I Am Alive Review
An intriguing downloadable release that offers some rather interesting gameplay elements with a focus on realism
I Am Alive is a title that has gone through a number of iterations and likely design changes. First announced with an intriguing trailer way back in 2008, the game has now finally been released as a downloadable title. I Am Alive offers many interesting concepts – and though they are based on simple mechanics, original ideas are still ever-present in the experience. Though not without issues, particularly due to the lower budget feel of the presentation and some barebones mechanics, I Am Alive is a title that offers a notably unique experience and a stellar post-apocalyptic atmosphere that’s among the best in recent memory.
The plot of the game is appropriately simple, as players assume the role of Adam who has just arrived in the fictional city of Haventon. The city, and assuming much of the world, has been shaken by an accident only referred to as the Event, which basically caused widespread damage and eliminated most of the human population. We learn that this is where Adam’s home is, and he must try to find his wife and daughter, hoping they are still alive. It is said that Adam was across the country when the Event occurred, and has since walked back to the city, which took him a whole year.
Once Adam enters the city, he becomes involved with a little girl and her family, proceeding to help them in hopes of getting information about his own family. Adam and other main characters are decently engaging and relatable, but many of the other thugs and victims you meet on the streets are rather forgettable. The plot is serviceable enough to carry the gameplay, however the ending is simply abrupt and unsatisfying. To say more would be to spoil it, but it feels as though a large portion of the game’s ending is simply missing - instead treating us to a short final cutscene that provides almost no closure to any of the potential that was being built up over the course of the game.
I Am Alive has firm footing in the adventure genre, which means platforming and action are the key elements of the experience. Players control Adam in a third person view as they explore fairly open environments within the city, with potential to jump and grab on to a number of ledges. Platforming is linear at first, but as more of the world opens up, a number of optional objectives and areas to explore become available. Most of these optional locations will contain either useful items or side missions, but more on this later. Climbing around the urban environment looks appropriately realistic, as the game borrows some inspiration from Uncharted, though the results aren’t quite as smoothly presented. Still, the game manages to pull off some truly breathtaking moments thanks to some creative platforming while keeping a very realistic approach.
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