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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 Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.