If nothing else, the Nintendo Switch has proven that it's a great platform for ports and remasters and now, you can finally enjoy 2018's 3DS gem The Alliance Alive on the console.
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Last year, I got my hands on The Alliance Alive for 3DS and was enthralled from start to finish. I gave it a glowing review while citing its charming world with interesting characters, unique and fun vehicle system, and enjoyable guild and recruitment systems. Just a little over a year later, Nintendo Switch owners can now play this instant classic JRPG with fancy new HD visuals. v1d30chumz 3-237-27-159
In The Alliance Alive, you control a diverse cast of 9 characters including sword and shield wielding humans, a short scientist who adds a touch of cuteness to her creations, and some beastfolk with their own stories including a pair who are on a journey to explore what privilege really means. In this world, beasts are considered a higher class than humans and they treat humans so badly that the story even starts with some of the characters on a quest to get over a large wall that is said to house a jail where the beasts keep them caged up.
The world of The Alliance Alive is memorable and as I reached new areas and plot points, I was excited to experience it all again but in its HD Remastered iteration. Controlling the giant duck vehicle to walk through lava in the Burning Realm is just as much of a treat as it was the first time around and I like being able to take in more detail in the character models, vehicles, and scenery. The towns in the original The Alliance Alive gave the impression of a watercolour painting and this HD version manages to hit this home even more effectively by offering enhanced detail while keeping the hand-painted style. Listening to the soundtrack is great, too, and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it with some of the tracks taking me back to the music of Final Fantasy XIII given that Masashi Hamauzu scored both.
All of that being said, I expected this Switch version to feature touchscreen support but unfortunately, it does not. However, it's not a big problem and the controls work just fine otherwise. In fact, the menu system revamp which has it work in one wider screen instead of 2 small vertically stacked screens is well accomplished as it contains the same information that could be found in the original but just repositioned. The same can be said for battle screens as when you're in the middle of a battle, you'll see the same information that used to show on the bottom 3DS screen within the lower portion of the screen and it doesn't cover up the action at all.
The Alliance Alive is a wonderful and easy to recommend JRPG. This Switch version offers updated graphics and a reworked menu but not much else to make it worth double-dipping if you already own it on 3DS.
- + Same enjoyable and charming JRPG
- + HD graphics look great on Switch
- + Menus have been reworked to beautifully fit a widescreen
- - Lacks Switch touchscreen functionality
- - HD graphics are the only reason to buy it again if you already own it on 3DS