Players: 1
- Official Website: https://left-alive.square-enix-games.com/na
Who it Caters to
What to Expect
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 Controlling any of the three heroes feels painful as you struggle with stiff movement and outdated movement concepts.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:
- 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
- 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