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.
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.
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.
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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