I Am Alive

I Am Alive Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

When Chicago is left in ruins and the cause of the devastation is unknown, players will be challenged to think, react and take risks that will directly affect themselves and those around them.

Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
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I Am Alive screenshot
I Am Alive screenshot

Combat is equally harsh, forcing you into tense showdowns where even pointing a gun at somebody is enough to reduce them to a wobbly mess. You start the game with a gun, but no bullets, and the game's numerous stick-ups become dotted conflicts of attrition and strategy. Killing somebody with a gun generally yields you their bullet (despite being able to fire dozens of shots, enemies can only ever drop a single round of ammunition), meaning you always prioritise armed enemies. You can also kick your foes into environmental hazards (well, two - big drops and open fires) if they refuse to surrender.

I Am Alive's combat mechanics are intriguing, but also primitive and distressingly repetitive. Ubisoft also doesn't really know what do with its concluding chapters, and eventually settles on giving you a hunting bow (with recoverable arrows) and devaluing its sense of struggle by ramping up its focus on combat. At first the occasional combat can be a struggle, but after you kill fifty people in a couple of hours you become the same superhero badass from every other action adventure on the market.

I Am Alive fancies itself as a human take on the survival of humanity, rather than another drab shooter. With beady, dead eyes and an emotionless face, however, the unnamed protagonist doesn't exactly ooze character from his dust-coated pores.

There's a bizarre alien quality to much of the supporting cast, too, who repeat their same lines of awkwardly-delivered dialogue every single time you pass trigger lines on the map. These victims scatter themselves around the world, and are supposed to be helpless fellow survivors in need of rescue, yet they never feel like they're anything more than lifeless game objects.

I Am Alive only really becomes a proper tale of human survival if you can look past the wonky mechanics and rough engine, if you can see past the rustic models and amateur dialogue, and if you can actually connect with the wailing cast of cardboard cut-outs. Ubisoft's vision is clear and ambitious, but it lacks the development talent and budget to be effectively realised.

It's not hard to knock I Am Alive, but despite the flaws it's also an easy game to like. But while we should be glad this project wasn't killed off in development hell, the sad truth is that I Am Alive never gets a chance to live.

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4 Comments

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pblive's Avatar

pblive

Yep, the House Party hasn't yielded a single game I'd get at full price, waiting for this and Alan Wake to be on sale before I buy.
Posted 21:35 on 06 March 2012
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Same here...I do want it, but I don't think it would be worth 1200 msp. Maybe 800 when it hits a sale.


Good thing this is week hardly void of new releases. Perhaps if it had been the first title in the promotion going on within XBLA it would have been an insta-buy, but now I know ME3 will keep me occupied, I can wait. I have a gut feeling many, MANY others will feel the same way - and Ubi will suffer as a consequence.

Timing is important, and while a strong conclusion to the promotion is a good idea in practice, in this case it might hinder the title.
Posted 18:40 on 06 March 2012
EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist@ dudester

Exactly what I was going to write! I like a challenge but I don't relish overly tough games.
Posted 18:36 on 06 March 2012
dudester's Avatar

dudester

Good review Martin I get the feeling I would become overly frustrated with this game.
Posted 18:36 on 06 March 2012

Game Stats

Technical Specs
I Am Alive
7
Out of 10
I Am Alive
  • It's good when it's a struggle
  • Intriguing combat mechanics
  • Becomes too generic towards the end
  • Protagonist feels lifeless
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 07/03/2012
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 1,436 78
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