“ Manufacturer: Playstation Store / Type: Role-Playing - PS3 - Download „
I am a big fan of the Uncharted series and have always liked games such as Tomb Raider Underworld and Prince of Persia which have climbing, fighting and jumping as well as interesting storylines and good controls. So when I saw the trailer for I am Alive I really wanted to play it as it seemed to cover all these points.
I was disappointed to find out I am alive is a digital game only which is available for download on Xbox LIVE and the PlayStation store. I refuse to pay for a digital game or content (I like to be able to sell my games once I've completed them) and I can't understand why they decided not to bring this game out on disk. I'd happily buy it if it did come out on disk, but as it is I settled for downloading the free trial/demo from the PlayStation Store.
I am alive is a survival horror based in America. Most cities have been destroyed after an event and now everyone is struggling to survive. Supplies are low and some people will do anything to survive. You play as a survivor, a man called Adam. The story starts out in his home town as he attempts to find his wife and daughter.
The game starts with a short video explaining how things are, although all you really find out is that this guy who doesn't give a name is trying to survive and has traveled back to his home town after the event. You then learn the basics of climbing, shooting/killing and how to survive.
When I first started moving around I found it easy enough to control but it wasn't long before I ran into a rather annoying problem. Invisible boundaries. These are quite common in games, although generally they annoy me less in games now than a few years ago. It's usually clearer where the boundaries are. Either a high wall, a massive drop or small gaps between buildings which are either too small to go down, are dark and obviously go nowhere or after walking into the invisible wall once you know you'll never be able to go between any buildings.
However, I was walking along, making my way through vehicles when suddenly I got spun around. It took me a moment to realise why and a few more minutes after that to find out where I should be heading as that looked the only obvious path as I somehow missed the bridge I needed to cross to start with. I was obviously just facing the wrong direction.
Still, when I got to the bridge I had to jump and then climb. For some reason he didn't want to jump and I began to wonder if I'd gone the wrong way. After he eventually decided he would jump I began climbing. It didn't help that it didn't tell me what I needed to press to jump and it wasn't until I was in exactly the right place that it told me what button to press for things such as jumping and climbing.
He doesn't climb across or jump realistically. Apart from that, the climbing is quite like it is in Uncharted, except that you have to watch your stamina because if it drops to nothing you will fall, whereas in Uncharted you can just hang on forever. It's basically as though you are being timed which on one hand does make it more realistic but on the other hand I wasn't always sure he was going to make it in time because he didn't always like to jump the first time you press the button.
Once you've pulled yourself up on a ledge or platform the stamina bar does fill up again very quickly which is nice because you can start climbing again soon after but it does seem a rather pointless feature. All it does it make you feel under pressure to climb quicker than the character usually wants to.
Overall, the guy is easy to control, the actions are all simple and stamina and health are easy to see. There's also a map that you bring up on screen so you can see where you are going which is useful (unless perhaps you're very bad at map reading). It also tells you what the objective is which is good.
Apart from the video sequences the guy doesn't seem that realistic - although you can't just jump off edges and kill him, if you could you wouldn't feel remotely sorry for doing it. There's nothing that makes you feel connected to the character or sorry for what he's going through in trying to survive. You do find out later on that he has a wife and daughter that he wants to find, but you play for a while before that with no clue why you're doing anything.
As you go through the game you find there are items to help you. These items light up to show you are there. You also have objectives that light up to show you where to go or what to do. For example, a weapon and a lock so you know to pick up the weapon and then break the lock on a gate to get through to a new area.
Although the place is quite big and there are different areas you feel rather restricted. There's not much freedom to walk around randomly and no real need to. Perhaps if you play on further than I did then you have more freedom or different items you need to find, but it certainly doesn't earlier on and it didn't seem like that was about to change.
Although there's no freedom in where you go you do have a choice in the game when it comes to people. You can either help or kill people. This is a nice feature as you can be a good guy or a bad guy, but with the people I meet they either threatened me and I felt I had to either fight or walk away, they attacked me and I had to attack because they were where I needed to be, or they were clearly in trouble and I felt I had to help them. In fact, I felt sorrier for the random people on the street than I did for the character. They at least gave a bit of a back story and you could see them struggling.
The lighting is horrible at times and far too bright. The camera angle also seems a bit too far over sometimes. However, generally the camera angle is fine and, apart from it being dull, the lighting is fine so it doesn't ruin the game but it is one of them things that can get annoying.
Although there is clearly a story and a seemingly interesting one you don't get to find out much. Something bad happened but it's kept a mystery. I guess the idea is to make you keep playing, but personally I'd prefer to know the reason I'm now trying to survive in such a harsh environment. Some mystery is fine but it would be nice to have some idea of what happened and what to expect, if only to have some motivation for surviving or a connection to the character.
The graphics are pretty impressive but really dull. Cities may have been destroyed and there may be dust everywhere, but that doesn't mean there shouldn't be some colour in the game. It gets boring quickly just looking at the same dull environment.
The only time I saw colour was when I was dying and there was red around the screen, but that just reminded me of Uncharted. If you think about it the use of colour for that doesn't make sense. Obviously it is meant to be blood, which you do see in Uncharted, but in this game you don't, so if anything the screen should just start to go black or white because if you black out or faint everything is more likely to lose colour rather than turn red.
The title screen and loading screen have eerie music which sets the mood for the game. After that it goes silent until you reach a camera and hear a guys voice. The guy sounds how you would expect, there's nothing really special about him, he's just an ordinary guy. When the actual game starts you hear the guy say odd comments and there is some music in the background, still a rather eerie sound, but it's very quiet so I didn't really notice it while playing. In fact, I had to check if there was any music before writing this. However, now I know there is music it will probably annoy me as it is repetitive.
There are sound effects, such as water, which are realistic and do add to the game, but background noises do seem to be limited. There's nothing wrong with the audio that is in the game but there's nothing that stands out about it.
The game costs £11.99 from the PlayStation store or you can download the trial for free. The trial download is 1953mb. It took about half an hour to download and about 5 minutes to install, which isn't too bad in my opinion. I expected it to take longer.
Overall I'm quite disappointed by the game as it could have been so much better. I certainly won't be paying out the £11.99 for the full digital copy. If it did ever come out on disk I'd probably pick up a copy, although I'm still not sure I'd be willing to pay £11.99 for it and I certainly wouldn't pay the £30+ that most new releases cost. The game has its good points and I'd certainly recommend downloading the free trial and giving it a try, but I can't really recommend buying it.