Live A Live is an incredibly influential RPG that’s finally getting its time to shine with Square Enix’s new HD-2D remake. The game’s most unique element is its story structure, which has eight wildly different chapters to play through, ranging from Prehistory to the Distant Future. Each chapter features a different narrative and some kind of unique idea or mechanic. The catch is that you can play through Live A Live’s chapters in any order, so it’s up to you to pick the order. Luckily, we’ll help give you a bit of guidance on which character and chapters are best to start with.
Best Live A Live chapters to start with - Prehistory
Prehistory is one of the simpler chapters in Live A Live, with a story that doesn’t use any dialogue but rather grunts and gestures. This makes the story incredibly easy to follow, and the chapter also does a great job of introducing you to the core mechanics and combat of the game. The benefit of this chapter is that you can grind to your heart’s content if you find yourself struggling with boss battles. In many ways, Prehistory feels like the “introduction” chapter that the developers intended.
Best Live A Live chapters to start with - Imperial China
Imperial China falls somewhere in the middle in terms of length, as it’s heavily story-focused with straightforward combat. Part of what makes this chapter so approachable is the main character, the Earthen Heart Shifu, who starts at level ten and easily outclasses almost all enemies. The unique feature of Imperial China involves training your disciples, and as a tip you’ll want to focus on one out of the three. Overall, the Imperial China chapter is incredibly straightforward and is a good introduction to the combat system.
Best Live A Live chapters to start with - The Near Future
The Near Future is the closest experience to a “traditional” RPG in Live A Live, complete with a world map to explore. There’s some good story content here as well, as the main character has the unique ability to read minds to find out useful information. The story in Near Future is also one of the weirdest the game has to offer, with everything from giant mechs to wizard turtles. It serves as a great intro to the unique elements of Live A Live, while still feeling familiar to anyone that has experience with traditional JRPGs.
Best chapters to save for later
Live A Live has a few chapters that are best saved for later, once you’ve become accustomed to the mechanics of the combat system. Below we’ll walk through the three chapters we’d recommend you play later, or at least after one of the opening ones we suggested above.
- Twilight of Edo Japan - This is easily the longest chapter in the entire game, and it’s pretty complex with multiple areas, party members, and even secret bosses. You also have the option of playing the chapter without murdering, for an extra challenge. Because of all this, Twilight of Edo Japan would be a really tough place to start.
- Present Day - Present Day is an incredibly short chapter that’s basically a boss rush of sorts. You’ll want to make sure you’re intimately familiar with the combat system before playing this chapter.
- The Distant Future - Distant Future is the exact opposite of Present Day, as it’s a hugely story-focused chapter that features practically no combat. Starting with this chapter is going to be an incredibly slow experience, and you won’t have many chances to learn the mechanics of combat. Distant Future is without a doubt one of the most interesting experiences in Live A Live, but it’s best saved for later.
Live A Live is currently available exclusively for Nintendo Switch.