It is always wonderful to see a company learn from its mistakes in past games. It shows an awareness of past problems, a sense of growth as a developer and a willingness to change. The Alliance Alive is a perfect example of this situation. FuRyu, the developer, made some mistakes with the spiritual successor The Legend of Legacy. In many ways, it could be a tedious game. Yet this new one feels like the developer saw ways in which it missed the mark and went out of its way to be sure the next endeavor would be better.
I knew I was in for a better time the second my first The Alliance Alive battle began. It was then that I saw the fast forward function front and center. While you do not have to spend tons of time level grinding in the game, there will be some as you make your way through the game. It is inevitable in a JRPG. But here, we have options. We can let things plug along as usual, or go ahead with 2x or 4x speed. It not only saves time, but it cuts down immensely on any possible frustration when you enter dungeons with multiple enemies clustered together in an area.
Speaking of multiple enemies in an area, the Battle Chain is another way in which The Alliance Alive respects your time. There are areas where clusters of foes show on the map at once. If you can get them all riled up and chasing you before starting a battle, the Battle Chain occurs. This makes the fights happen one after another with no pause, which can be a bit strenuous when first entering an area with new strong opponents, but also gives you more Talent Points as a reward. Which can let you purchase Talents for a character that makes them awaken new skills more often or level up an existing skill faster so you do not have to spend as much time grinding, which makes you want to create more Battle Chains. It is a satisfying loop.
And even when things seem a bit difficult in The Alliance Alive, you can always choose to improve yourself near Guilds. This is another way in which the game helps keep things moving at a good pace. When you are within the range of a Guild, they will provide support every few turns in battles. This is always a positive experience. The Blacksmith Guild will use its cannon to deal damage to all enemies, the Library Guild temporarily decreases all enemies’ defenses, the Recon Guild will stun all enemies at the start of a turn to give you a greater chance to act, the Signimancy Guild increases your team’s magical and physical defenses temporarily and the Tactics Guild increases the effects of each person’s current position. It is like these offer an instant save. Are you not ready for the area you are in or maybe struggling? Fight within range of one or more of these towers and you will be fine.
But the one feature I liked most is the smallest touch. The Alliance Alive can send you around a rather large world. Yet, if you have just completed an important story mission, you have the option to fast travel to the next story-pertinent location. To have that option to immediately go to where you next need to be, rather than walk back to that place, is so efficient. You do not have to take advantage of it, as the option is left to you, but knowing you can go to the next major place instead of backtracking is a delight. It saves so much time.
The Alliance Alive respects your time. This is a major change from The Legend of Legacy, a game that could drag. Here, we can control the speed of battle, determine how many fights in a row we deal with and even whether or not we have external support by making an effort to fight in certain places. Not to mention, once a major story event is done, we can sometimes immediately travel back to where we need to be. All of these are efficient and respectful mechanics that help us enjoy the game.