It had been in development for almost a decade. We've unwearyingly waited for it, then accepted the fact that it's never coming out. But then and outta nowhere the game's released worldwide and we find ourselves holding a copy.
You've guessed right. It's "I Am Alive". The long anticipated game we've all been waiting for. But days after it's release, it started getting lots of mixed reviews, which got people dubious. Should we buy it? Or was it not worth the wait? I was too curious to see what the game would offer me, so I headed out and bought it to decide for myself. And after playing it for long enough, I jumped back here to write the review.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect. Was it a poorly ported game with dated graphics, boring climbing and a dull story? Or was it a stunningly realistic post-apocalyptic adventure game with a beautiful story and breathtaking environments? I finally came up with the conclusion that the game's no where near perfect, but then again, it wasn't a bad game neither.
I'm running short of supplies. I need somewhere where I could find some water and food. I look at the piece of newspaper on the ground, "Military crates on their way. Stay put" is the headline title. "I need to find one of these" I think. I look up at the high unfinished building. It seems to be under construction since even before the events. I look closely at it's peak, "This looks like a crate.". I need to head up there.
I walk towards the building then saunter up some damaged stairs until I reach the eighth floor, that's the last story. I search for a way up to the roof where I could locate the crate. Instead, I find myself being cornered by 3 crooks. One has a pistol and doesn't seem like he's afraid of using it. They move towards me slowly but surely.
I still have the machete and my pistol, but it's empty. They don't know that though.. The bandit holding the handgun comes closer. "What the hell do you think you're doing here?" he says with a very aggressive pitch, "What happened to hospitality?" I shout back. The bandit smirks as he stands right in front of me, with the two others standing right behind him. They're carrying machetes akin to mine. The bandit jostles me backwards, I get down on my knees but keep fixed, I stealthily take grip onto my hidden machete. I wait for the right moment. He's about to shove me again. I take the shot and unsheathe my machete, swaying it with all the power in me towards the bandit. It had hit his neck, he falls to his knees making shrill voices with his eyes wide open and eventually falls on the ground motionless. His two partners are equally surprised, they both prepare their machetes and just as they're about to assault me, I get my empty pistol up and aim it towards them, they quickly make eye contact then hastily drop their machetes, put their hands behind their back and get down on the floor. This is my chance. I loot the dead bandit while still aiming the pistol then back up swiftly, telling them not to move or else I'd shoot, there's a door leading to an exit behind me, that's where I'm headed. I get so tensed that I unintentionally pull the trigger. *Click* ..
The two alarmed bandits, already at their knees recognize that sound. "The gun's empty!". One of them shouts, getting up. The other follows him, grabbing his machete, I feel quivers running up through my spine. I back up and run as fast as I can, I head to the door and firmly shut it behind me, I can hear them violently banging on the locked door. I glance at the entry, then keep moving towards the exit. "That was close..".
The game takes place one year in America after the "events". The events were a series of earthquakes that left the country in ruins. An unnamed survivor ventures back to his old apartment in search for his wife and daughter. But as he gets there, he finds himself responsible for a sick little girl. Together they travel in search for both of their families, but they've got no idea of the troubles awaiting them..
You only control the male survivor throughout the game. You get a limited number of retries that bring you back to the last checkpoint. But after you've ran out of them, you'll have to restart the whole chapter. I found the limited number of retries a nice add-on since it makes the game much harder. The game isn't for casual players, and you will find yourself stuck. Allot.
Most of the chapters have lots of climbing in them. You have a stamina bar for almost anything with effort involved, even running. But if it runs out while climbing, you'd fall to your death. There're some tools like a "Piton" to make climbing a little easier. But these items are uncommon, and you need to do some serious searching to find them.
Throughout the game you'll run through different types of people, some are bandits who just fancy killing and looting and some are just scared folks trying to protect their territory. Either ways, they both can be hostile. You get the chance can kill them or talk yourself out in most cases.
What I enjoyed most about the game was the realism when encountering enemies. You can either persuade them that you mean no harm and that you'd be on your way if they let go of you, you can intimidate them with your empty pistol and run away, or you can simply kill them all if you think you're hard-hitting enough. Either ways, the difficulty rising up as you progress and the number of methods you can use made the game really fun to play.
Another thing that impressed me was how real your health point were. Just one shot can fatally injure you and another will surely kill you. Same with the machete.
The graphics were slightly dated. Which's sad considering the game's potential. The texture work was sometimes muddy and some edges were really ugly and pointy even though I had the Anti-Aliasing on 8x. However, some landscapes were really well made, like a train hanging in the air or a fallen bridge. The graphics will take you out of the moment occasionally but it isn't something that'd hurt the overall experience. The game's still really enjoyable either ways.
The inventory system was interesting. You scavenge food, water and medicine and put them in your bag. There're limited slots in your inventory but you wont find yourself needing to get rid of an item to pick up another. These items are scarce and you'll be using them regularly.
The game was nowhere near realistic. Yet it stands tall next to the competition. I enjoyed the storyline and found the climbing mostly entertaining. The limited number of retries spiked the difficulty way up and the graphics were slightly dated. But in conclusion, I'd definitely recommend this game to anyone.