• Welcome to Talking Time's third iteration! If you would like to register for an account, or have already registered but have not yet been confirmed, please read the following:

    1. The CAPTCHA key's answer is "Percy"
    2. Once you've completed the registration process please email us from the email you used for registration at percyreghelper@gmail.com and include the username you used for registration

    Once you have completed these steps, Moderation Staff will be able to get your account approved.

  • TT staff acknowledge that there is a backlog of new accounts that await confirmation.

    Unfortunately, we are putting new registrations on hold for a short time.

    We do not expect this delay to extend beyond the first of November 2020, and we ask you for your patience in this matter.

    ~TT Moderation Staff

Live-A-Live, in general

Pajaro Pete

(He/Himbo)
Old West down. It seems like there wasn't a whole lot going on there, but it did it with panache, much like its inspiration. Sergio Leone movies, I think, are basically exercises in pure style.

i feel like the Old West adding the environmental sparkles to show you where to search is a blessing and a curse, having to bump up against everything and press "A" like in the SNES version isn't ideal gameplay, but also the game just saying "check here" feels like it takes away a bit of that chapter's actual structure. not sure what the best answer for this is though so.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
Some of the norms of 1994 gameplay that they were experimenting with have become revealed as better understood as UI rather than as gameplay, so that altering the UI necessarily affects the design. There's no way to avoid a compromise on that particular issue, so I'm glad they erred on the side of convenience.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Just finished the Prehistoric chapter. Would have been done sooner but I insisted on beating the optional boss, which is one of the more grindy things to do in the game since you pretty much need to get Pogo to Lv16 to get his final ability and that's quite a bit higher than you really need to beat the normal chapter boss. (fastest grinding spot I think is in the Kuu village, just try to enter one of the caves on the left and you'll get into a battle with a ton of Kuu Warriors, but after that if you just stay in the cave entrance you'll keep getting into smaller fights with two warriors, the EXP isn't great but you don't have to go hunting for monsters in the field and they all die at once when Pogo screams at them)

Thankfully once you get the Lv16 ability the King Mammoth isn't too difficult if you know the right strategy, which is good because there are TWO rewards you want from it. One you're guaranteed to get, but the other drops randomly and I had to redo that fight a dozen times before I finally got the goddamn Cola Bottle. But I did finally get it and absolutely punked Odo. (I preferred the fan translation of O-D-O, fit the naming convention of the big bad more I think)

Now I think..... Cowboys.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Ugh.

Just got the bad ending because I didn’t realize what the game was asking me, and it doesn’t let you back out of the gotcha fight. That boss was suuuuper annoying and tedious and I do not want to do that nonsense again.
 

Bongo

excused from moderation duty
(he/him)
Staff member
I have beaten Live A Live (2022, Nintendo Switch, English).

I think that remakes often reveal that there's no hard distinction between the application of contemporary amenities (fancier visuals and audio, more convenient and informative UI) and the alteration of design. Sometimes the original design was subject to constraints which no longer apply; sometimes the effect of the original design has been impacted by the changes that make it a remake; sometimes the remake process is taken as an opportunity to revisit design elements which may have been errors or were simply undesigned in the first place. The process of remaking tends to put into conflict the desire to remain faithful to the source material while releasing it from compromises forced upon its original production, and the exigencies of commerce mean that these dilemmas are often resolved according to the principle of what would be most profitable this quarter, rather than what would be most artful or respectful or fun.

Remakes are derivative works which are implicitly presented with the bold (but, I feel, attainable) claim that for most purposes they supersede their originals. I say "most purposes" because it's plainly impossible for them to supersede the original for all purposes: trivially, archivists and historiographers don't want any variation or revision to escape their attention, and remakers err in trying to work around the impossibility of perfection.

Anyway, this is one hell of a remake and one hell of a game. I don't regret waiting for it, even though the original had been available to me in fan translation all this time. User interface design is one of the few parts of game design that I think have gotten unequivocally better over the decades. Both in 1994 and in 2022, Live A Live is a game based on the concept of using RPG mechanics in different ways to tell a variety of stories, and a contemporary user interface that clarifies those mechanics even further, making those emotional beats more direct and clear (along with the parts where it simply makes the game less confusing to play).

The concept is easy to explain: an anthology JRPG, consisting of short and archetypical stories, each exploring some concept too extreme for a full game, united by their consideration of a common theme. To keep the stories approachable, they consist largely of film pastiches, though I think this decision resulted in them having another common element, one which isn't really related to the "humanism" motif uniting the chapters: there's like no women in this thing. That's pretty fucked up.

But the reason it's possible to overlook that deficiency is because the main thrust of the whole game is not its narrative content as such, but the way it is told, its formal innovation, its experiments with the structure and techniques of games. The breadth of those experiments have made it hugely influential (even if a couple of them resulted in revealing that while you can do that, you probably shouldn't), so to an English speaker experiencing it for the first time, it's like discovering a missing link in the evolution of games. It's such an inspiration that it's even got me wanting to fire up RPG Maker a little bit. Over the years I've unknowingly played many games that I didn't recognize as paying homage to Live A Live. And I've got to say: a lot of things done first by Live A Live in 1994 are still being done best by Live A Live in 2022.
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
Got it in one, really. Live A Live SHOULD have had more and better representation in it, but it's a really good game despite that, and despite the many elements that were pretty much the result of devs going "okay but what if we did this anyway". Even Prehistory, my least favorite chapter by a significant margin, had its positives and charm (the crafting is extremely intuitive and rewarding despite the lack of language around it).
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Cowboys and Kung Fu down.

Had to repeat the trap gathering section of the Old West, I totally mistimed handing out traps and only managed to take out two of O. Dio's men and ultimately got overwhelmed in the fight. Second run through was much smoother. I made the mistake of giving multiple Molotovs out but only one will count for a trap, save the others for the fight.

Kung Fu was a meatier chapter. It feels like the story was really pushing for Yun to be the inheritor, but I couldn't not pick Lei. Not only does she actually have a personality, at least compared to the other two, picking her is the only dang way to get an actual playable non-dude in the final chapter. Sorry incidental story cutscenes, Yun tried super hard just to get 86'd. What's especially awkward is that when you go talk to his Grandma afterward there's no mention of her grandson's death at all. I guess that's handled in the chapter credits.

Ninja and Near Future remain. Near Future's a long one isn't it?
 

Kalir

Do you require aid.
(whatevs)
The length of the chapters is something like... Present Day is the shortest, then Wild West, Distant Future, Imperial China, Near Future, Prehistory, and then Twilight of Edo Japan could have been its own game in all honesty.

Yun and Hong are both good kids, but yeah. Their fate was sealed by every other chapter making the protagonist a dude.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
I could see myself taking Yun in some future replay just for the sake of story cohesion, since the narrative was otherwise heavily implying it should be him.

I think the only thing Hong has going for him is that selecting him is the only way to see the Watanabe/Watt cameo in that chapter.
 

SpoonyBard

A Bard Named SPOONY
(He/Him)
Near Future and NINJAS completed.

Near Future was a bit of a slog overall, but I won't lie, the ingame anime OP style intro was pretty charming. Pity Akira is pretty unlikeable due to the previously mentioned sending a child to rob their caregiver, even if the localization changed it from panties to pocket change it's still skeevy as heck.

Also, did all the other kids just not grow up after the opening flashback? Why is Akira an older teen but all the others still kids? Was that as jarring in the original? Weird.

Meanwhile over in Ninjaland, I completed a pacifist run and also beat the two optional bosses thanks to level grinding against ghosts. Took a bit to get to Lv14 on them but the scenario was a breeze after that. It's way easier to hide from enemies in this version too.

Now, time for Oersted's story.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
It feels kind of weird to say this game is more than the sum of its parts since all it is is parts, but that’s how I feel. The Ninja segment is the only one that holds up on its own for me, the rest are just okay.

I enjoyed the final scenario, though I was disappointed that it’s just in an empty Medieval world, which by the end of Oersted’s scenario you’ve been up and back quite a bit. Making you go through the final dungeon three times over two scenarios is profoundly dumb.
 
Top