Live A Live (SNES) review
"An uneven experience to end all uneven experiences."
Once upon a time, I remember being super-excited after discovering just how many retro RPGs never made it to America back in the day. I played most that did cross the ocean, so I was thrilled to find out how many additional options awaited me. Live A Live, a 1994 release from Square, seemed like one of the most original and intriguing of the lot. Players start by advancing through seven scenarios, each featuring a different character. Then they visit a different world to work with an eighth protagonist before finishing the game in that same world, with help from an all-star team comprised of the previous heroes. Each scenario is dramatically different, despite the battle system they all share (unlike Saga Frontier on the PlayStation, where you find yourself clearing the same few dungeons with every single character, simply to acquire the best spells and equipment).
The battle system itself also differs from the norm. Players and enemies are portrayed on a grid, where they move around to set up attacks. As you gain levels, your guys pick up new battle skills that have wildly varying areas of effect. Many are only good in close-quarter melee situations, but several can strike foes along a long diagonal line or on specific squares scattered around the field. Enemies possess similar abilities, so your best character can easily get himself fried because he moved to the wrong place and landed directly in the range of a foe's most brutal attack. There are plenty of healing items and a few characters learn life-saving techs, but most of these battles find your party remaining on the offensive from beginning to end. You're fully recharged after every battle, too. The key is to pulverize foes before they do the same to you, which makes battling in this game really fun.
Staff review by Rob Hamilton (July 22, 2017)
Rob Hamilton is the official drunken master of review writing for Honestgamers.
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