GAME NAME: I Am Alive
DEVELOPER(S): Ubisoft Shanghai
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360
GENRE(S): Survival Horror
RELEASE DATE(S): 7 March 2012
You know what would be great? A post apocalyptic survival game that mixes modern platforming with action adventure gameplay.You know what would be even better? If that game didn’t have frustrating controls, repetitive gameplay and actually had some substance after 6 years of development.
I Am Alive is based on a really good concept that is frankly loaded with potential. It is a pity that all this is wasted in the final execution. Pretty much anything remotely interesting is exhausted shortly after the tutorial. Developer Darkworks started making I Am Alive in 2008 before having the project taken over by Ubisoft when Darkworks plummeted into liquidation. It is never easy for a studio to take over an in-development title but, given the end result, Ubisoft would have been better off scrapping this title and using the concept to create a new game.
The game takes place after ‘The Event’ which sees the most of humanity wiped out and the remaining few will do anything to remain among the living. Your character, known simply as Adam, has trekked across the country to meet up with his family. However this aspect of the plot is nullified very early in the game. What you will get out of I Am Alive is a very morbid, desperate feel that is executed very well through the use of a stark grey atmosphere and a hazardous barren landscape. As much as this captures the nature of the game the setting becomes stagnant and winds up being disastrously repetitive.
I Am Alive focuses heavily on exploration. Adam puts his body on the line throughout the game, clinging and grappling from one hazard to another. This affects your all-important stamina meter which depletes the more you tussle through obstacles. Collecting ammunition and various supplies is another facet of the game; it would hardly be a survival title without it. Items are scarce and players quickly learn to utilise them sparingly yet efficiently.
Using some of your items to rescue people will reward you with a ‘retry’ which proves valuable later on in the game when you really don’t want to start at the last checkpoint all over again. Your health bar will drop as quickly as your stamina bar does, especially since various people will intimidate you throughout the game. Sometimes these unpleasant folk can be avoided by simple walking away, others aren’t as easy to shrug off and need further ‘convincing’. This needs to be done strategically as Adam can easily die from a single bullet wound.
As far as creating a relevant mood and atmosphere goes I am Alive deliverers with a doubt. It is unfortunate that this title has nothing else in its favour. The controls are frustrating and the gameplay and storyline descend into mind-numbing repetitiveness ridiculously quickly. I Am Alive has plenty of really good concepts and you can’t help but feel that if Ubisoft ran with this game from day one the finished title would have turned out. Unfortunately this game loses its endurance quicker than its main character and that’s pretty darn quick.