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14 minutes of Left Alive gameplay does not make a particularly good impression

Square Enix's third-person stealth-shooter Left Alive has not made a great impression so far. We described it as "an underwhelming return to the Front Mission universe" after a 2018 PAX West preview, and a trailer that came out shortly afterward was "boring" and "largely incomprehensible." Today, the publisher dropped a 14-minute gameplay video showcasing Left Alive's three main characters in action, and I'm sorry to say that the outlook hasn't changed much. 

The graphics are decidedly dated, but that's the least of the problems here. It looks slow and janky, with robotic animations and enemies that are largely unresponsive to anything going on around them. One enemy doesn't appear to notice that it's being shot at all.

The cutscene dialog is overdrawn and overwrought, and even the bit with the Wanzer at the end of the video is a letdown: Mech sequences in shooters are generally balls-out destructoramas—a fun few minutes of wrecking stuff—but this looks painfully dull. Why aren't the cars exploding? Why isn't the street filled with tiny squishy people trying desperately to get away? Why does a giant robot street-fight look so thoroughly un-fun?

That's just me, though. Some YouTube commenters appreciate the design choices. "The gameplay feels like [it's] from the PS3 era, and I like it," one said. 

Left Alive is available for pre-purchase from Steam for $60/£45/€60. It comes out on March 5.   

Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.