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Video Game / Left Alive

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Left Alive is a Third-Person Shooter developed by ilinx and Silicon Studio (a pair of development team that primarily focused on mobile games), published by Square Enix for the PS4 and PC. The game was directed by Toshifumi Nabeshima and produced by Shinji Hashimoto, with character design by Yoji Shinkawa and mechanical designs by Takayuki Yanase.

The game is a spinoff of the Front Mission series, taking place in between the events of Front Mission 5 and Front Mission Evolved. Unlike in the main series, however, Left Alive focuses on the experience of being a foot-soldier struggling to survive on a battlefield dominated by Wanzers. Players will see the events of the game's story unfold through the eyes of three characters embroiled in the Garmoniyan invasion of the Ruthenian city of Novoslava: Mikhail Alexandrovich Schwarov, a rookie Ruthenian Wanzer pilot with a habit of getting in trouble with his superiors; Olga Sergeevna Kalinina, a Novoslava police officer who left the military after the death of her daughter; and Leonid Federovich Ostermann, a former soldier-of-fortune now aiding the cause of a local resistance group.

Left Alive was announced during Sony's 2017 Tokyo Game Show press conference and was officially released on February 28, 2019 in Japan and on March 5, 2019 for the rest of the world.

Left Alive provides examples of:

  • An Ass-Kicking Christmas: Judging from Announcement Trailer, this seems to be the case. In Mikhail's arc, you can initially see Christimas-themed posters while hiding from Garmoniyan forces.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: This game switches between playing as Mikhail, Olga, and Leonid.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • One of the most notable examples is when enemies notice the player before they retreat behind a wall, and simply start shooting and throwing grenades at that wall instead of trying to go around it.
    • The Garmonian troops ignore grenades exploding nearby and wounding their allies, so it's possible to keep throwing explosives at them until they finally die (since it usually takes two grenades/Molotovs.)
    • Civilians you try to rescue often decide that the best course of action is not to evade enemy patrols, but instead run headfirst into danger and then crouch and cower in the open during the firefight that ensues, soaking up bullets 'til they die or get you killed. This means that you have no option but to kill every enemy in the area or clear out patrols ahead of time.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Downplayed: Because of the Garmoniyan troops' helmets (which resemble metal ushankas), a single headshot is only sufficient if it comes from a shotgun fired at point-blank. Otherwise it takes 4-5 headshots from the basic pistol to kill one. The magnum revolver kills enemies in one headshot, but ammo for it is quite rare.
  • Breakable Weapons: Both melee weapons and firearms have to be regularly swapped out as they degrade from repeated use.
  • David Versus Goliath:
    • The game is primarily played across battlefields on foot. In a world where Humongous Mecha are common on those same battlefields. Similarly, the Garmonian soldiers wear heavy futuristic armour, which none of the protagonists have.
    • The final fight in Olga's last mission requires her to defeat a Wanzer on foot. Fortunately, there are a trio of rocket launcher carrying Elites nearby you can kill to steal their weapon; the Wanzer should go down after about five rockets.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: The fate of the defeated Wanzers. Even if they were destroyed by a lead pipe.
  • Dialogue Tree: There are some instances where you get to pick your current character's replies during the dialogues. Generally, when it comes to the main plot these do not lead to any lasting consequences (i.e. you may give wounded character a medkit, but he'll get killed next time you see him regardless). However, picking the wrong dialogue choices when speaking to civilians can lock you out of their escort missions. A girl you meet relatively early on will even shoot herself in the head if you pick the wrong dialogue choices with her.
  • Dirty Coward: If they start to lose troops, enemy officers will drop smoke grenades to cover themselves and flee the area instead of staying to fight.
  • Disc-One Nuke: You'll quickly realize that the humble slide kick is your best way of dispatching lone Garmoniyan troopers; you can roll towards a trooper to evade their gunfire then quickly slide kick them to knock them on their ass, opening them up to a melee execution. Elite Mooks have enough health to survive a melee execution, but can still be juggled with slide kicks.
  • Downer Ending: The bad ending of course, which results in probably the bleakest sequence of events to ever happen in the franchise because the entire Novoslava city is basically wiped off of the map and so are the perpetrators, resulting in no actual conclusion to the story.
  • Elite Mooks:
    • Elite Garmoniyan troops begin to appear from Chapter 4 onwards and have bulkier black armor and white reflective metal facemasks. They can take about twice as much damage as regular troops (requiring several headshots or a full mag to the torso from the default assault rifle to bring down), and use more advanced combat moves such as swerving to evade gunfire. Later in the game, they're often equipped with heavy weaponry such as miniguns or rocket launchers.
    • Engineers appear slightly after the Elites start showing up. They're heavily armored, just like the Elites, and also carry large metal bulletproof shields that completely block gunfire from the front. They can disarm your boobytraps and also use some nasty dashing punches at close range.
  • Escort Mission: Rescuing civilians works like this, and is necessary for getting a good ending. Notably, all civilians have a predetermined route to the safe place, and you have to follow them, and not vice versa, even though one would have expected civilians to follow the lead of those with actual military experience. As it is, their routes are always placed in such a manner that you have to engage better-armed Garmonian patrols and risk your and the civilian's life, even if there were plenty of ways to walk around them.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: If you get the bad ending, the whole city is effectively wiped out down to the last citizen - and the MODS virus then kills the soldiers responsible too.
  • Fake Difficulty: Unless you play on the patched in Casual Mode to ease yourself into the game better, you'll learn that the effectiveness of everything you do relies upon your characters having the skills leveled for it; even using the same guns as your enemies does inherently less damage to them than they do to you even discounting their armor, until you level the corresponding skill. And you can only level these skills up on a New Game Plus, after you probably botched saving civilians and got the Downer Ending.
  • Faceless Goons: Garmoniyan soldiers wear full face-covering helmets...which are also styled like ushankas, for some reason.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: Unlike the main series, this game mainly focuses on the experience of footsoldiers, with only one protagonist being a mech pilot...who loses his mech at the very start of the game, and only get to control other Wanzers in brief segments later on. That said, all 3 protagonists have at least 1 section in the game where they get to pilot a Wanzer to take out enemy Wanzers.
  • Glorious Mother Russia: Players might assume the trope is in play when hearing names Rutenia and Novo Slava. Subverted when the game shows you the map of Rutenia and Garmoniya, which is literally the map of Ukraine split in half, with Rutenia using a slightly altered version of the current Ukrainian flag. Meanwhile, Novo Slava is best translated as "New Glory", and has nothing to do with Slavic ethniticites.
  • Gratuitous Russian: The graffiti in the game are a good source of Narm for the Russian speakers:
    • This graffiti translates to "Dear readers! We ask you to pee. It smells a lot!"
    • The purple graffiti here states "There's no happiness in wealth" (while misspelling happiness), and the grey one below it says "The Universe no longer exists".
    • Even the somewhat grammatically correct graffiti still convey out-of-place messages and themes. One says "Eat the rich", which is odd given that the conflict in the game doesn't involve a revolution. There's also the Straw Nihilist "You have found the life, but so what?"
  • Greater-Scope Villain: As in the first two (chronological) Front Mission games (1 and 4), Zaftra is behind everything. Also, Ruslan's mysterious comments about building a perfect future for the human race potentially imply he's working for a mysterious party with its own agenda, similar to the Grimnir.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Koshka marks most survivors on your map automatically or when you get near one, but there are several survivors who are hidden and won't show up unless you actually find and talk to them. Given that the good ending requires you to find and save all 30 survivors, this can be pretty annoying.
    • You don't find out whether or not Sofia survives until the credits, and the dialogue choices required to have her survive are not obvious.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The game has no silencers, but enemy soldiers don't reach to loud gunfire as long as it's happening more than about 50 meters away from them. You could assume they're not reacting because they're in the middle of a warzone and sporadic gunfire is normal, but you'd think they'd at least turn their head.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Pretty much every Garmoniyan soldier is one, to the point they'll consistently outdamage you in a straight-up firefight, unless their attention is diverted by a civilian you are escorting. Otherwise, you'll often have use multiple grenades or Molotov cocktails to bring one down, or to knock them down in melee and keep beating them to death before they get up. On the default difficulty they can soak 15 rounds of assault rifle fire to the torso before dropping.
  • Help Face Turn: If you spare the Zaftra commander Ivan at the end of the game, his dossier during the credits imply he's become one of the main leaders of an anti-Semrgl resistance group back in Zaftra, due to his outrage at being used as a pawn and left to die from the MODS virus.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted for once - it really is difficult to see things at night-time, to the point some consider messing with brightness settings.
  • Humongous Mecha: As expected from a Front Mission game, with the trope perhaps becoming even more clear due to being a foot soldier.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Vodka is used to heal injuries.
  • Item Crafting: Mainly used to create grenades and Molotov cocktails.
  • Made of Iron: When you fight him as a boss fight about 3/4ths of the way through the game, Ruslan can take several times the number of bullets a regular armored soldier can, despite wearing nothing more than a nice tailored coat, seemingly for no other reason than he's a named character. Then you learn later on that he's some sort of cyborg super soldier.
  • Menu Time Lockout: Averted, whether you are engaged in crafting, or trying to change equipment.
  • Molotov Cocktail: Due to the Garmonian soldiers' armor, it's one of the few ways to kill them reasonably quickly. The full damage-over-time from a Molotov combined with 1 headshot should be enough to kill basic enemy troops.
  • Multiple Endings: There's a good ending for saving all 30 civilians and 4 supporting characters, a bad ending if you save no civilians and the 4 supporting characters die, and an average ending for anything in the middle. Your choices during the game also affects the fate of several characters in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue.
  • New Game Plus: Each time you complete the story, you're given a number of points that can be spent on upgrading your skills for the next playthrough. This is notable because on a first time run, your characters absolutely suck and it's almost impossible to save any civilians to avoid the bad ending, meaning any real progression towards the Golden Ending requires playing the game over and over.
  • Powered Armor: All Garmoniyan soldiers wear exoskeletons that enhanced their strength and stamina, allowing them to jump about a dozen feet into the air or horizontally, and knock you on your ass with one punch. It also lets them wear heavier than normal armor as standard issue. Ruthenian infantry wear an obsolete version that doesn't have as advanced capabilities. As a Wanzer pilot, Mikhail doesn't even get that.
  • Product Placement: Two of the free DLC packs the game comes with add in-game posters and equipment related to World of Tanks and Half-Life respectively (the latter being exclusive to the Steam version). This even includes a weapon skin that replaces the lead pipe weapon with Gordon Freeman's iconic crowbar.
  • Rare Candy: Enabling online integration leaves the bodies of players who died on the same level earlier in others' campaigns. The first player to find them gets both their loot, and a beacon, which raises their health by 1%.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Ammo and healing are quite scarce, enemies take a lot of hits (headshots and usage of craftable bombs are essential for not running out of ammo), and crafting resources are finite. The game's resource management is much closer to Resident Evil than Metal Gear Solid.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The magnum is inspired by its incarnation in Resident Evil, and deals massive damage, with the drawback that ammo is quite rare for it. It kills regular soldiers with just 1 headshot each, and you can beat the final boss with about 9 or so headshots with it. It can even take out mechs with a few dozen headshots, though that represents pretty much all the ammo you'll find in the entire game pooled between all 3 characters, unless you're playing at least your third playthrough and have the extra ammo perk.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Not only are wrenches and lead pipes often more effective against power-armored soldiers than firearms, but the same lead pipes can destroy Wanzers.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Played straight.
  • Smoke Out: Crude smoke grenades are one of the craftable items.
  • Status Effects: Unusually for a Third-Person Shooter, the game includes a chance of a bleeding effect if the enemies get hit in unarmored areas, which was likely inspired by games like Darkest Dungeon. Its implementation is still questionable, however: whereas a single throwing knife to a forearm will always trigger life-ending bleeding, an entire magazine of bullets fired in the same spot may still fail to do it.
  • Super-Soldier: Ruslan turns out to be a cyborg of unknown origin. In the final battle he dual wields a minigun and a shotgun pistol effortlessly while running around at top speed.
  • Take Cover!: The mechanic is present, but is usually used to avoid the enemies' gaze, rather than to outlast them in a firefight.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • While it can be surmised that people are panicking and don't know the routes, a good number of people you try to rescue will run straight through enemy patrols and areas, even if the enemies are in plain sight, and subsequently get gunned down for it if you either don't clear out the area ahead of time or fight them on the spot yourself. This makes it very difficult to get the Golden Ending unless you are pretty powerful on New Game Plus.
    • Congressman Bunin runs out of the city hall for some fresh air before Mikhail can clear the area, and gets shot full of holes for his trouble. Mikhail is shocked at what an idiot Bunin is.
    • A few civilians can be encountered again several levels after you rescued them, having left the shelter you busted your ass to get them to, often for incredibly silly reasons, and ending up in the middle of a war zone once again, forcing you to get them back in a shelter once again. Your characters are very frustrated whenever this happens.
  • Urban Warfare: The game takes place in the ruins of Nova Slava, which was abandoned after Garmoniyan troops launched an assault.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: Dossiers detailing the fate of all the major characters will flip through during the credits; what happens to each character changes based on your decisions as well as how many civilians you saved. Also, after the ending, the database will tell you what happened after the war to each civilian you saved in their profile page.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Towards the end it's revealed that the Garmoniyan's superiors ordered their troops to massacre all the civilians so they'd get covered in blood and contract the MODS virus, causing them to die too and leave no witnesses behind as to the true objectives of the war. Ivan, the Zaftra agent overseeing the invasion, is quite upset when he learns this, as he realizes he was supposed to be disposed of as well.