PAX West 2018 Quick-Look: Left Alive

At PAX West 2018 we had a chance to sit down with Square Enix and get a closer look at Left Alive.

We haven’t seen much of Left Alive since it was announced last year at Tokyo Game Show and even then, the trailer was more of a teaser.

Left Alive, is a third-person cover shooter based in the Front Mission universe, though where it takes place in that universe isn’t something Square Enix is talking about at this time.

During a brief presentation, we got a look at some gameplay elements including crafting, decision making, and, it wouldn’t be part of the Front Mission series without being able to pilot a Wanzer.

In the world of Left Alive, ammo and other resources aren’t very plentiful. The player can craft the various items they find into usable weapons such as traps, or thrown weapons such as explosives or smoke-based weapons that will give you cover. We saw a short clip of one of the three main characters making her way through hallways while shooting at enemies and crafting traps and explosives to use against them.

Another, larger part of Left Alive is focused around rescuing people. We saw one of the main characters sneaking around an outside area in the evening when he came across some soldiers threatening to execute a small group of people. It’s the player’s choice to save them, wasting ammo and other resources in the fight, or to ignore them completely. It was stressed that every person you rescue will have an impact on the ending of Left Alive. Each of the three playable characters will have different possible endings based on which characters you save.

There are also some instances where you’ll have to reason with civilians in order to lead them to safety. We saw a clip of the player talking with a man and his daughter. The father was reluctant to trust us, and didn’t want to go with us, saying that he would rather wait for the military to arrive. However, the player talked some sense into the daughter. While she decided to come with and get herself to safety, the father stayed behind. That scene could play out a few different ways depending on the dialogue options you decide to choose while playing. From what we heard, these players won’t be offering any rewards when you help them- but they’ll appear in that character’s ending and it sounds like it might just be to find out what ended up happening to them. So if you’re hoping for a big helping hand at the end of the game from the people you helped… that’s not what this game is looking to do. Having people to rescue, with the only reward being spent resources and a “where are they now?” segment at the end of the game, in all honesty, doesn’t feel all that rewarding.

And of course, last but not least, we got a look at some Wanzer gameplay. Though the majority of the game takes place on foot, a departure for the Front Mission series, your character will, rarely, find a Wanzer that they can pilot in order to fight against other enemy Wanzers. There are a variety of weapons depending on the Wanzer you’re able to pilot. In the video we saw, our Wanzer had two machine guns and would charge at the enemy Wanzers, smashing them into things like cargo containers.

What we saw of Left Alive was an early development build, which I would consider a good thing. It means there’s still time for improving it. The game in its current state is rough. The graphics and animations aren’t at the level of quality you would expect from a Square Enix title, and the gameplay, at this time, also doesn’t seem terribly interesting or different from other third person shooters. It looks all around bland.

Hopefully the team at Square Enix will have enough time to give this game the polish it needs before it launches.