Note – This review is based on gameplay from a Nintendo Switch Lite and Nintendo Switch Docked in tv mode.
The story of The Alliance Alive follows two characters, Galil and Azura, as they recruit friends and allies to form a large rebellion against a race of Daemons that have ruled over humans for thousands of years. The outcome of this demon’s rule was the sun and sky being completely covered leaving the world with a murky grey sky.
The story starts with a young boy named Galil and a young girl named Azura. Galil is a boy in a resistance group called the “Night Ravens” and he is usually calm and collected but can be very emotional. Azure on the other hand is spontaneous and always speaks her mind all while having Galil under her thumb. The beginning cutscene talks about how one thousand years ago, the Daemons divided the earth with the Great Barrier. Doing so split the world into realms and created laws to keep each realm under control. Since that day the world has not seen a blue sky.
The girl says many times she wants to see a blue sky. According to the boy the sky isn’t blue because of daemons that invaded their world. The blue sky is nothing but a myth and a dream for many.
Starting the Game
This is a classic turn based JRPG with a feeling closer to the Dragon Quest series.
The general objective of this game is to build up your alliance against the daemons and restore the world to what it once was many years ago. The first thing Galil and Azura are tasked with doing is meeting a man named Renzo at the Recon Guild Tower. The players must travel through the Rain Realm to get to their destination. Upon arriving, they talk about the secret letter that was delivered. They also talk about the ancient museum and how there is a big shot daemon heading their way. Rumors are saying that the ancient museum is a gate to the Daemon world, or it could be a secret weapon stashed away. Some people say that there is a ship that can travel the dark current, meaning it can travel outside the world.
After further conversation, they head to the museum after hearing a rumor that there is a painting of a blue sky there.
Look and Feel
Alliance Alive was originally released back in 2017 on the 3DS. Visually the game looks fantastic being ported from a screen that’s 400×240 in size up to the standard 1920×1080. the visuals and colors still look sharp and vivid.
The game’s updated visuals and colors remind me of old Japanese a painting art style called Ukiyo-e, the character models however do not give me this vibe. The character models are similar to the Disgaea series but with made with 3D visuals
Any player looking for a classic turn-based style like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy 7 will feel right at home with this game.
The way characters express themselves is enjoyable. They are shown with pictures above their head sort of like emoticons. This game has no voice acting so it’s a good way to really know how someone’s feelings without text. Every single character in this game is very expressive and all have personalities that really stand out.
This game has puzzles in dungeons. The first puzzle you encounter in the game is a puzzle dealing with light coming from the ceiling of the Daemon-guarded Ancient Museum. The light is bending in an odd direction and you must touch the statues in order to get it lined up right. Sometimes, puzzles are introduced as a way of satisfying folks looking for puzzles, but with no real challenge. Have no fear – the puzzles in The Alliance Alive have quite a bit of variety: from really easy to downright mind-boggling.
The battle system is very interesting. In battle you get the option to change your party formation and change weapons on the fly. Each weapon has its own set of skills and attacks and can be used during combat. With a simple press of a button you can change up your tactics dramatically.
If 2 enemies attack you at the same time, the battle is then called a battle chain. This allows the enemy to attack you at a faster speed, lowering the amount of turns the player has. If you win the battle, you get bonus talent points. Eventually you receive help from guilds you make during battles. Chain battles play a small role in a war that happens later in the game.
As you run into important people, you’re able to recruit them into the resistance as part of small factions called guilds. Guilds fight in the resistance in the war.
The plot of The Alliance Alive borrows real-world issues (represented in the unique universe they occupy, of course) such as racial tensions, socioeconomic disparity and political struggle. The everyday lives of the characters are also on regular display. All the side quests you can do and various pieces of lore in the game are fantastic. This game even has a library where you can read up on various things from the past.
This game has 26 characters that can be added to your resistance team, everyone with crazy amounts of personality so you can assume some people will clash from time to time, let’s just say the conversations with everyone are always colorful and entertaining.
Something to take note of is the fast forward option to speed up combat in the game. This came in handy plenty of times especially in boss battles. Being able to speed up the process of battle in the game allowed long tedious fights be last only minutes.
The music in the games was composed by Masashi Hamauzu, who is well known for music from the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy 13 is some of his best work and personally I think The Alliance Alive has a very memorable and beautiful soundtrack. Fans of Super Smash Bros. may also recognize the music, since he provided a few arrangements for the classic brawler series as well.
Like most classic style RPGs this gamedoesn’t give much direction on where you need to go or what objectives you need to clear. When a conversation is taking place, it is well advised to pay attention, so you do not get lost, or lack the information needed to continue your journey. Be warned – it won’t hold your hand!
There is no voice acting whatsoever. This technically isn’t a deal breaker by any means, nor does this change my opinion on the game, but it would’ve been a nice addition. This game has a lot of text and dialogue so it may have made it more enjoyable to hear everything rather than having to read the small print.
Although there are many playable characters, there are many more that are super hard to get. The last character you can get (I’ll leave this as a surprise) almost feels impossible and is very time consuming. Then again, you do feel accomplished, and the addition is worthwhile.
JRPG’s are usually not my genre of game at all and personally enjoy only a handful of them. Dragon quest 11 being my top all-time favorite with Pokémon, Riviera the promised land, and the Persona series closely following. That being said, something about this one really clicked, and I loved every moment of this game.
The Alliance Alive is fantastic entry for classic JRPGs. If you are looking for a JRPG with a fantastic story to get into, I highly recommend this game. Being someone that’s typically really picky with this genre, I believe everyone should give this a try. The Alliance Alive is available on October 8 for Windows via Steam, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4. No word on an Xbox One release, but we will keep you all posted if any news comes up about a future port.