I Am Alive Opinion
With almost nothing new to offer to the post-apocalyptic genre, I Am Alive, newly released XBLA title, plays with what most games lack; realism. But fails miserably on concepts and interesting mechanics where it could’ve strived instead of not making me feel bad for laughing too many times at it.
Ok, so let’s get the plot line for I Am Alive out of way fast, shall we? It’s the story of this stranded guy, Adam, in this wasteland of a world ravaged by earthquakes and other unclear events, a (whole) year after this mess occurred, and he’s trying to find his wife and kid. How heart-warming this might sound at first, this element dissipates really fast in the game and the character gives us very little to love or to feel compassion for. It’s never quite sure what really happened on earth since they never really go into details, but it’s referred as to the Event. So, that’s interesting.
The game presentation is very awkward and feels like cheating outside its own element that’s supposed to make this game unique, which is survival in a realistic scale. The main character records videos on a camcorder, addressing them to his wife. The story itself has so many potholes that it makes me giggle just thinking this is supposed to be a serious game. First off, how the hell is he recharging that camera with no power in the whole wide world? Why does it matter if he’s recording those videos since he’s still looking for her? My prediction would be that when they find each other, they sit down quietly and watch those tapes so that she’s going to be able to catch up. But we will never know I guess. The setting of the game is ruined by little and unnecessary means to bring up the story arc.
Besides the presentation, I Am Alive fails in delivering proper game mechanics that don’t feel like it has been in development for 6 years by Ubisoft Shanghai. Your character as a health bar and a stamina bar, which the latter comes in use when climbing buildings, running and pretty much everything else that would require it in real life. So what happens when you’re climbing and you run out of stamina is that you can just stop, go in your inventory and eat a canned good, and you’re fine. With no dramatization nor enough time for you to feel stressed while it fills up since it literally takes 2 seconds. Same as when you’re running and you stop abruptly, your stamina regenerates in no time. This new element is rarely used in the survival horror genre lately but the way it’s misused makes it completely inadequate.
The environment around you is very restraint and not having this sense of liberty for this type of game feels wasted. The rails are too evident and the way the character interacts with the surroundings feels forced and takes away the realistic prospective once more.
You will find yourself crossing the path of thugs or hobos, and you need to able to defend yourself with the one gun and one bullet you will have most of the times. The key is to bluff; just point the gun at the criminals and they will drop their weapons. That is, until you put it down, they come running at you moronically like they forgot you still have the firearm. When you fight with a machete, it gets old, fast. Very repetitive mechanics and lacks at offering anything new or exciting.
The dialogues are, to say the least, insightful. The characters say exactly what you could’ve just seen with no need of explanation like useless English subtitles for an English movie. The conversations are super static, the thugs sounds like bad actors trying out they career and the main character has the least likeable voice-over and the worst lines too.
My advice is to not try out this game, it is not worthy of your time. With I Am Alive hyped for 6 years in development, it just doesn’t do what you would expect a game to do, which is tell a good story, feel compassionate or amused enough to unravel everything its gameplay has to offer and get a sense of closure at the end. But instead, with I Am Alive, you don’t even get past the good story part since bad graphics and bad execution is always in the way reminding you to go play something else.