Although the focus in 2018 saw many Nintendo 3DS games switching to the Switch, the little handheld still saw a steady supply of quality games well past the point where many people had already moved on. As such, The Alliance Alive which released in the West that year never really took off despite having some fairly significant names working as writers and developers from the SaGa and Suikoden series. Now Cattle Call and NIS America are giving fans RPG fans another chance to see what the game has to offer in the form of The Alliance Alive HD Remastered but is this chance worth taking?
Thousands of years prior to the beginning of The Alliance Alive HD Remastered’s story the world was torn asunder when the Daemons invaded the human world and took over, separating the lands into separate regions divided by a magical barrier called “The Great Barrier.” With each region suffering various types of calamities, humanity became the lowest race in their world with Daemons ruling and beastmen taking up the middle position.
In interesting fashion, and true to the alliance aspect of the game’s name, players will find that rather than following any single hero or even one party, players will instead see the story jumps around between three groups of characters before eventually bringing everyone together to form an alliance. These characters run the entire gamut of races and provide some rather unique outlooks on the game’s story aspects as human characters may see certain things different from a girl that happens to be Daemon nobility.
While a bit of a slow burn at the start, players will quickly find this cast of characters growing on them, especially when they begin to interact with one another and we get a chance to see their personalities grow throughout the ever growing conflict. By giving nearly every character plenty of interesting bits of personality, and giving them time to actually grow throughout the game, their parts in the story feel more organic and it is much easier to become invested in the world and the story that unfolds. Unfortunately, given the fact that the game still features no voice over in any form, there are a number of important scenes that lack impact.
One of the first things that players will realize when playing The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is that it unfolds and plays a bit different from your standard RPG. Plenty of the standard features are there, with players being able to explore an over world and various locations teeming with enemies that, when touched, will drop them into a turn based battle. That is basically where these similarities come to an end however as players will find that their party members do not level up in a traditional manner. Instead, the focus is placed more on a character’s equipment and their various abilities.
While the end of combat will still reward the entire party with Talent points as well as the chance to, seemingly at random, gain a boost to their HP or SP, most advantages will occur while fighting. By attacking using certain weapon types a character can awaken to new skills that can allow them to use a special weapon skill or a magic spell and the more these abilities are used, the stronger they become or the higher chance they have at unlocking an additional ability. The randomness of this system can feel a little frustrating at times but it allows for players to adjust their party as needed without too much restriction. Along those same lines players can use aforementioned Talent points to unlock various passive bonuses that range from being overall boosts to just standard buffs for a character when using certain weapon types.
Players can form various formations with their party members, with there being three lines of placement that not only change how much damage they deal and receive but also how often they end up being attacked. These formations can be formed ahead of time and then swapped around during combat should the need arise, allowing for players to better adjust to the flow of battle by easily shifting their party members from Attacking, Guarding, or Supporting depending on what is needed at the time. Of course, this will take a bit of trial and error but don’t worry too much, The Alliance Alive HD Remastered often feels a bit too easy for its own good. One noteworthy feature that The Alliance Alive HD Remastered includes is the ability to speed up combat should the player wish. There are various levels of acceleration and these higher speeds make fighting against simpler enemies and grinding various boosts a much easier task than your standard RPG.
Another way players can gain various boosts comes in the form of Guilds. As players travel the lands they will be able to unlock and even establish various towers throughout the world and these guilds will provide various buffs to the player’s party as long as they are nearby. These can range from unlocking new techniques in battle to providing extra information about enemies. It is interesting to note that players can even recruit various NPCs to provide bonuses to guilds if they so choose.
Visuals & Audio
The biggest, and in fact pretty much the only difference between this release and the original happens to be the fact that the game has seen a solid improvement in the graphical department. Originally limited heavily by the handheld 3DS The Alliance Alive HD Remastered now is presented in a more visually pleasing manner that still shows its limitations but is certainly a solid improvement that breathes some new life into the game. It also helps that the character designs are quite solid and the various environments players will explore are incredibly varied in nature.
It is interesting to note that although the game continues to feature a solid soundtrack and decent enough sound effects, the game continues to suffer from the complete lack of voice acting. As mentioned before, the title does not include voice work in any form which was another limitation of its origins on the 3DS, and it is certainly disappointing to find that even with this re-release there was no effort to provide any voice work to the cast of characters.
The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is an interesting release as it still holds all of the charm and unique gameplay mechanics that it had when it was originally released but also doesn’t really offer too much else other than a better presentation compared to its 3DS counterpart. This means that those who have already played the original will likely find this release only worthwhile if they want to experience the story once again in a better looking manner though those who have yet to experience what The Alliance Alive HD Remastered has to offer will find a well-written storyline that features some unique gameplay mechanics that help set it apart from other RPGs of its kind.