After a certain point in the story, the nine characters in The Alliance Alive meet up, and from then on the Guild Alliance becomes available for players to start up at their own discretion. Considering the name of the game, I wasn’t surprised to find out that the system is actually quite in-depth, but what did surprise me was how reminiscent of Suikoden’s recruitment system it was.
By fulfilling requirements, such as story progress or choosing certain choices, you can recruit guild applicants, like how new characters were recruited in Suikoden. However, instead of them having fixed roles, I was allowed to choose what the new recruits did from the Ark.
Guild applicants can be sent to work for the Recon, Blacksmith, Signimancy, Library, or Tactics Guilds, and each applicant has the talent to work in one out of three Guilds. Each Guild offers many cumulative advantages depending on their level, which levels up in tiers with each tier needing more people.
Additionally, being under Guild influences means that you receive extra benefits in battle. For example, the Recon Guild offers a ‘Sabotage’ effect that can sometimes stun enemies, while the Blacksmith Guild straight up adds to damage output through support fire. In short, it helps to play around with this system for the added effects, even though the game can be completed without it.
In my playthrough I took a balanced approach by leveling all of the Guilds, but thanks to aforementioned limitations placed on who can join what Guild, it’s actually impossible to level up every Guild to the max. Another approach, I’d imagine, would be to focus on receiving the maximum effect from one or two of the Guilds.
Apart from Guild Applicants, I had to recruit Guild Masters by doing sidequests or defeating them in battle, which sometimes reminded me of the additional requirements in Suikoden. However, with the Guild Masters I could build new towers that linked the guilds together through the Telegraph system. Effectively, by the end of the game, I was under at least two different Guild influences as I traveled around the various continents, walking in the bask of different effects in battle.
Additional spaces to create new Guild Towers are sometimes scattered on the map, but more than often I had to create them myself by liberating Water Demon nests. This just increased my satisfaction as I saw the Alliance literally coming Alive with my efforts. Because the game rewards you with human resources to improve the Guilds rather than equipment that gets outdated soon after, the Guild Alliance system ended up feeding into the gameplay flow of progression in a significant manner.
Finally, while I feel this is bound to become an understated feature, all the recruited characters appear and can be talked to on the Ark! This definitely hit home the Suikoden comparison to me, and it’s sad that I haven’t seen this sort of feature since Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 3 on PSP. Going back to the Ark just to check on my progress of recruitment with my own eyes really hammered down the significance of the Guild system in my eyes – and made me want to recruit even more people.
The Alliance Alive is available for Nintendo 3DS.