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Review: Left Alive – alone in a war zone

Review: Left Alive – alone in a war zone

Left Alive
is the latest production created by Square Enix studio. Let’s check if the title is worth checking and if the gameplay is addictive.

Left Alive is a game that I must admit that I was waiting a lot. From the first announcements, the offer from Square Enix had potential. However, it was not used and I regret to say that Left Alive is not a good title.

Let’s start with the plot. It is not of the highest caliber. We have a conflict of the armed forces taking place in the area of ​​Novo Slava. Although the creators tried to avoid the black and white setting of the frames and motivations of the opposing armies, unfortunately they did not succeed. All plot twists are not very absorbing and the story very quickly ceases to be something we follow with enthusiasm. Instead, I found myself wanting to finish as soon as possible Left Aliveto have this game behind you. From time to time, we can choose a dialogue issue, which has an impact on the fate of the characters we meet, but unfortunately I have never had any moral dilemmas. To tell the truth, I didn’t care what would happen to the characters. I didn’t feel any connection with them. Left Alive it’s a very underdeveloped production. Square Enix studio managed to change my approach to the title by 180 degrees – like before the premiere, I was looking forward to checking Left Aliveyes, after the game was released, I got fed up with it every now and then.

This is a huge role of the game, and more precisely the artificial intelligence of encountered opponents and NPCs. Left Alive was presented as a game in which each of our decisions matters (even in the game itself, the tutorial tells us that everything we do has an impact on the lives of the people we meet and our protagonists). But I didn’t feel it. I had the feeling that whatever I would do, my actions didn’t matter in the slightest. Not only that, the production effectively discouraged me from sneaking and made me decide to complete it on the lowest difficulty level. Despite this, I was extremely tired spending long hours with Left Alive.

IN Left Alive there are two ways to play – sneaking or taking part in open combat. At least in theory. Practice shows that stealth is a completely underdeveloped element. Let’s start with the fact that the opponents have a zero-one detection system of our hero (or heroine) – they either don’t notice us at all, even when we walk right past them, or they even see us through walls. Let’s add to this the constant jumping over cars, overcoming unrealistic heights, and we get a gameplay model that effectively discourages us from taking a silent approach. I am a huge fan of stealth, but in Left Alive it was impossible to play that way. What’s more, even approaching the opponent does not allow you to get rid of him silently – the title does not allow you to stun with a melee attack or twist your neck. Instead, we have to knock down the opponent with a slide or a melee attack (e.g. with a pipe or a shovel) and then finish him off. We must therefore take part in an open fight. The situation is not made easier by the ubiquitous drones, which are able to get rid of us quickly. What’s more, if one of them detects us, he will call colleagues and other drones almost immediately to carry out a massive attack on us. All this leads to the fact that we repeatedly try to overcome sections of the route and not die on the occasion. We will die a lot of these efforts (mainly due to the unbelievable accuracy and damage dealt by enemy bullets compared to ours), but that’s not the worst of it. What disturbs the most is the feeling of helplessness, that the fault was not on our side, our lack of skills. Behind our defeat there are overly tightened AI of opponents and their bugged mobility.

So what remained is the attitude straight from shooters – brute force. Unfortunately, and here Left Alive he is unable to defend himself. Weapons at our disposal (although their assortment is quite large) do not differ in “feel” – the only differences are in the type of ammunition, weight, damage dealt and rate of fire. It doesn’t affect the shooting experience – which is mediocre. You do not feel the recoil or weight, so when firing a rifle, we do not see much difference between using this weapon and a shotgun or a pistol. The animation that we deal with in Left Alive. It cannot be denied that they are torn, as if not fully programmed. Each of the enemies we defeat throws their weapons into the air, which after some time looks quite bizarre and unreliable. Our heroes stick to the cover sluggishly and stiffly, and just a few seconds’ run is able to tire them to such an extent as if they had traveled at least several hundred miles. Just moving around the cover can also cause a lot of problems – very often I missed something as basic as a smooth transition to the corner of the cover. Unfortunately, in the work of Square Enix we have to peel off the cover, go around the corner and stick again – weak, very weak.

IN Left Alive we also have gadgets at our disposal. There are really a lot of these. There are, among others, traps – charges of gas or electricity connected with a rope, we have EMP grenades, incendiary, flash, fragmentation grenades, proximity and remotely detonated mines, Molotov cocktails, an enemy detector, a crossbow with various bolts (ordinary, incendiary, electric), first aid kits, bandages , painkillers, explosive cans – there is definitely a lot to choose from. Importantly, we will produce most of the gadgets ourselves from the resources found in the game world. Each launch Left Alive it changes the number of individual resources necessary to construct a specific item, but it does not have a significant impact on the gameplay. The raw materials are lying loose in Novo Slava, but when picking up items, it is worth paying attention to our character’s capacity. It cannot carry everything we want, its pockets and backpacks have a predetermined capacity. We can, of course, increase it by looking for better backpacks, but we will not avoid a situation in which we will have to decide what to throw away and what to take. Eventually, I realized that despite the huge assortment of gadgets, I keep using a few basic ones. The game in no way encourages you to change the devices used and all the clashes can be completed in a simple way: Molotov cocktail, shooting whatever you can, fragmentation grenade, shooting, cocktail and so on. If we are not driven by the idiotic AI of our opponents on the way to the passion of the shoe, of course.

The game also includes searching for survivors. In almost each of the dozen or so missions that we will go through, we will be able to save a few civilians remaining in the war zone. After finding such a person (and persuading him to come with us, he can also kill himself if the conversation does not go well) we usually approach him, press the square and after a short conversation he will try to go to the shelter. We have little influence on the operation of this NPC – pressing the square next to it will switch the NPC between moving and standing, allowing us to clear the area. If we don’t, the soldiers will be alerted and kill the survivor. However, it provides such a small dose of emotions that I quickly stopped worrying about saving the survivors and focused on the main storyline – which, as I wrote earlier, is not the best

I must also mention the last component of the game – the Wanzers. In several missions, we can sit at the controls of a large mechanical walking machine and wreak havoc in the ranks of our opponents. We can use rifles, rocket launchers (also targeted) and melee combat. Clashes of mechs, although simple, can have fun and forget about the rest of the flaws Left Alive. It is a pity that we do not control them for a long time and after a while we return to the same boring, repetitive gameplay. Paradoxically, one of the better elements of the reviewed production turned out to be an open fight when we pilot Wanzer and simply let ourselves be fought. So much for the silent approach to problem solving. As mentioned before, it is not profitable. Neither does it give us additional profits and it is not realized in a satisfactory way. Another argument against stealth is that the game forces us to take part in shootings from time to time. The cutscenes can leave us in the whirlwind of the fight and often we have no other option but to get rid of the opponents flowing towards us in a direct fight.

IN Left Alive there is character development, but it is terribly cut. In fact, the only parameter that we can increase is the character’s maximum health. This happens automatically when so-called KIA Bacons are found lying next to some of the bodies of the fallen. Staying with the victims of the war, I must pay attention to the method of generating corpses that can be plundered. According to the information displayed when loading levels (thankfully short), the location of the bodies depends on where other players died. In addition, the clashes in which they took part provide us with one more information – they create the so-called heat map. After turning on the Koshka interface (serving us similarly to Jarvis Iron-Man), we can open the map. Then we are able to check the zones in which the alarmed opponents are located, and pressing the Options button will make us notice squares indicating the places where other players have fought. Thanks to this, we can try to plan the route so as to meet as many (or as few, depending on our approach) opponents on it. There are also collectibles and archives in the game world. Picking them up provides us with information about the historical background of places and characters before the start of the main plot. However, this is such dry and boring information that I quickly stopped paying attention to it at all.

Unfortunately, I cannot praise the graphics. Unfortunately, take a look – Left Alive
looks like at least a few years old game, not a product released in 2019 and priced at PLN 250! The visuals of the game are generally vague and often have blurry, blurry textures. Sometimes we may notice some decent light handling, but we soon forget about it, going back to poor animations and mediocre graphics. Actually, apart from the aforementioned lighting and acceptable character models (or more precisely their clothes), there is nothing to hang your eye on. Well, maybe apart from the facial expressions of the characters during the conversations – this one is so bizarre that it actually catches the eye.

I have to pay tribute to the music for that. It is phenomenal. The delicate parts of the violin wonderfully combine with the sound of wind instruments, creating truly cinematic music. Playing in Left Alive I was able to pause sometimes just to listen to musical compositions. Hats off. While the sound itself is average, the music definitely stands out positively compared to the rest.

It is Left Alive. Unfortunately, this is a production that will be lost in a sea of ​​similar titles, defending itself with nothing but music. If you were counting on the possibility of playing the game the way we want and the actual impact of our decisions on the game, you will be disappointed. I cannot recommend it Left Alive neither fans of shooters, nor lovers of stealth. I don’t think Square Enix didn’t know which way they wanted to go. As a result, we have obtained a product that is unremarkable. Just like the heroes – we assume the role of three characters, but it has no effect on the gameplay. Each of the characters has the same controls and skills. Left Alive is a perfect example of how to completely turn the attitudes created with materials before the premiere and make us feel only frustration and disappointment when playing. It is a real pity, because the potential was quite big. However, it was almost completely unused.

We thank the Polish publisher, Cenega, for providing a reviewer copy.