A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While the storyline for each character varies significantly, each character perseveres against challenging odds to complete goals. Some methods used to fulfill these goals include brawling, ambushing enemies, and stealth, proving that any means will be used to fulfill tasks.
Positive Role Models
Some positive characters are scattered through each tale, and some characters try their best to do the right thing, but far too little is known about each character to tell if they're role models or not.
There's a range of ages and characters in the game, but playable characters are all male. Some female characters are included, but they're frequently secondary figures that serve to drive the plot forward.
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Ease of Play
While each character has a different setting (Wild West, outer space, prehistory, etc.), combat is a turn-based affair driven by an initiative gauge to highlight whose turn is next. Certain characters have better skills to eliminate enemies than others. The largest problem is that combat across stories is uneven, with some characters becoming vastly weaker than others. Plus, the lack of consistent fighting means that you'll have to grind for progress at the end of the game and still run into some unbeatable matchups.
Violence & Scariness
Fighting happens constantly across each story plotline but varies based on character. Players use hand-to-hand weapons, pistols, abilities, and other items to cause damage on enemies. Some blood and bodies show up as a result of fights, or in some cutscenes, but pixelated visuals limit the impact.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual innuendo and comments in dialogue, comments that are designed to insult characters' body parts or families. It's implied that sex happens in one story, references to sex work in another.
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Frequent use of profanity in dialogue, including "ass," "s--t," and more through every story.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some scenes take place in a bar, with implied drinking and comments about hangovers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Live A Live is a role-playing game (RPG) exclusively for the Nintendo Switch. Players take on the role of several characters scattered throughout time as they try to complete their own destinies, unaware of how their stories interconnect with each other. Combat in the game is turn based, and while the look of the combat varies from character to character, the sequences are all turn based and focus on characters using hand-to-hand combat weapons, pistols, abilities, and other weapons to defeat enemies. Some blood and bodies appear as a result of fights or in cutscenes, but the pixelation of the visuals limits the impact of the game. The older visuals don't limit some of the mature content in the game. Some scenes are set in a bar, with characters talking about hangovers and implying alcohol consumption. Sexual innuendo and comments as insults are included in dialogue, and there's implied sex in a scene as well. There's also frequent use of profanity in the dialogue, including "ass," "s--t," and more. Due to the short length of some stories, some players may become frustrated: It feels as if some characters are vastly underpowered and don't have the skills necessary to defeat enemies in battle.
Is It Any Good?
The lack of connection with characters and the unbalanced gameplay keep this RPG from being a standout title for anyone but the most dedicated adventure fans. Live A Live feels like a game that's been captured and frozen in time, from its turn-based gameplay to its retro visuals. Its clever twist lies in its multiple-plot structure, which not only presents unique characters, but manages to provide different gameplay themes for each tale. One story is presented like a fighting game, another leans into a stealth action title, and a third is closer to a western. The variety in play makes checking out each story engaging, but this is where some of the issues pop up. Each story is incredibly brief, running anywhere from a few hours to half an hour or so at the shortest. Unfortunately, while you're exposed to a lot of game concepts and characters, you never have enough time to build a connection with or care about any of them or their stories, which also weakens the interest in uncovering the overall plot.
Even worse, the limited amount of time spent with each character makes the combat unbalanced. Players only need to fight a certain number of times in each story to be strong enough to complete their quest, but this makes them wildly underpowered to complete the final chapter. In fact, this makes the amount of time that you have to dedicate to strengthening your characters for the final chapter somewhat haphazard: You're not entirely sure if some are more effective than others, and it feels like a lot of story padding. Couple this with random fights that are over in the blink of an eye, and some that are complex struggles, and the leveling system just feels arbitrary. At least the tactical nature of the combat is good. Players can determine if enemies are vulnerable or resistant to strikes, and can plan the best way to attack targets, as long as they're possibly willing to take a hit for the perfect strike. Overall, Live A Live promises a unique era-spanning adventure, but unless you're a classic RPG fan willing to put up with frustration, or you connect with the tactical strategy in the title, you may want to explore a different saga altogether.
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