Mike Salbato
Left Alive Off to a Rocky Start in Japan
On the plus side, it's discounted?
03.04.19 - 1:07 PM

Sometimes when a game or movie is coming out, there are warning signs. Like when movie studios don't want any critics to see a movie before release. Or when, say, you can get a newly-released PS4 game for 50% off immediately after its debut.

Such is the case with Square Enix's Left Alive, the third-person stealth shooter that's drawn some comparisons to Metal Gear Solid with its setting. And having MGS' mechanical designer Yoji Shinkawa in charge of character design made such comparisons even easier. And the long-awaited return to the world of Front Mission is certainly welcome. But the fact of the matter is, Left Alive is currently 50% off on Amazon Japan, with an average review score of 1.5/5 stars. Most reviews are scathing 1 star affairs, with players taking issue with sluggish controls, poor game design, and more. Some even said they'd rather play Front Mission Evolved, which says a lot.

On one hand, taking early customer reviews into consideration alone doesn't always paint a clear picture. Yes, 90 reviews of similar and mostly negative reaction seems damning, as does the drastic price cut... and, okay, there's one more concerning piece, and that concerns streaming of the game on PS4. Upon launch, Left Alive was able to be streamed, with a somewhat standard restriction that event scenes couldn't be shown. But within days, this changed and apparently Left Alive cannot be streamed at all, at least with the PS4's built-in options. I'm not a conspiracy person at all, but given the response so far, could it be an intentional move to limit the exposure the game sees online?

I do hate writing news like this. Front Mission has some really dedicated fans out there, and even though Left Alive isn't an SRPG, I'd hoped it would somewhat scratch an itch for people who miss their wanzers. Maybe the game will be received differently by North American audiences, or, based on what we've seen, hopefully some game patches are in the works to smooth out some rough patches.

In any case, Left Alive releases March 5th for PS4 and Windows, so starting tomorrow we'll see the reception it gets on these shores.

(For reference, RPGFan did not receive an advance copy of Left Alive, so while we intend to bring you a review, it will not be tomorrow.)