The Alliance, She is Alive

I tried pulling up a search for Alliance Alive here on the forums and as far as I can tell the word “alliance” itself has only been used here three times. That’s about to change though because I have a lot to say about this game.

Oh Alliance Alive. I’m very sad that this game is going to be slept on so hard because Legend of Legacy was a doozy of a game. It was bad, I mean that it was bad. It was hampered by obfuscated systems and the complete lack of a plot, and was a huge grind to get through. Did you know that some characters had secret affinities with certain weapons? Now you do!

Alliance Alive arrives to fix Legend of Legacy’s, well, Legacy. And wow does it do a fantastic job with that! There are so many aspects that got fixed that it’s less of a spiritual sequel and more of a spiritual redo.

So why do I love Alliance Alive so much? Let me count the ways:

A combat system that finally makes sense. Where Legend of Legacy had too many systems that didn’t make sense, Alliance Alive has a bunch of systems that are all laid bare in their entirety, while also easing up on the complexity. Everything is defined by formations and roles, no more secret systems to speak of. It harkens back to a nice little blend of Romance Saga and Final Fantasy II, speaking to the pedigree of the game considering its developers. It’s extremely addictive to set up a bunch of different formations to change your strategy up on the fly. Also the bump to five active party members instead of 3 is a huge improvement. Speaking of Party Members…

An Alliance with Soul. Your 9 party members, like, talk to each other! It’s wild! They have lines and a personality and everything! And they’re all really charming! I can’t remember their original names because you can name them whatever you want from the Status menu, but I’m particularly fond of the Daemon Fox lady and the young scientist girl. Their interactions are a lot of fun. There’s also a plot to speak of (written by the same person that wrote Suikoden II) and it’s actually pretty engaging, concerning a human uprising against the daemons that have them under their thumb. It’s not mind-blowing by any means, but there are enough mysteries to keep you enthralled.

The Alliance System. People have been saying that Ni No Kuni II is like Suikoden II, but when it comes to closeness, I’d say Alliance Alive hits that mark a lot closer. About 9 hours into the game you unlock the Alliance System, wherein you set up 5 Guilds on your giant Ark ship. You then recruit members for your Alliance in different areas and assign them to the different guilds, which increase their power and help you out. The way you recruit these people is part of the fun - one human with an obsession with wanting to become a daemon joined when I switched my active character exploring the map to one of my daemon characters and talked to him. Another joined after we kicked their butt in a fight. There’s an addictive “collect 'em all” quality to grabbing all these characters, and I’ve essentially put the main quest on hold to find them at the moment.

A World Map. For real! And rather than just running around, you get a cool little glider that you can use to strategically fly from place to place to access secret out of the way areas, like new spots to build Guild Towers and guild members to recruit. It’s very cool (although the game can lag a bit if you’re moving too fast).

QOL Stuff. You can save anywhere! If you need to backtrack, 9 times out of 10 the game will fast-travel you there if you want! All the stats are explained this time (I’m serious, Legend of Legacy was bad)! You can change character’s names! The enemies are all visible on the map! You can chain battles to expedite grinding, if you want to grind at all!

JRPG Nostalgia. I guess this all culminates to one single feeling I have about Alliance Alive: it actually pulls off that nostalgia for the SNES/PS1 era of JRPGs. Something about raiding a hot spring to save a bunch of talking frogs felt like peak Final Fantasy IX to me, and that’s very much a good thing. It even has secret party members! There’s no obnoxious fanservice, no tedious sidequests that feel like padding, and every system in the game makes sense to include, letting you put as much or as little time into it that you want (seriously, you can completely ignore that Alliance system if you want to). And it does all that without hewing so closely to those SNES/PS1 JRPGs that it doesn’t actually do anything interesting or new. It’s just a really good game that feels like it was made with love, in my humble opinion.

Are you playing Alliance Alive? Do you need me to convince you to play it further? What parties/formations/weapons are you running? Tell me so I don’t feel like the one person playing this game!

Edit: one last thing I forgot to note is that the soundtrack is seriously S-Rank.

Composed by Masashi Hamauzu of FFXIII fame, it’s one of my favorites of last year - I owned it before the game came out in the West, actually.


A good non problematic nostalgia-bait JRPG sounds extremely my shit. A shame it’s on 3DS, but I could pick that back up again…

It’s honestly mind-blowing how badly timed this release is. A week after Ni No Kuni 2 and a year after the Switch is out. The most difficult part of this game so far was updating and charging my 3DS back up. :open_mouth: worth it tho!

I was so seriously bummed out by Legend of Legacy that I wasn’t going to give this game a shot. Your words make me think I really need to reconsider. This game actually sounds fun and interesting instead of maddeningly opaque and a never ending grind fest.

The real issue now, as you have and @SuperBiasedGary note, is that the dang game is on the 3DS. Really really unfortunate timing. I mean, Atlus looks like it having a great year for the 3DS but that still means using the 3DS which feels so hard these days.

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I’m one of the crazy people who enjoyed the Legend of Legacy (and even took the time to decipher the backstory and plot. In the tradition of SaGa games, the lore for the world is quite deep, but hidden!) and enjoyed that game, even if the Contract system could be an utter pain in the ass to deal with.

That said, The Alliance Alive has been super enjoyable and definitely a step up from the last game. The game really rewards exploration and experimentation. There’s something satisfying about having a fat little penguin beating faces in with a flurry of wing slaps. LOL

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other cute little details about the game i’ve noticed:

  • each of the 12 characters has their own unique footstep sound effects

  • there’s different dialog for sidequests based on who the lead character is

  • whoever the lead character is comes up with different names for your formations. galil comes up with names based on famous swords, Ignace comes up with tea names, Azura has blue/sky-themed names, etc.

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Speaking of Legend of Legacy - is there some sort of wiki or faq for that game that has information about the characters and their affiliations.

Also, the biggest problem I had with that game was that the simple act of learning spells was so incredibly obtuse, that I could never figure out how to get a character to learn the equipped spell, so that I could move them on to other spells and (in turn) to progress them in the game.

I’m glad none of that is an issue in The Alliance Alive.