The Alliance Alive isn’t a game with the largest scope or ambition, but it does have a lot of heart. The Daemon’s in the details, as they say, and the game pays attention to a lot of smaller details that usually get overlooked.
Previously, I made mention of the fact that all your recruited Guild members do appear on the Ark, and can be talked to. Actually, there’s a hidden sound test function in the game, by way of a Daemon Guild Master named Pendragon. He can be recruited by spending at least 30 Chaosium gems total, and after you obtain the Ark. He sits on the deck of the ship, and the game treats the sound test function as him playing his music. It’s a neat detail for a function that’s usually completely divorced from the main game, if present at all.
(The name of the songs in Pendragon’s list actually have background lore details! Pendragon also appears near areas with Force Gears after you recruit him.)
Another thing I noticed was how each of the 9 (plus 3) playable characters had their own footsteps sound effects! The footstep SFX varies not only between character to character, but also depending on what sort of surface the character is stepping on. I looked it up online, and apparently a significant amount of the SFX data went into recreating the different footstep sounds, which is a pretty serious dedication to diversifying the characters down to the finer aspects.
Actually, what lead character on the world map you have might impact your experience with the game, even if in just minor ways. Some NPCs respond differently depending on who you talk to them with, and switching out lead characters can get you extra Guild applicants, and some Sorcery-selling beastfolk outright refuse to sell you anything unless Vivian, Ignace, or Barbarosa are talking to them. Characters also have lines for nearly any sub-event in the game. I left most of the sub-event rooms in the Ancient Museum untouched, and when I tried to do the sub-events with Iggy in the lead, sure enough, she had her own things to say.
Finally, depending on who you have as a lead character, you get different naming options when clicking Random while renaming things like Formations! For example, Galil has around 15 random names he will come up with, and they are all themed on famous swords. Azura, fitting her name, comes up with various ‘blue sky’-related phrases. Ignace names his Formations based on different types of tea, and so on.
It’s just nice to have a JRPG that really pays attention to the smaller things! While the bigger picture may be a little above average, it’s really these details that endeared me to the characters, and encouraged me to start a second playthrough of the game.
The Alliance Alive is available for Nintendo 3DS.