pessimisten's I Am Alive (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

  • Score:
  • pessimisten wrote this review on .
  • 9 out of 16 Giant Bomb users found it helpful.
  • This review received 9 comments

Just wanted to show this game some love

Let me start of by saying, i'm a terrible writer and i will most likely not be able to properly convey my experience with this game. But i still i felt this game deserved me at least putting in the effort.

I know this game has been under some heavy criticism since it's release, and even tough i have seen people giving their favor to it Brads score just made me a bit sad. I can clearly see how this game is the anti-Brad of games. It doesn't take kindly to bad decisions or poor execution and it very rarely rewards you for doing good. Rather it simply hands you what you need and expect you to figure out the proper next move. Its reward is letting you keep whatever surplus you can maintain by being efficient. The game is even trying to fool you in to poor and costly decisions by flaunting "rewards" of in the distance that will sometimes cost you more to acquire then they actually provide.

I won't say that this didn't frustrate me at first. The game is poor at letting you explore your limits and a moment of indecision can force you to simply give up and reset. There was even an occasion during my play through where i understood my limits and pushed them just enough, but where the developers had assumed that i would find the options i pursued to hard and simply move on, "power up" and come back later. So that after exploring for an hour and acquiring more stuff then i could possibly need, i stumbled upon unpredictable situation that got me killed and reset me back to where i had started an hour earlier.

But, and here is the thing about this game. While frustrated, I had enjoyed that hour of painful exploration, planning and last second escapes so much that i didn't hesitate at all but immediately set down the same path again. I don't think i can explain exactly why i love this game so much. It isn't that its "hard" or "punishing", because the game isn't that. Rather i would say the game challenges you, both to think before you act, but also to accept risks and costs to make progress. As someone who obsessivly hoards items in RPGs and never touches a health restoration item, this game forced me to break that habit. And at the same time it welcomed me with open arms, making me understand that every item counted and anything that could be saved should be saved. I really felt like what i did and how i tackled each obstacle mattered. It wasn't just a slog of samey hindrances on your path to the end of the game where each one was forgotten as soon as the next one approached.

Now, all my drawn out, poor and unfocused writing aside, this is what i truly wanted to say about this game. This is the best game I've played in more then a year and i play most notable games that get released. This might not be the game for you, but you do your self a disservice i you don't find that out on your own. It was a long time ago that a game ended and i just sat there, satisfied yet still wishing i could somehow have more.

The fact that this was a downloadable game both makes me happy and sad. Happy that i was given so much in something i didn't expect a lot from and sad that this didn't get the chance to to be even better. As it stands i would have bought the current game as a full priced retail product. And if this is what they chose to release as downloadable i can only imagine what they would have made for a disc.

If anyone involved with the development of this game should read this. Know that this game has reinvigorated my dying passion for games. I can't give you more praise then that.

9 Comments Refresh
Posted by needforswede

I'm glad some people like it. I was pretty surprised by Brad's review, seeing as he did the Quick Look and seemed to enjoy it for the most part, and also made me want to buy it right away. Of course I still haven't bought it...I don't even think it's out on PSN yet, but I wanted to make sure I'd be making a wise purchase.

Edited by artgarcrunkle

Good to see people saying nice stuff about this game I guess. Whenever Brad pans a game I assume it's good but hard.

Posted by tristenkw5

There's a difference between a "hard", "challenging", or "difficult" game and a janky one. Brad isn't so bad at games that he would let his hardships affect his review score anyway, and he's not the only one panning this game by a long shot.

If we were supposed to give reviews for games their effort nearly every game should get 5 stars because no one TRIES to put out bad games. But that doesn't excuse the fact that it's got problems.

Even in the quick look there were signs of not great game design. There are serious flaws there, along with the glitches and inconsistent mechanics that seem to plague the rest of the game. There are better ways to do most of the stuff I Am Alive tries to do and still get the same emotions from the player.

Not a reference to anyone in particular here: People who are just combing the internet for others to confirm that a game which they've already made up their mind will be good off of premise alone should skip the frustration and simply buy the game. If you want to tell others you liked the game afterward, more power to ya. But don't call out other reviewers specifically in the process. That just makes your view sound biased and fanboy-ish.

Posted by President_Barackbar

This should probably have been done as a blog post rather than an actual review. To put it simply, you should never call out another reviewer specifically in your review. A review is YOUR opinion of the game. It has NOTHING to do with what anyone else thinks.

Edited by liquidfox00

I also bought the game based on Brads quick look, in fact I downloaded it immediately after watching. I am far from dissapointed with this arcade title. Great pacing, fantastic atmosphere and finally a game that makes us think before we act because there are very real consequences to acting brash. I highly reccemend this title. If you're on the fence at least try the demo.

Posted by Xpgamer7

I really want to know why people like this game. It gives me an insight into where it works. Thematically I like it, and mechanically I don't. I think the game and concepts clash often and some people were broken by that. I don't think it's a good "game" but I think it's different and does parts well.

Posted by Pessimisten

Just want to point out that i never criticised or "called out" Brad for his review. I simply mentioned that the reason i wrote the review was because it recieved such a low score on the site and i wanted to give an alternative view on it. That's why i mentioned how i could totally see why this wasn't brads cup of tea. I can also see how what i wrote might be taken the wrong way. "anti-brad" was never meant to sound like it was Brads fault for not liking it.

Posted by seanconnery13

im still on the fence about this game. I liked the quicklook and was interested in getting it then. I also read some reviews and found that the game might not be worth getting. After playing the demo I am very intrigued about where the game may be going and even though some mechanics were clunky, I enjoyed the gameplay. I might get it in the future. still not 100% sure what to do.

Posted by GrowUpALittleMoar

Your first review, and you give it five stars... it speaks for itself.

First off, this game is literally made for one single purpose: Money.

Of course games are made in the pursuit of capital, but true games are also labors of love (Counter Strike and Team Fortress, two games that started as simple Half Life mods). This game has no love, there was no one at Ubisoft Shanghai that wanted to complete that game and tell their friends and family how great it was, even Stan Mettra (Lead Director) stated that making a PC port would be pointless "...because it's a game they actually want to play? Would they buy it if we made it?"

How did all this happen?

It started 5 years ago, in 2007, when Darkworks (A game development company in Paris, France) pitched the idea of a post-apocalyptic themed horror/surivial game to Ubisoft. Despite being turned down by most of the Ubisoft executives, Serge Hascoët (CCO of Ubisoft) thought the game had the potential of being as popular and well received among their other games; Namely Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell.

If you've read up on I Am Alive, you can understand his mentality. A guy, who runs and climbs around, whackin' bad guys, and collecting stuff along the way. It was simply Ubisoft's already golden game designs in a brown and gritty pallete. The game went through many re-visions, going from Zombie-like enemies, to having a full group of people and using tactics. The general and main-stay of the idea was to have an open world environment you explore, scavenging and fighting off would be assailants. This idea was a gold mine to Hascoët, Ubisoft's own Fallout 3.

Problems arose quickly though when Ubisoft started to notice that Darkworks, which made the titles Cold Fear and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, was perhaps hyping and promising far too much. A CG trailer for I Am Alive was shown at E3 2008, showcasing a man emerging from a pile of rubble, looking off into the far distance of a ruined Chicago as the words "I Am Alive" faded onto the screen.

Gamers were more than psyched to go back-packing around the earthquake torn "Windy City" and Ubisoft was pleased so many people we're influenced by a simple CG trailer. Because they NEEDED this game to sell as fast as possible...

Ubisoft had been closely monitoring Darkworks production of the game, many times interrupting the development with meetings, check-ups, and scheduling. This lead to many frustrated designers who felt they had no creative control, angry coders who we're sent back to re-code what Ubisoft wanted, and ultimately people started to quit Darkworks.

The planned delivery date of I Am Alive was to be April 2009. When Darkworks failed to meet the deadline Ubisoft cut all funding, took back the project and flung it to Ubisoft Shanghai, and left Darkworks, the company that had been working on this multimillion production for two years to rot and die... which they did.

That's just the History behind the game, the game itself deserves it's own special attention.

The game itself isn't hard or demanding, it's just frustrating.

We all know games like Battlefield 3, God of War, Bulletstorm... they're linear. They're game play style is best suited for a linear story... a Survival game should be open-world, allowing for a player to literally scavenge broken down cars and buildings. You completely erase all sense of Survival if all things you have to be aware of... are painfully obvious.

A Survival/Scavenge game where something can only be found the first time, and then next play through the same exact item is there again. This is old-school, SNES game design. I, the player, don't feel like I'm in such a dire situation. I feel like I'm playing a set of events in a linear string. Oh look, a group of three guys (COMBAT EVENT) What are all these pipes doing here? (CLIMBING EVENT)

If I beat this game once, I could beat it again no problem... zero re-play value. Far Cry 2 felt more of a Survival game than this, almost everyone was trying to kill you, you had to find gear in the field at first and work your way up. This game is full of invisible walls, every step your reminded how you can't venture forth even though your mind is just begging to explore.

This game was is a rushed piece of shit, as evident of it being a $30 Million+ title and being sold on PSN and XBLA on release for $15.

I don't enjoy this game, because no one enjoyed programming it, and it shows.

Numerous bugs, lack of detail, improper testing due to time constraints... the game was doomed the minute Ubisoft changed gears from making a new franchise to making a quick buck.

So... not only do we have a game that has been re-programmed twice, budget shortened, development team halved, pressed for time, and only able to use 2GB of space so it can be sold on PSN and XBLA... we have a game that doesn't even fit the play style of it's own theme.

...and you give it five stars.

I'm a Computer Scientist with a hobby of C++ Game Design and Coding, Here are just a few minor tweaks off the top of my head they could put in a patch to improve the current game:

  • Item trading (Trade your useless items for items you want.)
  • Robbery (It's dog eat dog out there, rob somebody.)
  • Karma bar (Your actions determine triggers, events, endings, etc.)
  • "Get on the floor!" (Tell enemies to get on the floor... you know... like how real people do it.)

These things would be nice, it would make the game more enjoyable... but it wouldn't make them any more money. Which is the entire point I Am Alive was released in the first place.

- Someone you'll never hear from again providing much needed insight.


- (tl:dr) Bottom line -

I Am Alive is simply Ubisoft's way of both keeping their promise of releasing the game, and trying to make back as much money as they lost on the failed project... that still pretty much failed.

Your either in denial over $15, or you have not experienced enough games to know what a proper game should function and play like. A game should be a fun, anything less is more work.

Other reviews for I Am Alive (Xbox 360 Games Store)

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.