Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Asylum Reviews: I Am Alive [Xbox 360].

I have finally completed I Am Alive, so here is my long awaited review!




I Am Alive is described as being a "survival horror" game, and it is developed by Ubisoft Shanghai and published by Ubisoft.

Survival horror is a little bit of a push to me, as there wasn't much "horror"-y about it. It is definitely a survival based game, though.

The game has an almost black and white colour scheme, due to it's post-apocalyptic style setting. You play as a man, who has set out on a journey to find his wife and daughter.

It has been a year since "The Event", when earthquakes destroyed pretty much all of America (it is never stated if this "Event" was worldwide, or just in the US). You, the protagonist, were hundreds of miles away at the time of The Event, and were injured, therefore during the aftermath, it has taken you a year to walk all the way back to your hometown of Haventon to rescue your wife, Julie and daughter, Mary.

When you return home, they aren't there, so, with your trusty camcorder, you record a message, apologizing for not being there for them during The Event.

This becomes a habit, recording small videos after certain points of the game, either alone, or with the people you meet along the way: Mei, a young girl whom you rescue after mistaking her for your daughter; Henry, a man whom Mei's mother helped and whom assists you along the way, and Mei's mother, Linda, whom you rescue from a hotel where men have taken women, to rape and murder.

There are 20 "victims" who you can come across along your travels, each needing a various type of assistance. Over the course of the game, I rescued 16 of these victims. The other four, I'd either not found, or when found, I didn't have the correct items to help them (and then forgot to go back to them).

One of the victims, led to quite a funny, but annoying problem for me. A woman, atop a roof, handcuffed to a park bench. She was screaming for help, and being the little helper I am, I went off to find her. Upon discovering her, two or three men run out from behind her to attack you. I only had one bullet left in my gun, so I shot one of the attackers, and killed the other one with my knife. (There must have only been two, since a third one would have attacked and killed me whilst I was attacking the second one) So once the attackers were dead, I walked back over to her to help, I realised that I'd just used my last bullet to kill one of the attackers, therefore couldn't shoot the handcuffs to free her. Half amused, and half raging, I had to walk away and leave her - don't worry though, I later came back when I had more bullets.

Another victim, inside a sewer pipe is requesting two food cans, however, you later come back down this route later to find her hung. Wasted my food cans!

All throughout the game, you have to keep a close eye on your supplies, in case you need them, and for assisting the victims. You also have to keep an eye on your stamina bar, as it runs out quickly when climbing (which you spend a LOT of time doing), and when in dusty environments, it will deplete even when standing still.

The last thing you have to keep a close eye on, is your number of retries. A few retries are scattered round the game for you to pick up (shaped like a camcorder), and you get one extra retry for every victim you help. Each time you die, a retry is used up, and if you use up your last retry, and die again - then that's game over for you.

That was my biggest fear towards the end of the game, as I was dying regularly due to stupid mistakes, and I sure as hell didn't want to have to start over again!

The game could have benefited from save files, as I'd have much preferred to save the game myself when I want to stop playing, instead of have to continue playing for over 30 minutes whilst waiting for a save point (save points were pretty few and far between). So, if you play this game, I suggest that you stop playing after each save point if you have other things to do, as you can quickly get annoyed at waiting for another save point (after playing for 30+ minutes since the last one). 

Overall, I really enjoyed the game, and it kept me wanting to come back for more. The story wasn't fully compelling, as most of the game is spent walking and climbing through the same places, hunting for supplies, but it was still enjoyable, and I was determined to save all of the victims - however I clearly failed at that!

The game ended quite suddenly, too. With Linda and Mei leaving to find a better place, and you refusing to leave, as you can't leave your family behind again. A cutscene then happens to end the game, then the credits rolled, which was quite gutting as I thought I'd have had a chance to go back and find the other victims, and potentially find my family, but the cutscene at the end prevents further story from happening (I won't spoil it).

All in, I'd give the game an 8/10.

PROS.
+ Finding and helping victims was fun.
+ Enjoyable, albeit not fully compelling storyline.
+ The depleting stamina bar, and lack of supplies/retries really makes you feel the "survivalist" theme of the game.

CONS.
- Too long between saves/no saving the game yourself.
- When low on health, sound becomes muffled, ruining some cutscenes and dialogue.

Have you played this game? What did you think about it?
Let me know in the comments below!

V.

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