Product Type: Ubisoft Xbox 360 games
Newest Review: ... central hub area where you do have some degree of freedom to roam around. There are no Silent Hill style monsters to fight against - inste... more
A good game, with a poor ending.
I Am Alive (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Hannard
I Am Alive (Xbox 360)
Date: 09/04/12, updated on 09/04/12 (18 review reads)
Advantages: It's great fun to play. It's original.
Disadvantages: The ending is poor and it feels like the game finishes halfway through.
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)
Summary: Good, but it needs more content.
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