Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Available For: PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
Developer: Darkworks and Ubisoft Shanghai
Genre: Survival Horror
Age: 18 (PEGI)
Post apocalyptic cities are amazing playgrounds for all types of entertainment. Whether prompted from a book, movie or game, we’ve all pondered upon what we’d do in order to survive such a broken, lawless place. That’s what makes I Am Alive so unique – it gives people that option.
While searching hard for his long lost family, our hero is surrounded by obstacles he must overcome, both in the physical world and morally too. If not climbing tall ledges or taking out a crowd of bandits, there's a good chance he's weighing up the benefits of helping fellow survivors against the benefit of killing them.
It's a dog-eat-dog world.
The world is bleak place barren of colour. There's nothing to catch the eye except for the dizzying views from the structures scaled. The world is covered in a toxic ash, and it's this that gives the landscape such a terrifyingly atmospheric art style.
Enemies are frequent, but the way of dispatching them is far from uniformed. A need to gauge each encounter is essential as every single bullet counts. Some attackers will back off when a gun is pointed at them, whether it's got bullets in it or not, others may simply see it as an invitation to return fire. Machetes, bows and other weapons can be salvaged for use in a skirmish.
Climbing is an essential part of play, and the use of a stamina system is implemented wonderfully. If stamina runs out whilst climbing, a fall to the death is more than likely on the cards.
Dying can get thoroughly annoying. If you run out of retries, death will mean restarting at the beginning of a level instead of from a checkpoint. Although my first playthrough took around seven hours it probably would have taken about four if it weren’t for replaying parts. As for my second play through I chose the tough difficulty – I’m not sure I’ll ever finish it.
It certainly wouldn’t hold its own as a full retail game but as a download only for about £10, it’s more than adequate.
There are some great ideas along with some amazing mechanics, yet there are flaws that prevent it from being truly spectacular.
SCORE: Mark out of 6 / 10
PROS: Atmospheric with unique visuals.
CONS: Restart points are stupidly frustrating, especially on the harder difficulty setting.