I Am Alive Review

Discussion in 'Gaming News, Reviews & Previews' started by GamrInsanity, Mar 8, 2012.

I Am Alive Review

GamrInsanity Mar 8, 2012

  1. GamrInsanity

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    After six long years I Am Alive has been released, but was it worth the wait? Yes it was!!!
    Are you sick and tired of playing the same type of games year after year? As Call of Duty sales show that answer is no, but for a company like Ubisoft to take a chance on a game that seemed to be nonexistent after going dark for a few years and show the world that new experiences can be a fun and original experience without the $60 price tag. This is one of the most unique and original experiences released in the digital market priced at 1200 Microsoft Points.
    I am Alive is a post apocalyptic thriller with a true means of survival. After a worldwide crisis only mentioned as, “The Event”, will have you trying to work your way back through ruins of what is left of the place that you called home. You play as a man who arrives in the city of Haventon looking for his wife and daughter whom he hasn’t seen in a full year. After going through some narration about where he has been and how long it has taken him to get back, it doesn’t take long before he finds someone that is just trying to find her way back home. With only a pistol, some climbing gear and the will to find his family the search for resources is a key essential to surviving the harsh elements that await you.
    As you begin the game and you start exploring it gives the player a “Silent Hill like atmosphere with a gripping struggle to climb and hang on like in “Shadow of the Colossus”. While in I am Alive, every action takes up stamina. As you climb over ruined buildings, stalled cars, crippled bridges and high rubble, your stamina meter will drain. Once it drains all the way, your overall stamina capacity begins dropping, resulting in a lethal fall or less energy to tackle the next set of obstacles. Your stamina always drains quickly, giving you usually just enough to time to make it from resting point to resting point before your capacity starts to drain. This gives the player a sense of urgency and a rush of wonder if they have what it takes to make it up certain structures.
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    You can regain stamina and health by utilizing found resources like painkillers, fruit cocktails, water bottles, first aid kits, or just by finding a rest spot or climbing hook to recharge your grip. Seeing that the world has been ruined, resources are extremely rare and difficult to come by. This in turn, encourages exploring every nook and cranny of the gameworld, providing some interesting surprises along the way. The fact that there’s also a toxic cloud of dust that hovers directly over the main streets of Haventon that will burn away your stamina if you spend too much time in it, gives even the exploration a tense sense of urgency unseen in other titles.
    Like any other resource, bullets are scarce and must not be wasted in order to survive. When you encounter one or multiple enemies, you are given several options to deal with the scenario. Sometimes all you need to do is walk away slowly and a skirmish won’t even take place as the NPC will yell at you to “keep right on walking” away from their turf. For the times that violence is unavoidable, you can surprise an enemy with a quick machete strike as they bully you, or threaten enemies with a gun regardless of how many bullets you actually have, which is usually close to zero (You’ll thank your lucky stars when you find the bow and arrow with reusable ammo). Your enemies will only be threatened so long, so you’ll need to make quick decisions as to which enemy gets your last bullet to the skull before they fully test your resolve to shoot in the first place. Enemies can also be intimidated by being pushed down holes and into fires. If you make a wrong move against more than one enemy, you can easily be overwhelmed and killed in mere seconds. It’s a surprisingly mature way of dealing with conflict which hasn’t been seen before in gaming, and reinforces I am Alive as a game for adults, one in which violence is best avoided and literally no bullet goes unwasted. It creates unseen tension from an action game to threaten someone with an unloaded gun and bluff your way out of a situation.
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    The other people you will encounter in the game are usually victims that need your help. Usually, helping a victim requires going into your own bag of resources and sparing an inhaler for someone trapped in the dust cloud, a first aid kit for someone with a broken leg, or even sparing a last cigarette for a dying man. Helping victims is rewarded by additional retries from checkpoints. If you help some of the survivers it will give you some back story to the game that you wouldn’t find out otherwise. If you decide to play on Survivor mode, retries are worth their weight in gold and are just as essential as any other resource, considering that when you run out, you’re thrown back to the last save point, sometimes as much as a half hour back. Some may be frustrated by not being able to save at checkpoints and retry infinitely, but I loved the extra challenge in a game industry that has gone somewhat soft.
    That’s not to say the game doesn’t make you want to throw your controller at times. The game’s unique mechanics and linear nature sometimes demand an infuriating level of trial and error, or can be downright impossible if you weren’t wise with your resources. At least there was a victim to help right after the checkpoint, so I could retry infinitely by repeatedly saving their life. The same goes for the climbing sections when you just can’t seem to find the right pathway through the maze of pipes and ledges to get to the next objective.
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    The game’s pervasive atmosphere owes a lot to Silent Hill, especially when you are exploring the dust cloud and can only see three feet in front of you. A convenient and auto-updating world map (which updates in red sharpie, also just like Silent Hill), will be your best friend in the less linear areas. You’ll pay visits to the tops of Haventon’s tallest skyscrapers, plunge into its darkest subway tunnels, climb through a ruined mall, and fight your way through an unfriendly hotel filled with enemies. Considering the game’s eight hour length, you certainly get your money’s worth considering the game’s $20 price tag on either the XBLA or PSN. The game’s Unreal Engine powered graphics have crammed an impressive level of environmental detail, a great draw distance, superb character animation, and outstanding lighting effects into a tiny 2GB package. I am Alive is not the best looking game on the market, but it very well could be the best found on either console’s downloadable-only networks.
    So should you play this game?
    Absolutely! If you’re looking for a new gameplay experience for $20 or less be sure to take a stab at this $20 hit. It gives a much needed change to the game industry in the struggle to survive. Don’t get this game and try compare it to games like “Fallout” because when you play a game like that you almost have unlimited way of getting resources, but in this game they don’t come as easy. You will need to try and avoid conflict, help others and find your family. This is a must have for anyone that wants a cheap and innovative new experience.

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