I Am Alive is the dark tale of a loving husband and father searching for his missing wife and daughter in the fictional post-apocalyptic city of Haventon. I Am Alive hits hard with a scary setting making the player think of Silent Hill while walking through the thick fog. Between the fog and creepy music the game makes you feel as if a monster will jump out, sadly though one never does. Instead you will be faced with saving or destroying the lives of refugees and groups of bandits who want nothing more than your life.
You play as an unnamed character searching for his missing family in the wake of a catastrophe known simply as The Event. The Event has destroyed most major cities through earthquakes, leaving only destruction and rubble behind for those left to live in. Supplies are scarce and most survivors fight for their lives to get them, or in a lot of cases lay on the street and beg the player for help. You have the option to help these people if you wish, rewarding you with an extra retry. If you aren’t feeling very helpful you can leave them to die alone, or steal what little supplies they do have on them. And then there are some that will take your supplies from you through any means necessary, utilizing found guns and machetes to stop you.
One of the best things about I Am Alive is the setting and mood of the game. You really feel like you’re trying to survive in an apocalyptic event, supplies become your gold and when they are used unwisely it is upsetting. Ammo will become the greatest thing in the world, wasting any of it will hurt the player emotionally, as well as your character physically. The game is by no means graphically advanced, but the city you find yourself in is still beautiful in its own way. The world looks right for an apocalypse, people are surviving anyway they can, skyscrapers have fallen against their neighbors, and the streets are littered with debris and forgotten barricades. Colors alter between gray and a darker gray for the most part while you are on the street, things get a little brighter the higher you go though. The color palette doesn’t change drastically but it is a welcome change from the drab experience down below.
While wandering through the torn up city you will get access to a variety of useful tools and weapons. A pistol and machete are the first to make their way into your hands. A lot of the time you will need to bluff your way through a situation with the pistol as you will not have any ammo. The machete however is an always-useful tool, serving as a weapon and a door opener. Another amazing find comes from the top of a skyscraper in the form of a grappling hook and rope. These can be used to latch onto set points in the world and swing your way to new areas.
New areas are something you will see a lot of, most of your time spent in I Am Alive will be climbing some sort of object. This aspect feels extremely Tomb Raider like, jumping from ledge to ledge, swinging across gaps and sliding down the sides of downed skyscrapers. The world is a great jungle gym for you to let your inner child out in, just beware of the dying parts. Some sort of free roaming game-mode would have been a welcome addition, but sadly was not delivered, cross our fingers for DLC add-on.
The music is another amazing aspect brought on by I Am Alive, it really sets up the feeling of no hope being left in the city. Walking through the fog with the scary music playing in the background gives the feeling of playing a horror game. The closest monster to be found however is an easter egg on an unreachable ledge in the form of a mutant running around in circles. Sadly you can never get a real good look at this creature, but it does make you dream of more of them running out of the fog at you. The soundtrack was chosen perfectly and is enough to make you forget about the terrible story playing in front of your eyes.
Speaking of the terrible story, I Am Alive has an incredibly boring and forgettable tale thrown in with this beautiful apocalypse. You never feel emotionally tied to why your character is in this city or to the people that you come across. At one point you will come across a little girl named Mei, she does not make a big impact on your feelings. She seems more like an animal along for a car ride instead of the big plot point that she is.
For the most part the story is told through the lens of a video camera that an unnamed girl is watching in a dark room. Your character takes this camera with him everywhere; it is never seen while you are playing however, only when there is a cutscene to be watched. These do a poor job of setting up the next piece of your story as they are boring to watch and seem like more of a task to get through.
I Am Alive is a pretty good game for its low price tag, just don’t bother getting real into the story and instead enjoy your surroundings. If at all possible however I would recommend waiting for a price drop to come to this game. My final time count was around four hours of game time. This is sad even for fifteen dollars and leaves something to be desired, besides a cliff-hanger ending.
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