Release Date: March 7th, 2012
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360 Arcade]
Genre: Survival Horror
Rated: M for Mature
I Am Alive is a Survival Horror Arcade title brought to us by Ubisoft in which you find yourself playing the role of a man struggling to survive in world after a cataclysmic event that has destroyed the majority of the world and the human race. It is your job to stay alive all while trying to find resources for your survival in an attempt to find your family and rescue strangers.
While I am Alive is full of potential and awesome Ideas Ubisoft falls short on delivery and is extremely poorly executed. Here is why I think you should save your hard earned money.
First off the controls are far from perfect and are actually pretty horrible. Originally I thought they were just unresponsive but it turns out there is actually a learning curve to this game. While playing you are prompted to push certain buttons, with the means of teaching you the moves, I found that more often then not I was getting NO response to my button selection. This left me extremely frustrated. I often found myself repeatedly mashing the button until I got the desired response. This happened to me with prompts and without prompts. After a while I realized that you have to be perfectly lined up for the desired outcome to actually occur, hence the learning curve.
If you are anything like me you begin pushing all the buttons immediately to try and “learn” the controls. I quickly noticed the lack of a jump button. At first this had me pretty angry. Why is there no jump button? Because of Stamina my friend! Damn you stamina I cursed in my head. You will notice a long bar along the top of your screen. Half the bar is red; your health meter and the other half is white; your Stamina. Stamina is extremely important in this game. And although it does slowly regenerate you are better off thinking of it as the gas in your car. Without it you aren’t going anywhere. Except maybe to your death.
A short time into the game you will realize that NOT having a jump button is really in your best interest. Everything you do from running, to jumping, to climbing uses your stamina. So in order to avoid needless stamina use, whether by accident or for fun, you can only jump when you approach an area you can jump to and or climb. And since I am Alive has almost as much climbing and maneuvering as it does walking you bet your butt you want to save all the Stamina you can.
Second of all one would think that with a story like the one behind I am Alive that you would be excited and completely drawn in, but yet some how you are not. In a post-apocalyptic world were you are scavenging for ammunition and supplies you would think the plot would be full of action. However, there is more down time then anything and the game is actually really boring. You spend the majority of your time wandering around completing tasks. When you do come across some high intense action in the game it is short-lived and very frustrating. With the combination of unresponsive controls and over whelming intense situations I found myself raging, and raging hard. You don’t come across one guy here and there along your travels but rather 3 or more at a time. Armed with a blade and a pistol, with usually only one bullet, you could see how one would become flustered.
The idea of having a pistol and only one round reminded me of the Black Ops Wager Match “One in the Chamber”. And being a huge fan of Wager Matches I was really excited at the idea. However, this quickly turned to frustration and anger. The problem with this is the fact if you miss the guy you are out of bullets and chances are he has bullets and you die. Okay so you can reset and start again right? Well yes but not really. In I am Alive you are given two difficulty settings. In the easier mode you are guaranteed 3 retries and there is always the opportunity of finding more along your travels. Where as on the difficult setting you get NO retries.
So you are probably thinking “if I play on the easy setting it’s no big deal I can just re-try” and you would be right but you are at a cost. What happens when you run out of retries? You are forced to go all the way back to your previous save. A save that is determined by Ubisoft and set as check points through out the game. Which in my opinion are spread WAY to far apart. On many occasions I found myself playing for about an hour only to have to go all the way back and replay everything I had just done. Not to mention that by playing it on easy you are not able to obtain all the achievements. So for all you achievement whores out there you will be forced to play through this game at twice unless you think you are awesome enough to play through the first time on the hardest setting.
Third and finally we have the graphics. And in I am Alive we get the good, the bad and the ugly. In general the graphics are pretty awesome but that is totally dependent on the angle of your character. The problem isn’t the scenery or the color or the details. Simply put it was the lighting. The lighting is horrendous. If I wanted to spend my time squinting I would go for a drive facing the sun without my sunglasses. Talk about a migraine. If you look at it from the perspective of “realism” then the graphics are about as real as it gets, but in my opinion too much.
Overall I feel like they tried too hard. They wanted to make I am Alive a unique and challenging game. When all they really did is make a game that is overly boring and filled with high intense anxiety building rage fests. I would strongly suggest that you download the demo and try it out before you waste your hard earned cash. You may after all be a fan of this game type.
I am Alive is currently available on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 points and will be making an appearance to PlayStation Network in April.
Replay Ability: 2/5
Overall Rating: 2.5/5