Ha ha ha ha staying alive, staying alive
Front Mission is a long-standing Japanese franchise that, despite offering a blend of turn-based tactical roleplaying and a strong narrative, never really found a Western audience. Front Mission: Evolved heralded the series’ transformation to a third-person shooter. Left Alive, set in the same universe, follows the pattern.
We start our trek through Novo Slava, an occupied Russian city, as a soldier hiding from enemy forces. She is crafting a molotov cocktail while trying to sneak around a warehouse undetected.
“The main draw of this game is how you take on very well-equipped, militarised enemies with a very limited selection of weapons and ammunition, forcing you to think on your feet,” game director Toshifumi Nabeshima explains. You start on the battlefield with nothing and need to gather the materials necessary to construct weapons, smoke grenades, and sensors for detecting enemies.
The objective of Left Alive is to make it out of the city as three characters: a soldier, a police officer, and an escaped convict. Nabeshima-san emphasises you need to pick your battles wisely: “Resources are scarce; you may run out before defeating someone. If you do, that person may leave something new for you to use, however.”
Sometimes a wanzer, Front Mission’s version of a mech, may spot you. Once that happens, you need to engage it in a mech battle. Due to their hulking, slow nature, this will be one of Left Alive’s toughest challenges.
It’s not all about you – there are civilians to rescue. Sometimes you need to convince them to follow you first, either with words or actions.
Unfortunately, Left Alive looks visually rough for a game due to be released early 2019. It’s grey and jagged around the edges, not yet showcasing the full potential of the great designers on the project, such as Metal Gear designer Yoji Shinkawa. There’s still little detail available about the overall narrative, but what we have seen looks like standard fare that could use more tension.
“THE MAIN DRAW IS TAKING ON WELLEQUIPPED ENEMIES WITH VERY LIMITED RESOURCES.”
The wanzer (mech) battles make a difficult game even more challenging – expect to die often.
Above Since the game is all about survival rather than confrontation, stealth is encouraged but not absolutely mandatory.