Review – The Alliance Alive HD Remastered

The Switch is slowly shaping up to become the single best JRPG platform of all time. You’ve got everything from old-school classics like Final Fantasy VII and the original Dragon Quest trilogy, to more modern bangers like Ni No Kuni, Octopath Traveler and Ys VIII. You need to thank NIS America for publishing a good chunk of these JRPGs for the system. Their latest release is The Alliance Alive HD, a remaster of a 3DS game released last year, and I’d be lying if I told I had heard of it prior to playing this version.


I wanna know… have you ever seen the rain?

I have to admit that my first impressions weren’t so positive. The Alliance Alive HD doesn’t feature impressive visuals, a single line of spoken dialogue, nor even a mere millisecond of voice effects. I was quickly bombarded with a ton of introductory exposition and some weirdly designed main characters. Everyone has a gigantic head, the most unenthusiastic facial expressions ever seen in a game, and a complete lack of feet. Everyone has legs, but no feet. It weirds me out like none other. The environments themselves are kind of pretty, as they have a huge hand drawn vibe, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the bizarre characters and their lack of legs throughout the entire time.

Clearly, even though it’s a remaster, The Alliance Alive HD isn’t impressive when it comes to its production values. It’s cute in a way, but it doesn’t push any single visual or performance boundaries, especially when comparing it to other 3DS remasters like Monster Hunter Generations or Resident Evil Revelations. Thankfully, games aren’t all about looks, because what made me like The Alliance Alive HD was its gameplay.

The Alliance Alive HD‘s combat system is your typical turn-based JRPG schtick: pick an attack, pick an opponent, keep doing so until you win or get killed. You can equip different weapons and armor to your characters, as well as use spells and items to help in battle.


You’ll see a lot of those, but they’ll never bore you.

It doesn’t sound very creative, does it? Well, what makes the combat system so fun is partially due to its simplicity as well as its progression system. The Alliance Alive HD doesn’t have your typically leveling up system. There are no experience points. You constantly increase your HP and SP the more you battle. You also learn new abilities the more you battle and improve the strength of your attacks by constantly using them during fights. Instead of experience points, you earn talent points which can be used to unlock passive buffs. Benefits such as decreasing the amount of SP used whenever you attack or overworld perks like not being detected by enemies, allowing for you to perform a surprise strike.

That will require a bit of grinding, I won’t lie. To be fair, it will require a lot of grinding. That’s not a bad thing, though. The Alliance Alive HD knows how to make things interesting by making battles extremely fast-paced. Most of them last just a few seconds. You also don’t need to worry about your health at the end of each fight. Just like another NIS America game re-released this year, The Caligula Effect, your health is fully recovered at the end of each battle and your entire party is revived as well. You will only suffer a small health penalty which can be reverted by sleeping in an inn for a bit of money. It makes what would otherwise be an obnoxious slog of a game really accessible and easy to tackle. The Alliance Alive HD is not hard at all, but it doesn’t feel cheap either.



If you’re looking for a JRPG fix on your Switch and you’re not willing to spend cash on Dragon Quest XI or Ni No Kuni, then The Alliance Alive HD Remastered isn’t a bad idea. Just bear in mind that this isn’t a groundbreaking JRPG by any means. The story is passable and the production values aren’t impressive. The really good combat and progression systems are the reason you’ll want to start playing and keep playing it to the end, however. It’s just like other JRPGs by NIS America and FuRyu: they will never be considered a classic, but they are competent and accessible enough for you to give them a try.


Graphics: 6.0

Its hand drawn backgrounds might be adorable, but this is still a remaster of a 3DS game and one that barely pushed that system’s graphical capabilities to the limits.

Gameplay: 8.0

It’s a very simple and straightforward combat system, but streamlined to the point that grinding is actually fun. Not having to care about restoring health after a battle is a blessing.

Sound: 6.5

The soundtrack is occasionally very good, but the near absence of sound effects and no voice acting whatsoever are disappointing.

Fun Factor: 8.0

The story is sometimes good, sometimes bad, but what makes The Alliance Alive so enjoyable is its fast-paced and uncomplicated combat system.

Final Verdict: 7.5

The Alliance Alive HD Remastered is available now on PS4 and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of The Alliance Alive HD Remastered was provided by the publisher.