Live A Live Chapter Order: Which chapter to play first, and story scenario order suggestions

Live A Live is a unique classic Japanese RPG, and its defining feature is a clever in its simplicity: the game features multiple story scenarios that you can tackle in any order you like. Which begs the question: what order should you play the stories in, and which chapter should you play first?

Each of the scenarios in Live A Live was designed by a different famous manga artist, which means each has its own unique flavor. While there is a single overarching theme and narrative that connects each of the story chapters in the game, they all also stand entirely stand-alone. 

On this page, we’ll offer some suggestions of what scenario to play first and an optimum scenario order - though the choice is ultimately yours.

Live A Live Chapter Select: What order should you play the stories in?

Live A Live initially presents you with seven chapters to choose from, and each is very different from the others.

Before we go any further, let’s get the big question out of the way right up the top: there is no official, optimum order in which to play the stories of Live A Live. Because each scenario is stand-alone, with no crossover of characters, gear, or anything else, you can tackle them in whatever order you like - and ultimately, you’ll only unlock the hidden final scenario by beating all seven that are offered at the game’s outset.

Each of the chapters has some unique quirks, and before we give our suggestions on an order to play in, it’s worth listing those out in case it helps you to make a decision on your own:

  • Prehistory is a fully-fledged mini-RPG, and it’ll introduce you to all of the systems of Live A Live. One curious quirk is that, starring cavemen, there’s no traditional dialogue, only grunts and gestures. Later bosses can be difficult, but you also have the ability to grind it out if you get stuck. 
  • Distant Future is a predominantly story focused experience. There is optional combat in the arcade game, but it’s mostly focused on the characters. In many ways, it’s a big lore dump - it’s not suitable first, but slots in well anywhere else. 
  • Imperial China is fairly combat focused, and it has a unique gimmick in that the main protagonist doesn’t level up - it’s a more straightforward experience. Because of that, it can be an ideal early starting point, or can be used to break up the heavier chapters.
  • The Wild West is a much shorter chapter; one of the shortest in the game. It features only a handful of battles, two playable characters, and a chapter-defining puzzle with an eight-minute time limit. Its final battle can be difficult, but the whole scenario is so short that you just have to change your approach, as there’s no opportunity to grind.
  • Present Day is the shortest of all the chapters and can be beaten within half an hour. It’s essentially a boss rush, so you’re generally better off picking this once you’re more familiar with combat. 
  • The Near Future plays like a more standard-issue Japanese RPG affair, including a world map to explore. 
  • Twilight of Edo Japan is perhaps the longest chapter, with two completely different ways to play it. Whether you aim to kill every last person or stealth your way around to make your objective. 

Once you have completed all seven of these, a final chapter, The Middle Ages, will unlock. After that has been cleared, the final scenario with choices that lead to the various Live A Live endings is available.

With the fact that it’s your decision and that there is no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ first chapter or chapter order noted, we do have some broad recommendations of which chapters you might want to start with, and some suggestions for the best possible order to play them in. These are only suggestions, but having experienced the game, we feel these orders make a lot of sense…

Which Chapter Should You Play First?

Here's three answers for which chapter of Live A Live's stories you should play first.

If you’re just starting Live A Live, we have some broad suggestions on which of the seven scenarios you might want to choose to start off. In particular, we think these three scenarios are the best chapters to choose for your very first experience with the game:

  • Prehistory feels like the chapter that the developers designed to be first - which makes sense, as it’s the earliest in the Live A Live timeline. It’s a long, relatively in-depth RPG story in its own right - but in an interesting twist, it has no traditional dialogue - which you might love, or you might find less interesting. 
  • The Wild West is light on combat, and largely focused on story, exploration, and small puzzles. It does have a handful of combat encounters throughout, however. This makes it a shorter chapter - you can experience it in an hour or so - that’s ideal for dipping a toe into Live A Live’s world with just enough combat to act as a decent combat tutorial. It’s worth noting that The Distant Future is structurally similar to Wild West, but we nevertheless recommend you don’t play that one first, as it’s just not as exciting an intro.
  • Imperial China probably splits the difference between the two above. This is a meatier story than the cowboy adventure, but is more straightforward than Prehistory, with normal dialogue. It’s also one of the friendlier story scenarios in terms of difficulty.

What order should you play the scenarios in?

Ultimately, the stories eventually intertwine, but only loosely - so you can play in whatever order you like.

As for the rest of Live A Live - this is less important than your first scenario, but we do have some general feelings on what order you could tackle the story chapters in: 

  • Chronological Order: This order sees you take on the various stories in the game in the order in which they take place. That’ll be as follows: 
    • Prehistory
    • Imperial China
    • Twilight of Edo Japan
    • The Wild West
    • Present Day
    • The Near Future
    • The Distant Future
  • The Menu Order: When you first boot the game, you’ll be presented with stories in an order that isn’t quite chronological, but almost appears to be a story order suggestion from the developers of Live A Live. When you complete chapters they’ll also appear as badges in this order. It strikes a nice balance of keeping the longest chapters apart from each other, while also breaking the pace between story and gameplay focused scenarios. This is:
    • Prehistory
    • Distant Future
    • Imperial China
    • The Wild West
    • Present Day
    • The Near Future
    • Twilight of Edo Japan

Ultimately, though, the choice is and should be yours. Starting with one of our suggestions as your first chapter is a wise idea - as you're just starting out, and want a natural entry point into the adventures and systems of Live A Live. Beyond that, go with your gut, play the stories in whatever order you like, and keep your eyes open for those bits of connective tissue between each chapter... they're hints as to what will happen in the later stages of the game.