Left Alive tries to be so, so many things: a stealth game, a military thriller, a third-person shooter, and an urban survival adventure. And yet it fails on every level, including at performing acceptably on a PC above the recommended specs. When the Metal Gear pastiche falls apart, what’s left is technical shortcomings, wonky controls, poor balance, and so much frustration it wasn’t worth suffering all the way to the end after I’d already wasted dozens of hours on it.
The military story is the only part of Left Alive I found remotely decent, thanks to a couple of surprising techno-thriller twists, but even that is mediocre when compared to Metal Gear Solid or prior games in the Front Mission world. After the nation of Garmonia invades the neighboring Ruthenian border city of Novo Slava in what should have been the least-surprising surprise attack ever, you’re dropped into the combat boots of three different people over the course of its broken, slow adventure, all of whom would be easy to empathize with were they not so poorly written and voice-acted: A whiny Wanzer (mech) pilot with a stunning lack of common sense, a competent cop with not even an ounce of luck, and a gruff revolutionary with lots of scars both physical and mental. Our three heroes must go full 1984 Red Dawn to save civilians, thwart the bad guy, and maybe make it out in one piece.