Written by JEE
Today i turned on my Xbox and was greeted by the new game from Ubisoft, I Am Alive, its an old story but one that doesn’t fail to please. The world has been ravaged by some disaster or another leaving our protagonist in a post-apocalyptic wasteland teaming with danger.
At the moment I’m only playing the Trial Version as i don’t have the MS Points to unlock the full game at present, but I’ll do my best with what I’ve got.
Our story begins with our unnamed protagonist showing us through various videos he has recorded on his journey. It seems he took a 4 hour flight out West someplace shortly before ‘The Event’, so called as he claims no-one really knows what happened, and it has taken him almost a year to walk back to his home town of Haventon in search of the Wife and Daughter he left behind.
Once the intro has played out we are handed control and greeted with a bleak ruin of a city and a huge semi-standing bridge that must be crossed. My first impression is that the controls are fluid and exploring is enjoyable, one of the things I love about games like this is that they encourage you to stop and look around, to search for things and take your time. You can sprint around if you want to but so far I’m happy to stroll around and survey the damage.
My first criticism is with the funny grainy texture they have put on the screen, everything looks as though you’re watching it through a dirty video camera and whilst this doesn’t make any difference to what you can see up close, it makes a huge difference to what’s in the background and does slightly detract from the feeling of destruction as you cant really see anything! This is especially true once you have scaled the bridge, you want to be able to take advantage of this view point to really get a look at what lies ahead of you, but you literally cannot see anything. The world is full of dust which our character briefly explains is an effect of ‘The Event’ and is one of the major causes of loss of life secondary to ‘The Event’ itself, but its a pain in the ass.
As we are scaling the bridge we are given a tutorial as you travel of what the climbing controls are. Its very straight forward and feels smooth and natural which is great, it bears a close resemblance to Altair and Ezio’s climbing abilities from Assassins Creed so you should feel right at home with it. The climbing uses a Stamina system so you can only climb for so long before you have to start bashing the Right Trigger to stop yourself from having a nasty fall when you get tired. Certain actions will drain a large chunk of stamina such as jumping up to cross a gap while climbing. You are also forced to use the few supplies you may be able to find as your total stamina decreases the more you use it so you need to top up every once in a while.
The game is well detailed as you move around, at one point whilst crossing the bridge you find a couple of skeletons which are a dusky black in colour, making me wonder if this is simply the colour the Dev’s chose to use or if it was intentional to give a small insight into ‘The Event’. They have also used the destruction to provide you will clever ways of getting across, a Fire-Engine’s cab is sitting at a hole in the bridge with the larger rear-end dangling down to the rubble below, theres a handy ladder on the side of this truck which gives us a helping hand safely down the gap, although it does sway rather alarmingly as you move down it. Once we are across the bridge, we head into the sewers hoping to find a way back up to street level.
On entering the sewers we run into our first survivor, but he’s not the friendly type. He immediately points a gun at me and tells me to do one and leave him be, however i’m slightly dubious that he’s actually got any ammo in his weapon. From what iv watched and read about this game before it came out bullets are a rare commodity, iv got a gun but no bullets in it so the odds are good that he does too right? Wrong. I got shot in the face.
This time I think I’m gonna take his advice and go on my merry way deeper into the sewer. Sadly its a short trip, just round the corner the map is updated and I’m shown a way back up, which seems slightly needless as i have two option, turn left and stand in front of a huge chasm, or turn right and go up to the street, I don’t exactly need my GPS for this one. I’m a little disappointed though as I was looking forward to stalking through a creepy sewer and meeting even more friendly locals but never mind, im sure i will before long. Ahah! I’ve hound my first collectible item, I spy a video camera sitting on top of a pile of boxes and go to investigate, maybe its gonna show me another survivors video log, perhaps with info that could help me find a round or two for this useless pistol, or a food supply to help me when I’m running low on stamina….nope, its a retry, I can now retry one more time should I die. Well at least I’ve replaced the one i used getting capped by the geezer in the sewer!
Uh Oh, here comes another friendly neighborhood survivor….shit, he’s got a machete…..SHIT hes coming this way! At least he doesn’t know my guns empty…HANDS UP MOTHF*CKER! Now I’m prompted to press X and edge him towards a large hole behind him, now I’m told to press X again, and i kick the poor sod in the guts and send him to his doom. Damn that was pretty messed up, at least he dropped his machete though!!
Now I can wrench open the locked gate behind me and move on, straight into two more guys, one with a gun. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. I died a couple of times at this point so I’m not gonna say anything more about the this demo and I’ll let you take it from here.
I strongly urge you to download the trial for this game, its pretty short and definitely left me wanting more and despite the fact I didn’t do much I’m intrigued to find out what happens next. I’ll definitely be picking this one up when I get the chance.
I Am Alive is available from the Games Market Place or the Xbox Dashboard for 1200 MSP.
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