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Review: Left Alive (PS4 Pro)

3.5

Bad

Stealth and mechs – those two words alone are enough to get your blood pumping with excitement. Consider for a moment that it’s got the talents of Toshifumi Nabeshima, Yoji Shinkawa and Takayuki Yanase who worked on this project and *Caution, the enemy is approaching*.

Left Alive is a spinoff of the Front Mission series. The fictional city of Nova Slava is under attack and it’s up to its three protagonists, Mikhail Alexandrovich Shuvalov, Olga Sergevna Kalinina and Leonid Fedorovich Osterman, to save the day. The premise is straight-forward, you need to save anyone who is left alive in this city. *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. Each protagonist has a reason for being there, but you’re not going to care. Its world might have many similarities to that popular series, but its much closer to what you would have experienced in the Metal Gear games. Metal Gear Survive to be precise.

Caution, the enemy is approaching

Marketed as both a stealth and action game, you would be daft to go the action route as you’d have to be more adept with weapons than Rambo and braver than William Wallace to make it out alive. As soon as you are spotted the enemy will rain bullets down on you from soldiers and enemy mechs before you’ve even had time to think about running in the opposite direction in this semi open-world game. *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. It’s ruthless and therefore of the utmost importance that you enter the small open-world pockets of Left Alive with stealth in mind. That would be a grand approach. Now, if only the character controls were good enough to actually deal with your forced stealth approach.

It’s a mess.

Your biggest struggle in Left Alive is going to be your control over one of the three characters. Everything is backwards. *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. From the way that each character battles to snap to cover (instead they dive all over the show and get spotted) through to being forced to press the guide button constantly to check your map whereabouts and any real-time changes that might have taken place. As soon as you enter the map screen you’ll get to see areas of vigilance mapped as blue, green, orange and red. *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. Closer to red means that you should probably avoid that area, though it could host some rare items and documents, while blue will likely be a walk in the park without blowing your cover. Press the options button (while on the map screen) and it switches to a heatmap display of where most of your enemies are situated. Everything is extremely cumbersome. However, this pales compared to some other features.

Throughout your play time you’ll find items scattered about. From Vodka bottles, to bullets to empty cans. Generally many of these items are used to distract an enemy so you can slip by, but there is a reason for collecting all these many items. *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. Find a bottle of Vodka and cloth and you have yourself a molotov cocktail. Or secure a wire, adhesive gum and explosive and you can lure enemies into a wire trap. Each and every item is made for you to push your stealth capabilities to the next level. *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. Problem is that as soon as you make use of any of these amazing items, you’re by default starting off another action sequence and in turn just angering yourself that you signed another death warrant. There is no reason to use these items unless you’re forced, which is the case in some some set scenes.

*Caution, the enemy is approaching*. You’ll often be dumped into an action sequence right after a cutscene, which leaves you uncontrollably trying to make the most of a terrible situation. The gunplay is in shambles. Logging a bullet into the head of an enemy will merely injure him a little, which in turn means you’re emptying your clip or magazine as it’s so uncontrollable. Soon you’ll run out of bullets. *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. As I found it is best to either run as fast as you can, by constantly dying and finding the best route to avoid the confrontation altogether, or take it head on with melee weapons such as a metal pipe… which ultimately also breaks the more you use it. It’s a frustrating mess. In-between all of this you’re on the lookout for painkillers, first-aid kits and more to heal yourself. *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. There is however, nothing quite as downright annoying as Koshka, your support AI.

Caution, the enemy is approaching

Each and every time an enemy looks your way, even if you’re hidden behind cover, she’ll say, “Caution, the enemy is approaching”. When you’re surrounded by enemies it’s all you constantly hear, no matter what you do. There is no way to turn her off either, so you just have to live with that fact th… *Caution, the enemy is approaching*. There are some decent mech-based set scenes, but it’s just not worth the trouble. The side missions come in the form of helping survivors and guiding them to safety by escorting them. Is there anything more downright frustrating in the world of games? I’m not so sure, but this inclusion will make me ask that question again. Should you die towards the end of a long escort mission (or in a tough area in the main missions), you’ll be reverted back to your last save (that you manually do at a save station) and checkpoints are rare and generally a messy affair.

It’s a mess. The only bit of the game that was really enjoyable was the soundtrack. The intro brought a real sense of ‘This could be the Metal Gear Solid we need’, as the music was quite epic. There are also moments in the story where you can dictate the outcome for the three characters by answering some multiple-path question, but it’s limited and not anywhere near as well implemented in something like Detroit: Become Human. Unfortunately, that’s as good as it got. Unless you hate the hours that you have left on this Earth, not even your soul will be left alive by the time you’re done.

Good

  • Decent soundtrack
  • You get space on your HDD when you delete it

Bad

  • Your AI - Caution, the enemy is approaching
  • Horrific controls
  • Escort missions aplenty

Summary

It's a stealth or action game and is rubbish at both. The AI will drive you up the wall and the three protagonists are forgettable. There is absolutely nothing, other than some beautiful artwork and a decent soundtrack, that leaves any hope alive of it being any good.
3.5

Bad

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.

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