I Am Alive Review

by Ben Salter Featured

40 Comments 28 Votes 3532 Views 07/03/2012 Back to Reviews

A brutally honest insight into survivalist human nature.

I Am Alive has been a long time coming, first entering development at Darkworks in 2008, before being completed by Ubisoft. With a focus on survival, without the horror, I Am Alive presents a brutally honest depiction of what the world and human nature will be like when civilization as we know it comes to an end.

What I Am Alive Got Right

The Event - I Am Alive aims to be a true survivalist adventure, taking place a year after civilization as we know it has ended. We’re never fully informed about what has happened, but that’s all part of the mystery. The paths of destruction and deadly amounts of dust offer hints as to the nature of “the event”, but we are never meant to know for sure.

Limited visibility and a surprisingly compelling narrative will suck you in for the 5-6 hour adventure, which can be extended by being a nice person and rescuing all of the survivors. I found myself intending to check it out for a few minutes initially, and still playing two hours later. You’ll want to know what happens next and immerse yourself as the Event continues to unfold.

It’s intuitive - I Am live doesn’t do much to innovate the action-adventure genre, but it doesn’t need to. If you’ve ever played a third person climb-around adventure, you’ll feel right at home with the addition of stamina.

Everything in I Am Alive is scarce, including your own stamina and health. Running, hanging around in dust and climbing -- which you’ll be doing a lot -- all reduce your stamina. Resting allows most of it to be replenished, but if you push yourself too far, the size of the meter will decrease, and won’t allow full potential until you use a rare item to heal.

That’s where I Am Alive comes into its own. Generally, there are obvious resting areas, but sometimes you’ll have to tactically plan ahead and ensure you have the energy and supplies to avoid falling to a grim death.

Survivalist - I Am Alive isn’t shy about the reality of survivalist human nature. You can often save people from being murdered for a small amount of food or even inhumanly raped, but only if you so choose. Combat plays a key role in establishing planet Earth after the breakdown of society. Bullets are limited, so most kills will be executed by machete. Some survivors will leave you alone if you don’t venture too close, while others are looking for trouble. Gangs, meanwhile, will nearly always want to fight. The best tactic is to let the leader approach you, take him down with a swift knife to the throat, quick-fire at anyone with a gun and bluff your way past the rest, hoping they don’t notice your lack of ammo.

It’s a unique take on combat, and always results in one of two possible outcomes: you either breeze past, or it all goes horribly wrong and results in antagonizing death.

Characters - As one of the good guys in a world turned bad, your objective is to reunite with your family whom you haven’t seen since the Event. However, it’s easy to get sidetracked, and you’ll quickly be united with a young girl named Mei, who has also been separated from her family. While she acts as the token helpless girl that fuels the need to perform a number of quests, the character actually adds a lot to the story and the dynamics at play. It injects a human element into the otherwise depressing, destructive world.

What I Am Alive Got Wrong

Morality fails - I Am Alive clearly is meant to offer a moral compass. The player is meant to be divided between survival and their own moral conflicts. However, it doesn’t really play out that way. You have the choice to help some other people, but the rewards aren’t worth it, and you’re constantly forced into violence. When a gang approaches, you know you’ll have to murder each and every one of them. It would have been great to be able to avoid conflict more often.

Checkpoints - “Replays” are gained as items through the game and allow you to restart from your last checkpoint, rather than the beginning of each episode. It is pointless to have a set number of replays in this day and age, considering the episodes aren’t all that long. Later in the game, trial and error becomes a key element along with a string of constant death, especially on the hardest difficulty. The replays system serves only as a vehicle for frustration.

Can become repetitive - While most mechanics are executed very well, I’d be lying if I said they felt fresh from beginning to end. Combat is more or less the same throughout the game, with an increase in difficulty, and there’s only so much wall-scaling one can accomplish. However, that’s exactly why it’s a shorter downloadable game, and not a 20 hour full retail release.

The Final Verdict

I Am Alive continues the rise of downloadable games with an atmospheric world, compelling story and well executed gameplay. It channels the survivalist instinct into some interesting combat, and has you wanting to find out what happens next after the breakdown of society. It has a few minor flaws, but these are easy to overlook when considering the value and the frankly disturbing insight into the harsh realities of survivalist human nature.

By Ben Salter

I Am Alive

Platform: PS3 / Xbox
Developer: Ubisoft Shanghai
Similar to: Assassin's Creed
 
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I Am Alive Review Comments

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Awesome.

Now i just need to wait for it to release on PS3 [Shifty]
Yeah, I'm keen to play this now @Ben has finished with it.
How long is the main story?

kangle4 said: How long is the main story?



5-6 hours.

Ben said:

kangle4 said: How long is the main story?


5-6 hours.




Thanks
Holy mother of god this is finally out? [MOG] [MOG] [WTF]
Any word of the ps3 release date @Ben?

Ben said:

kangle4 said: How long is the main story?


5-6 hours.


That's around the same length as various retail games. Saw the Good Game review of this, and the combat is doing the same stuff over-and-over (knife-arrow-whack).

gamerguy said:

Ben said:

kangle4 said: How long is the main story?


5-6 hours.


That's around the same length as various retail games. Saw the Good Game review of this, and the combat is doing the same stuff over-and-over (knife-arrow-whack).



Well it's knife-gun-whack before you get the bow :P
5-6hrs !? - Not good enough, even if this is underestimated like most game reviews, it sounds awfully short, and the idea to me sounds great. I hope there will be lots of DLC for this.

PS3sR2Dear said: 5-6hrs !? - Not good enough, even if this is underestimated like most game reviews, it sounds awfully short, and the idea to me sounds great. I hope there will be lots of DLC for this.



This is why it's a $20 downloadable game and not a $100 full release :)

+ About 2-4 hours if you rescue all the survivors.

PS3sR2Dear said: 5-6hrs !? - Not good enough, even if this is underestimated like most game reviews, it sounds awfully short, and the idea to me sounds great. I hope there will be lots of DLC for this.



What exactly are you expecting for a downloadable game? Considering most fps only clock 6-7 hours and cost 4 times as much, it's great value
the game looks very dated like it should have come out about 5 years ago, IGN gave 4.5 out of 10 that just about sums it up and $20 is way to much maybe if it was $10 it would be ok and @spidey81 i see what your saying but just remember that most 1ST person shooters have multi than can last for a year so you do get value there :)
actually thought this was a $100 full release, hearing that it's 20 bucks is awesome :D

Spiritwalk said: actually thought this was a $100 full release, hearing that it's 20 bucks is awesome



Same, those graphics make it look like a full retail game.
I might wait and see how much it will be on psn plus might get it cheaper and depending what other games are out at the time. $20 seems alittle steep for digital game $15 might get more of a look in esp since it looks very dated.
game looks sick.
my god how you gave this 8 is beyond me what was you on when you gave this score out cos i really want some, i think i must need it cos i dont see what you saw @ben this is just plain horrible [Facepalm]

gammaray13 said: my god how you gave this 8 is beyond me what was you on when you gave this score out cos i really want some, i think i must need it cos i dont see what you saw @ben this is just plain horrible


*breaking news two people have different views on something*

After just playing the game intro they give us this crap PASS!

Downloadable game yes
Worth $20 No
Graphics Terrible
Handling Clunky and not responsive
character detail Terrible and fuzzy
Why did this take 5 yrs to make?
Is this what we are going to get if we go digital download?
Microsoft have had to shockers in the past 2 weeks now Alan Wake and now this!
Microsoft Are now showing that they are really struggling atm.

:P
been playing a little bit of this. not too bad IMO, well worth $20. The graphics aren't too shabby and the gameplay is pretty good but i do agree that it can get a little bit repetitive.

Gaminggirl said: After just playing the game intro they give us this crap PASS!
Downloadable game yes
Worth $20 No
Graphics Terrible
Handling Clunky and not responsive
character detail Terrible and fuzzy
Why did this take 5 yrs to make?
Is this what we are going to get if we go digital download?
Microsoft have had to shockers in the past 2 weeks now Alan Wake and now this!
Microsoft Are now showing that they are really struggling atm.


[Facepalm]Why do you bother. no one takes your advice because you made it very clear that you are a PS3 fan and hate every other video game company in the world.

this game to me is worth $20 easily and most of you won't be disappointed.
Forgive my ignorance, but what does Microsoft have to do with this title?
I dont care if it was on psn or xbox live. As i own BOTH

Point is this is a very average title i must admit i did expect alot from this.

My point with microsoft is all they have at the moment is digital download and this is the sort of rubbish you get with didital download.
Hold on. Wait, wait. Microsoft is struggling atm? Bwahahahahaha! Just where do you get your info from little missy? Come back when you have some credible, relevant and un biased info.

Gaminggirl said:
My point with microsoft is all they have at the moment is digital download and this is the sort of rubbish you get with didital download.


Mass Effect 3 was just released last week...
Oh my god Mass effect 3 is a multi platform game!

And yes have a look at microsofts exclusive line And try tell me they have heaps in the pipeline.

And by the way i own both consoles so not being biased just stating FACTS!

Gaminggirl said: Oh my god Mass effect 3 is a multi platform game!
And yes have a look at microsofts exclusive line And try tell me they have heaps in the pipeline.
And by the way i own both consoles so not being biased just stating FACTS!


Facts that arent facts. Microsoft are about to have one of their best years in a long time and some better years to come, games like lollipop chainsaw and halo 4. They released one of the most successful games ever late last year(Skyrim) and mass effect last week and tonnes of other grand titles.

Gaminggirl said: Oh my god Mass effect 3 is a multi platform game!


Sorry, I Am Alive isn't?

I still don't know why you even mentioned Microsoft on a review for a game that's available on multiple platforms...

Your biased bullshit is so transparent, it can cure blindness.

Gaminggirl said: Oh my god Mass effect 3 is a multi platform game!
And yes have a look at microsofts exclusive line And try tell me they have heaps in the pipeline.
And by the way i own both consoles so not being biased just stating FACTS!


Who cares if you own both consoles. you did make it clear you hated Microsoft. I am Alive is a multi platform game as well as ME3. can't wait for the PS3 version to come out.
Sorry dont no what i am saying microsoft has the best line up this year yes.

I am alive is a great game and how dare i have a different outlook to the game as you guys i must not be very good at games my wrong.

My mistake.

Dr_Mario said:

Gaminggirl said: Oh my god Mass effect 3 is a multi platform game!
And yes have a look at microsofts exclusive line And try tell me they have heaps in the pipeline.
And by the way i own both consoles so not being biased just stating FACTS!


Facts that arent facts. Microsoft are about to have one of their best years in a long time and some better years to come, games like lollipop chainsaw and halo 4. They released one of the most successful games ever late last year(Skyrim) and mass effect last week and tonnes of other grand titles.


stay underground until you know what you are writing please your blinded by fanboyisim

gammaray13 said:

Dr_Mario said:

Gaminggirl said: Oh my god Mass effect 3 is a multi platform game!
And yes have a look at microsofts exclusive line And try tell me they have heaps in the pipeline.
And by the way i own both consoles so not being biased just stating FACTS!


Facts that arent facts. Microsoft are about to have one of their best years in a long time and some better years to come, games like lollipop chainsaw and halo 4. They released one of the most successful games ever late last year(Skyrim) and mass effect last week and tonnes of other grand titles.


stay underground until you know what you are writing please your blinded by fanboyisim


Yeah a fanboy that plays a game on any console as long as its good and hates people that talk bullshit trying to sound smart.

Spot on.

gammaray13 said:

Dr_Mario said:

Gaminggirl said: Oh my god Mass effect 3 is a multi platform game!
And yes have a look at microsofts exclusive line And try tell me they have heaps in the pipeline.
And by the way i own both consoles so not being biased just stating FACTS!


Facts that arent facts. Microsoft are about to have one of their best years in a long time and some better years to come, games like lollipop chainsaw and halo 4. They released one of the most successful games ever late last year(Skyrim) and mass effect last week and tonnes of other grand titles.


stay underground until you know what you are writing please your blinded by fanboyisim


why don't you. he's not a fanboy at all.



Anyone else downloaded this game yet because it is very entertaining.
@gargoyles as soon as i get my xbox live membership around next thursday.

Too long. :'@
lol you call yourself a gamer but no xbox live so u havnt even played it yet but giving me a hard time your a joke.
I'm sick of following the same handful of people around the site because they start trouble.

Discussion about consoles is over. THIS IS A GAME REVIEW. Talk about the game, not why the console it's on is bad or what other games are out. Instant ban if you ignore this.
lol

you call urself a gamer?




Yes

this software should be rom *nods head*
Wow, never realised how childish some of the members here are.

Anyway, no news on the PS3 release yet?
I will wait for a price drop. Looks like a decent title
great game, i love the feel of being all alone, great review as well

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