Some say a platformer, others say an adventure, game, others even say a shooter. Regardless, Ubisoft’s I Am Alive looks like all the trappings of a survival horror without the survivor horror. You play as an unnamed protagonist, who apparently has survived a catastrophic earthquake in a Chicago, and must go and locate his missing wife and child. Besides that, there is not much of a back story to give players any idea what has occurred, giving gamers that similar impression of waking up suddenly and finding the place you had once called home in complete shambles. Ubisoft’s minimalistic approach to the concept of the game is intriguing, as your character is no super hero nor ultimate conqueror, but rather some unassuming man armed only with the clothes on his back and a pistol with very few bullets. Yet he his tasked with traversing this dangerous cityscape, interacting with other survivors who may or may not be willing to cooperate with an estranged father and husband.
I am Alive gives players multiple ways to deal with situations with other stranded survivors. Some are sympathetic to your altruistic cause and spare what little supplies they have. While others, (the majority) want nothing more than to cut you down and take what you have. You can use intimidation as a means of bargaining, by brandishing your unloaded gun, you can goad potential enemies into lowering their weapons and cooperating with you, or it can have quite the opposite effect and provoke more powerful bad guys to take up arms and start fighting. Or if you’re feeling bold, you can take on some of the tougher guys, and if victorious, some of the lesser baddies will surrender in exchange for their lives. Faced with the not-so-far apocalypse, human interaction is no longer quite as civil as trying to survive is the paradigm on everyone’s mind.
With only a fast-depleting stamina bar and a health bar, players are forced to be quick thinking with their choices as the game’s ever changing world does not wait for the player. Deciding where to jump to while hanging on that ledge? Even while stationary, your stamina bar is quick to deplete, making methodical approaches something to be desired. However forcing players to utilize gut reactions and anticipation may be what gives this game it’s niche in such an overblown market of survival by any means necessary.
Ubisoft however has chosen to keep I Am Alive’s distribution digital only, as the publisher fears that the game won’t fare too well in retail shelves. However Ubisoft claims that I am Alive is the largest downloadable game as of yet, and says that it’s about as large and contains as much content as any standard-disc game. Look for this game in digital Marketplaces this winter.
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