Published on March 20th, 2012 | by Charlie


Review: I Am Alive

Review: I Am Alive Charlie

Summary: Charlie takes a look at I Am Alive, is it any good? read the review to find out!


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)
Gamers have been waiting for this game for years, where the game was passed from the now defunct Darkworks to Ubisoft Shanghai. Over the years, details of the game have constantly changed, from the story, to even the way the protagonist looks. Let’s just cut straight to it with this point: Was it worth the wait? Not really. But does that stop this from being a rather unique and interesting game? Of course it doesn’t. In fact, you could go as far to say that this is probably one of the most unique games in recent years. You might remember that a while ago, the story originally was that a massive earthquake happened in Chicago scaling around the 10’s. Since then, the story’s now changed, where something called “The Event” happened, where there was a world wide catastrophe. You don’t actually know what fully happened, but from the damage of the world, you presume there were thousands of earthquakes all around the world. You play as Adam Collins, who sort of reminds me of Brian Cox (the scientist). He returns to his home town of Haventon, one year after “the Event” in search of his wife and daughter, Mary. Once he returns to his house, he learns that his wife and daughter are not there and that they were taken to safe camps. But the story takes a slight detour, when he meets a little girl called Mai. It’s a nice bond you see between Adam and Mei, and throughout some of the game, it’s your job to protect her from harm and get her back to a man named Henry, after her mother goes missing. It’s a bit of a weird detour, and I’ve actually noticed people find this a rather sheepish story, where it seems he just forgets about is wife and daughter. But he’s just met a lost girl; he’s not exactly going to go say “Sorry little girl. I got to find my wife and daughter. Bye!” Adam carries around a camera, to which he documents his findings, merely for anyone who might find the camera if he dies in the future. The game might actually remind you of many films and games to which it might have got inspiration from. You might think of I Am Legend, Metro 2033, 2012, Silent Hill, The Road and perhaps even The Day after Tomorrow. One thing you’ve got to face when you start the game is that the game has average graphics. Character animations are rather buggy, lip syncing isn’t perfect and textures do slightly pop in at the wrong moments or don’t pop in at all, but lets bare in mind, this is a downloadable game after all, not a full retail game like it was originally intended for. The game doesn’t have much colour, where the only real colour you see are some flags blowing in the wind and the colour of Adam’s skin. The reason everything is so grey and murky is due to the insane amounts of dust that pollutes the environment. It pollutes the environment so much that lower areas of the environment are almost deadly, where you’ll lose stamina the longer you stand in it, and then very soon, your health, You have both a stamina bar and a health bar, both of which you need to keep a close eye on. You know in Assassin’s Creed, where you can jump onto a ledge and literally hang there for hours on end? Well this game completely changes that. There tends to be a lot of climbing involved, and as you climb, you’ll lose stamina and the pressure is really put on you as your controller begins to shake on you when your stamina has nearly depleted. Once it’s depleted, you get a second chance by quickly tapping a button, where the outer stamina bar itself actually goes down in size, which has a permanent effect until you use an item that replenishes your outer stamina bar. The inner stamina replenishes once you either reach the top of where you need to go, until you use some food, or when you use a piton. I must admit though… the idea that food/water replenishes your stamina “while” you’re climbing is rather a silly idea, but if you try hard enough, it can be overlooked. It’s a slight challenge in itself to figure out where you’re going. You get a map which gets updated quite a lot to tell you where your possible exit routes are, or what ways are blocked off, which comes in handy quite a lot. The real challenge is if you choose to play in the hardest difficulty, where you start off with absolutely no retries (in the lowest difficulty, you’ll start off with 3 retries). Retries are sort of a second chance, where if you die, you’ll go back to a checkpoint. However if you lose all your retries, you go back to where an “episode” last saved. As said, this is a real challenge, because sometimes you might travel quite a distance, near the end of an episode and then you lose all your retries, and then you’re all the way back to where you were that was so far away. You can earn more retries by finding other survivors who have a problem, such as if they’re trapped under rubble (since after shocks happen quite often these days in the game), or they’ve been stabbed and so forth. If you have the supplies, and if you’re not selfish and you use it on them, you earn a retry. Of course, not all survivors are in distress of some sort. Some want to hurt you, where you might encounter 3, 4 or even 5 people, all armed with knives or guns. When you start the game on the highest difficulty, you have a gun with no bullets and minor food. Food, water, medicine and ammo are all scarce, so fighting your way out of being bullied by a group of thugs can be tricky. What’s rather unique, which I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen in a game, is that you can bluff that there’s a bullet in your gun, even if there is no bullet in it. You got to be careful on who you do this to, because in a group of people, 1 or maybe 2 people might actually have a gun with a bullet in it, so you might want to try and back off into an area where the others can’t get to you as easily if you have someone pointing a gun at you. When you do have bullets, do not waste them, because it’ll get extremely hard to get out of large group situations if many have guns. It should be an easy fight if you’re up against 1 or 2 people, especially if you’re near some fire or a ledge, because you can actually push them towards that ledge/fire and push them down. One thing that bugged me when pushing a person into fire is that they don’t look to be in pain. You might hear them yelp a little bit, as if they’ve been cut, but that’s it; there’s like no agony. There are also times when dialogue will also cut short before they’ve even finished their sentences, and a lot of the time, you’ll hear the same sound clip over and over throughout the game. Something else which is rather off is that you might end up shooting someone in a group (probably the guy with a gun), and after a while, the other guys say something like “he hasn’t got the stomach for it to kill us” or “his gun isn’t even loaded”, even though they just probably saw me take bullets from the guy with the gun who I just killed WITH my gun. It’s also odd how the only gun bullet people have are pistol bullets. There’s also some slight frame rate issues too that only tend to occur when there are a lot of people around. Not only that, but even though the gameplay is unique, it can get rather repetitive. There’s no doubt I Am Alive comes with a lot of short comings, but to be honest, they’re rather minor ones, and if you try hard enough to look on the bright side of a gloomy looking environment (see what I did there?), you might actually end up enjoying the game more than you thought. The game isn’t for everyone, I’m sure, and some will enjoy it more than others. Is the game worth it’s 1200MSP price? Not really. Perhaps you should wait until the price is 800MSP, but at least give the trial a go. To me, the game is good enough to play.

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About the Author

Some say I should be a video game journalist, others say a video game designer. Shame you can't be both.

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