Wednesday, 14 March 2012 08:34
Games - Games
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I Am Alive Does More Right Than Wrong
by Addison Langford
Sometimes it's nice to visit a dark and depressing world. Every now and then I enjoy listening to some rather depressing music or watching a movie that I know isn't going to end happily every after. I Am Alive is one of those depressing experiences. In a general sense, I Am Alive is a lot like The Roadâ€” if it was a videogame. I Am Alive takes place after a apocalyptic event that is only known as "The Event" throughout the game.
You play Adam, a man who has finally reached his hometown of Haventon at the start of the game. Adam was on the other side of the country when the event happened and has walked across the country for a year to try and reunite himself with his wife and daughter. Haventon is in shambles, everything is destroyed and decayed from all the earthquakes, dust, and who knows what else. At it's core, I Am Alive is an action platformer. You'll find yourself climbing â€¦ a lot.
â€¨ You have two meters at the top of your screen, one is your health and the other is your stamina. When you climb buildings and poles and whatnot, your stamina gauge will slowly deplete itself. When your stamina runs out, your stamina capacity begins to fall as you struggle to make it to your destination. If you don't make it before your capacity runs out, you fall to your death.
â€¨ During your journey you will find supplies that can restore your stamina, stamina capacity and health but, they're somewhat rare so you have to be very cautious with your choices of when to use your items. You can also donate your items to other people you meet along the way, doing this raises your overall score and gets you an extra retry. Be warned though, most of the people you encounter along the way are less than friendly to say the least. â€¨
The fight scenarios with the cities inhabitants can be a little annoying towards the first half of the game. At first all you will have is an empty gun but you soon will get a machete and a bullet or two but bullets are rare so you must use them sparingly. More often than not it's a better idea to point your empty gun at an enemy and force them to back off, usually in these situations you can find a pit or a fire to back them into and then kick them into it. After playing through a few of these you realize how similar they all are, however they're still stressful every time.
â€¨ Towards the end of the game though you will have enough bullets and a bow and arrow that you can handle large groups of enemies with ease; at that point the encounters are pretty easy and not much of a challenge. One thing this game does superbly well is set the scene. Haventon is incredibly dusty looking, depressing, lonely and very brown looking. When you encounter people they are never friendly,except for the main characters you interact with in the story, the dialogue they have usually either consists of threats or heart breaking stories.
â€¨ When you kill an enemy in I Am Alive it's a lot different than killing an enemy in most games, these enemies will crawl on the floor and gasp in pain. The enemies will lay there and beg you for help and yell out in pain, it really makes you feel bad that you had to kill them. But you did have to kill them, or else they'd kill you, it's a new world with no rules and you have to survive for your family and the other people that depend on you.
â€¨ This is really a fantastic game but it's not without it's downfalls. The whole climbing mechanic needs some fine tuning and considering thats about 60% of the game that's not good. The climbing works a lot like a mix between Shadow of the Colossus and the climbing in something like the Uncharted series or Assassin's Creed. What doesn't work so well though is the touch sensitivity while climbing, I found myself yelling at the screen a lot as I watched my stamina drop and couldn't get Adam to grab the right area or he would jump when I didn't want him to.
â€¨ I had a few other small annoyances with the game as well, such as the difference between performing a machete kill on an enemy and kicking an enemy into a pit or fire. I got very frustrated a few times trying to kick and enemy and instead I would pull my machete on him which in turn got me shot by the other enemy. The game tries to make you think it's totally free roaming but you will quickly realize the game is rather linear. Then there was little story things that the game would do that just pissed me off, towards the end your exploring an abandoned boat and after you have retrieved the item you need the door you came through just randomly shuts and locks.
I would have liked to have just gone back the way I came but because they couldn't come up with a logical reason to make me go the way they wanted me to they just shut the door and forced me to follow their line. Moments like that really took me out of the game and reminded me that I was playing a videogame, I don't think games should do that, you should become your character and feel immersed (for lack of a better word) in that world. Also, the idea of Adam almost falling off of a huge building but then drinking four bottles of water and a can of soda and being fine kind of makes me laugh but I don' know how they could have made that any more realistic.
â€¨ I Am Alive definitely does more right than it does wrong. The game is really nice to look at even if it's covered in a beige tint, it's excellent at setting a scene and creating believable characters and is a great value for 5-7 hours of gameplay at $15. Another small thing that the game did that I really appreciated was having you rapidly press the right trigger instead of a face button. Pressing RT instead of say X or A is just much more comfortable and easier to pull off. I hope more games follow suit.
â€¨ I Am Alive is well worth your time if you know what to expect. The game is not a happy one and it's very stressful but the pay off makes it worth it. As I've stated, it's not a perfect game by any means but it's far from bad. I Am Alive is a great example of how the line between $60 retail games and budget priced downloadable games is getting blurred more and more in this industry. If you're looking for a bleak but satisfying experience, I highly recommend I Am Alive especially since there's not many other games like it.
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I Am Alive Does More Right Than Wrong by Addison Langford Sometimes it's nice to visit a dark and depressing world. Every now and then I enjoy listening to some rather depressing music or...
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