LIVE A LIVE review (PS4)

In the realm of classic RPGs, LIVE A LIVE stands as a hidden gem from the Super Famicom era, and Square Enix’s decision to revive this legendary title in the form of a stunning HD-2D remake has brought it back into the limelight. With its enthralling stories, memorable characters, and captivating visuals reminiscent of the recent Octopath Traveler 2, LIVE A LIVE offers an immersive experience that caters to both nostalgic fans and newcomers alike – we took a look at the PlayStation 4 build of the game.

LIVE A LIVE’s narrative strength lies in its unconventional structure, allowing players to explore seven distinct stories set in various time periods. Each story is helmed by a different protagonist, showcasing their unique abilities and motivations. The ability to tackle these tales in any order adds a layer of freedom, providing an engaging non-linear experience. From the primal struggles of a tribesman to the space-bound tragedy of a newly constructed robot, the stories are varied and emotionally charged, with unexpected twists and turns that keep players invested throughout their playthrough.


The game’s narrative approach evokes comparisons to a short story format, with plenty of interesting side stories in all of them. People who enjoy lengthy 40 or 60 hour adventures might lament a relative lack of character development and exploration because of the approach, but we rather enjoyed it.

The HD-2D art style, previously seen Octopath Traveler 2, breathes new life into LIVE A LIVE’s 16-bit origins. The blend of pixel art and modern graphical techniques lends an exquisite and nostalgic charm to the game’s environments and character designs. Much more so than in a regular/direct port of a 30+ year old title, the visuals manage to bring this niche classic to life, with a surprising amount of detail. The animations are still quite “retro” (as in: limited), but LIVE A LIVE strikes a nice balance between the old and the new.

One of the features of LIVE A LIVE’s revival that we should definitely mention is the remastered music by Yoko Shimomura, who brings her magical touch to the game’s soundtrack. The music sets the mood for each era, effectively immersing players in the various time periods and complementing the emotional beats of the storytelling. Using the original compositions but updating their sound to modern standards is a lovely match for the visual approach of the game, and longtime fans will definitely appreciate it.


The HD-2D remake of LIVE A LIVE not only preserves the essence of the original game for fans of the original though, but also welcomes newcomers. The modernization of the visuals, coupled with the intuitive controls and streamlined gameplay, ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for both seasoned players and those discovering the game for the first time. The remake has been spearheaded by Takashi Tokita, the director of the original game, and his passion for the source material shines through in maintaining the game’s essence while refining its accessibility.

LIVE A LIVE’s new version is a testament to the enduring charm of classic RPGs. Its enthralling tales, unique storytelling approach, and visually striking HD-2D art style make it a standout experience in the genre. While the brevity of the individual stories may leave players longing for more, the engaging narratives, beautiful visuals, and a remastered soundtrack by Yoko Shimomura combine to deliver a captivating journey through time, and one we’re glad to see getting a wider release this time around.

Score: 8.0/10

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