I am Alive is the survival game from Ubisoft set in the future, after a catastrophic event has fallen mankind, and left only a few survivors on earth. A few people may remember the original trailer from 2008:
If you count yourself as one of those people, then prepare to be disappointed, as Ubisoft changed majority of the formula from what they was showing in the original trailer, and instead made a fairly action orientated third person adventure game. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing mind you, but I think majority of the gaming community would agree that the original trailer showed a lot of promise and originality in an otherwise over-saturated market.
The game centres around a unnamed protagonist who is searching for his wife and daughter in his hometown of Haventon, after a year of walking across the states to reach there. We are greeted with a view of the decaying city, with no access except across a broken bridge. It’s here that the game introduces you to the concept of stamina, and by god you better get used to it.
Stamina is one of the main game mechanics you have to use in I am alive, effecting everything, from climbing a mountain, to literally just breathing. In theory, stamina fits perfectly in this post-apocalyptic world, ensuring that a player thinks about every action before he or she goes ahead. In reality though, this mechanic just becomes a frustrating barrier to you actually enjoying the world of Haventon. So many times I would just want to explore and see the inhabitants of this desolate town, but it’s broken up every few seconds with climbing, just to make sure you can breath again before running down the same flag pole to go down the same street you were just walking down. It’s frustrating, and genuinely detracts from the game.
Characters in I am Alive are very believable, to the point I actually really felt attached to the little girl called Mei that you have to carry around and care for. The artists should be proud of what they’ve done with the people, showing true human nature in a world without morales.
Action sequences follow a scripted pattern of aiming your gun at someone until they either decide to surrender, or shoot them on the spot. This is interesting at first, but leads to a routine later on in the game, meaning enemy encounters just aren’t that great, and leave a lot to be desired.
- Great characters
- Ok climbing mechanics
- Stamina is too frustrating
- Save points too far apart (leading me to lose an hours worth of gameplay at one point)
Overall I am Alive just felt underwhelming. There was some challenge in the way it set the mechanics, but really, it all felt like these challenges were just there to mask the terrible game underneath, with all of its many flaws.