I Am Alive
I Am Alive has been a long time coming. Originally in development under Darkworks in 2008, it lapsed into near-extinction before Ubisoft, specifically Ubisoft Shanghai, decided to pick up the slack and turned what was to be a full retail release into an XBLA title. Sure enough, as quick as they picked it up it is now out, but is this going to be another Duke Nukem Forever or… umm… a more successful game that was in development and then died only to be resurrected again. Well that doesn’t bode well… but I Am Alive could break the trend!
The first thing that you notice about I Am Alive is it’s art style. All dusty greys and bleaks monotone, colour isn’t the only thing extinct in I Am Alive. You play as Nameless Protagonist, a scruff of a man who, like all heroes in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, just wants to get home. That isn’t so easy though, as the world you once knew is a shattered husk where destruction reigns. Dust, evil survivors and tall heights are your enemy here, as well as your own body as Jon Everyman tries to get to where he needs to go.
And I’d love to tell you more, but obviously I suck so much at the game that I got to one climbing bit and got stuck.
Feel free to laugh away, as I am sure a 3-year old toddler could traverse bridge that I kept falling off, but alas I did. The point of the On Trial series is for me to give my first impressions of the game as I play the trial and unfortunately, with I Am Alive, my first impressions were continuous death as I tried to get up a tall building, only to keep running out of stamina and falling to a watery death. I’d love to tell you about the combat mechanics, about player interaction and whether Blokey McClimber encounters a twist in the tale once he returns back to his noble apartment. But like I say, Jack Staminaless kept getting knackered and falling off bridges.
So therefore I shall move past the fact that I fail at gaming and stick to the basics from what I learnt. Graphically, as I’ve said above, it is quite stark. As we’ve learnt from games like Limbo this is not a negative thing and in fact this style sets I Am Alive, with it’s monochrome shadings, apart from the cartoon visuals of many other XBLA games. In fact, I Am Alive shares a lot with it’s Ubisoft brother Assassins Creed, with the climbing controls feeling very fluid and natural and the third person perspective not suffering from Wacky Camera syndrome that curses other such games. The world itself is very well rendered and the environment sound as you walk along the broken roads, occasionally with the solemn quips of Shaggy O’Wanderer breaking up the apocalyptic silence and assisting you in what to do next. Not me though, I kept dying at the first hurdle.
So… yeah. Bit of a short review this one but like I say, I kept bloody dying at one bit and walked away to sulk and write this. Does this mean I am going to slam it though? Not at all, just because I suck the big one doesn’t mean you will, and I Am Alive offers a good-looking, solid although tough game. Using limited “retries” will mean you won’t be offered many chances to fail and indeed with the tall heights, limited stamina and lurking dangers in fellow survivors you may find yourself at the special table with me. However I Am Alive is not a bad game, and has broken the curse of Development Hell.