“ Manufacturer: Ubi Soft „
I Am Alive! Which is a bit surprising since the game in question has been in and out of development hell several times, has changed development teams and was in fact first mooted in 2008. But here it is, and it's surprisingly good, at least until you get the end, but more on that later.
I Am Alive has been released as a PSN/360 downloadable title, although it was originally planned as a retail disc release. The game takes place in the near future, after an unspecified disaster has killed most of the inhabitants of one or more cities. The game doesn't say what caused the disaster, or how big an area it's affected - but it's implied it's continent wide, if not global. You play as Adam, a man who has recently recovered from the injuries he sustained during the disaster. You head off to your home town of Haverton with the intention of finding your wife and daughter.
Gameplay entails running, climbing and occasionally shooting your way around Haverton undertaking a variety of mini quests. The game isn't open world like Grand Theft Auto, but there is a central hub area where you do have some degree of freedom to roam around. There are no Silent Hill style monsters to fight against - instead, your enemy is the environment. Aside from having to clamber around abandoned buildings, you also have to deal with the dust that was thrown up by the disaster. The dust just serves to obscure your view initially but as you get lower down into the streets you find that hanging around in dust filled areas can be seriously hazardous to your health.
Climbing is a bit strange at first, since the game gives you a stamina bar that is depleted when you climb or when you're low in the dust. Your stamina only goes back up again when you're on a ledge or if you use an item to restore it. Granted, the game's more of a challenge if you don't use the items but it's nevertheless odd to have to pause to knock back a can of fruit salad mid climb to avoid falling off. That aside, the controls work fairly well.
Another hazard - apart from falling off a building - is being murdered by one of the city's fellow survivors. Not all the people in the city you encounter are lunatics, but quite a lot of them are. Bullets are pretty sparse so you can't run around blasting people as you see fit. Instead, you can use your gun as a deterrent, or slash people with a machete at short range. Oddly - and this is one of my gripes with the game - you can't just slash away at people. You have to wait till they're standing close and then press a button to initiate a button mashing mini-game. Alternately, you can get people to back off and then kick them into a hole - although all the while you're doing this anyone you're not pointing your gun at will get closer. Combat is a pretty tense affair in this game.
Some people have complained that I Am Alive's graphics aren't all that great and while they might not be quite as good as the likes of Gears of War, the advantage to them being slightly lower quality is that you can see a great distance in the game without the frame-rate dropping. And some of the views in the game are breathtaking - you get to view the devastation from the tops of skyscrapers, through broken windows and more.
Story-wise, I Am Alive is a little odd. The game has you supposedly looking for your wife but you end up getting distracted and running errands to help an unrelated little girl and her family. That's no so unusual if the main character's a hero, right? Except that when I was playing I shot an old woman in the face for no other reason than she was trying to defend her property. I also ignored all the other people asking for help - though I plan to do their side quests on a second playthrough. So the game is forcing me to adopt a certain morality. But I can forgive that.
What's less forgivable is that the game just ends. Instead of their being any proper resolution as to what happens to your wife and child, the game just finishes. That's not to say the game won't occupy you for a while, and it is only twelve quid or so. But I suspect what happened is that the game's development was halted halfway through and the company that took over decided to just publish what they had.
I Am Alive is an entertaining and surprisingly original game and for twelve quid it's well worth picking up. Just be warned that you're not going to get a satisfactory conclusion at the end of it. Roll on 'I Am Still Alive' perhaps?
(also posted on freeola)
== I AM ALIVE ==
Finally I can say that I Am Alive has been released. I Am Alive has taken four years to be released but not how we all thought. I Am Alive didn't get a retail release and is in fact an Xbox Live Arcade game. This doesn't bother me an awful lot because a while back the game looked dead and was forgotten about but it definitely would of been better as a full release. I Am Alive is a survival horror game and one of the more realistic ones around to date mainly because others usually involve things like zombies or other creatures/monsters. I Am Alive doesn't feature any of these but you do have enemies such as other human beings. The game is available on PS3 as well as Xbox 360 and the game was developed by Ubisoft Shanghai and published by Ubisoft.
=== STORY ===
The story to I Am Alive is one reason why I love the game because its something new and exciting and is full of suspense and thrills. You are a guy called Adam who, one year on, after a worldwide disaster finds himself alone with most of human civilization wiped out and also finds himself struggling to survive in the deserted and destroyed town of Haventon. Adam is alone as he goes in search of his wife and daughter whom he hasn't seen in almost a year. Adam also meets survivors in and around the town and must help them with things they need and want and he also meets people which give him quests to do as he searches for his family.
=== GAMEPLAY ===
I Am Alive is similar to some survival horror games but mainly because of the camera angle the game uses. The game is shot from a third person perspective and overall this works really well and the camera in this game barely gets annoying like in most games. There is only one real game mode but there are two difficulties. One is just a basic normal difficulty and the other is actually called survival mode where enemies are harder to beat and rations and other items are harder to come by. When in the game you will come across tons of different items and you have to be very careful because you will meet survivors that might want your items.
After helping a survivor by giving them your goods that you have found you will automatically receive a bonus retry. Retries in this game are a massive thing because if you die and use one it automatically takes you back to your last checkpoint but if you die and have used all your retries you are automatically taken back to your last save point. I think this is a really good thing about the game because it makes it much more challenging over time. Adam has a health bar and stamina bar which is used throughout the whole of the game with the things you can do with Adam. He can jog which uses his stamina and sprint by tapping your button which uses much more stamina. Stamina automatically refills when you are resting, walking or basically not straining yourself. You will find items that will heal your health and stamina if you get desperate.
Adam does a hell of a lot of climbing in this game and its a bit of a mix between Tomb Raider style and Prince Of Persia style but more realistic and exciting. When climbing up to extreme heights Adam's stamina will drop increasingly but there are pitons that can help you. The game is quite realistic in places with bullets, rations and other bits hard to come by. Adam will use things such as a pistol, bow and grappling hook to get to those hard to reach places. You can use your pistol to hold up enemies and force them to back off to the edge of buildings or close to a lit fire and then you can kick them off or into the fire if you so wish. Adam will also receive a gas mask later in the game to help with the dust and ash in the lower area of town.
The game doesn't just have your normal survivors as it also has enemies that will attack you to survive or protect their territory. You must do what you can to survive and sometimes you can find yourself taking on up to 6 enemies at once. Approaching enemies with guns will cause them to aim the gun at you, now you have the decision to either approach the enemy because some don't actually have bullets or you can just walk away and nothing will happen. You could also go for the more serious option and pull your gun out and try to kill them before they kill you. The only downside is the rarity of ammo so you must use it wisely. Other enemies may approach you with machetes so you can hold your hands up and surprise them when they least expect it by slicing them with your very own machete. There are enemies later that wear bullet proof armor and will require you to shoot them in the head.
=== GRAPHICS ===
Now the graphics to I Am Alive are superb and stand out with great detail. Okay so its not up to some high standards like proper retail games but for an Xbox Live Arcade game the graphics are amazing. The town is beautifully designed very similar to a foggy Silent Hill town. Also Adam the main character of the game is a great looking character to play and is detailed really well. The game is better played at night because the game does have its dark parts which are very hard to see in daylight but the colouring overall is actually spot on. Later in the game things get worse with the dust and ash which makes it harder for you to see and to navigate around but i also think this works really well too. Enemies are probably the least detailed because you will meet many enemies that look alike but its nothing major. Overall I think I Am Alive is definitely one of the better looking Xbox Live Arcade games around!
=== SOUND EFFECTS ===
The sound effects to the game are very detailed in all aspects and is by far one of the positives of the game. The music gets exciting at times and adds more suspense and drama to the game. But the real bonus about the sound is the actual in game effects because they really bring the game to life. What stands out really well is the climbing effects when Adam is flying up all kinds of different bits. I was quite impressed with the action sound effects as well. Overall the game does have some top sound effects that sound perfect from a bit of machete fighting, climbing up massive buildings, running in the empty streets and having a shoot out with a bunch of savages and they all sound fantastic overall. You will meet many characters who sound and fit the game really well and its surprisingly impressive.
=== DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
This is one of those games where it can be quite challenging especially if you're new to these survival horror games. This is probably one of the hardest and most annoying at times but it rarely disappointed me. The hardest part of the game is probably keeping your items for other survivors that you want to help and when fighting numerous enemies at once. Because you rarely find ammo and sometimes you don't have any then you're going to struggle especially against the enemies with the guns which is always best to try and take them out first because 9/10 they will drop a bullet for you and you can hold the others up with your gun. Climbing up and finding where to go isn't too hard but can be confusing later on in the game. Controls are pretty much accurate and easy to master. Overall the difficulty of the game would be challenging for most.
By far the disappointment of the game is the length of it. It does have its replay value though and is one of the most enjoyable survival horror games I have ever played. Also because its something different is a bonus. The game took me roughly around 4-5 hours on one playthrough which isn't the worst ever and that's not forgetting the game is an Arcade games. Also the game is more challenging in survival mode which could take double the amount of time to finish. Overall I think its a little disappointing but its worth it and is worth playing through numerous times.
=== PRICE & ACHIEVEMENTS ===
I wasn't really that surprised by the price of the game but its definitely worth its value. The game cost me 1200 Microsoft Points which is equivalent to around £9.99. So for a fantastic survival horror game at that price its definitely value for money. Microsoft Points can be more expensive than that but there are places such as eBay, Game and Gamestation that sell them online for £9.99 for 1200 points and its even better because you get the code for the points in seconds. So overall very cheap for a brand new game.
There are a total of just 12 achievements on the game and to get all of them it will require you to go through the game at least twice. 200g is on offer because its an Arcade game but there is a bit of variety in the achievements which is always good to see. Some achievements include completing the game on normal mode and survival mode and some also include saving a certain amount of survivors or doing certain missions. Overall there is a nice variety.
=== PROS ===
*Stunning environments and very detailed graphics for an Arcade game.
*The game features some fantastic sound effects and some suspenseful music throughout that will keep you on edge throughout.
*I really like the story because its something new and very interesting.
*Not just a survival game because it has action and platforming elements too.
*£9.99 for a top notch survival horror game is well worth it.
*Its quite realistic in some places and makes a lot of sense.
=== CONS ===
*Its not a proper retail release which is a shame.
*The game isn't massive and can be completed in no time when you get the hang of it.
*Also the game is a little difficult in places especially when you're surrounded by enemies.
*No multiplayer options at all except online leaderboards.
*The side quests when helping survivors seem a little repetitive at times.
=== FINAL THOUGHT ===
So I Am Alive was finally released on the Xbox 360 but not as a proper game but just as a download only after a whole 4 years worth of waiting I have to say i thoroughly enjoyed it and I am very glad I got it. I Am Alive is exciting and full of surprises. I do feel the game would of been better if released on disc and if it was much longer or had some sort of multiplayer option other than a leaderboard that doesn't effect the game at all.
I Am Alive is definitely a game i would recommend especially if you like the Silent Hill games or other games similar to that. Also if you like a good challenging game then this could be right up your street. The main thing to look at is the length and to be honest you shouldn't let the length of this put you off because the town is quite big and you can explore quite a lot of it. Also the game has to be completed numerous times for all achievements and its just as enjoyable second time round.
So Overall a top Arcade game and worth every penny and definitely a game I would recommend. I would give I Am Alive a fantastic 9/10 rating! One of the best Arcade games available on Xbox Live and soon to be on PSN (PS3).
Review also posted on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!