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Ubisoft Shanghai’s long-awaited title, I Am Alive, announced in 2008, will actually be “alive” on March 7. Set in the fictional city of Haventon, I Am Alive puts you in the middle of a world that suffered from an apocalyptic event (known as, well, “The Event”) one year ago. You control a man who is searching for his lost wife and daughter, and must navigate your way through a city filled with hostile survivors to survive.
Apocalypse, survivors, desolated city…all of this almost sounds like Left 4 Dead, Metro 2033, and every other recent post-apocalyptic game. What sets I Am Alive apart from the rest?
First off, there are no zombies as is common in post-apocalyptic games. Instead, you will encounter normal human beings like yourself. Some will be friendly, others are scared, and more often than not they will be hostile. I Am Alive offers “Intimidation-based combat,” such as bluffing – Point an empty gun at a hostile and demand they leave you alone, for instance. Often, the best way to approach combat is to avoid it, due to your extremely limited resources, and the fact that you could be killed with one shot.
The graphical style of I Am Alive fits in well with its theme: washed-out grayish landscapes and characters reinforce the notion of a dead world.
Because the ground is toxic, you will spend most of your time finding higher ground by climbing buildings. But don’t expect to be free-running with ease like Faith from Mirror’s Edge. I Am Alive features a stamina bar, and every movement (running, climbing, jumping) wears you down. You need to manage your stamina meter effectively if you want to survive. If you run out of stamina, pressing the right trigger will give you a final burst of energy that will prevent you from dying. However, this will lower your stamina capacity permanently.
Survival plays a large role in I Am Alive. As mentioned before, your resources are limited. Resources such as ammo, food, climbing tools, and the like, are hidden throughout the city. The game will also be difficult, and like everything else, you will have limited retries. Retries can be collected by completing optional side quests or by helping other survivors. If all retries are spent, you will start from the last save point.
I Am Alive will cost you 1200 Microsoft Points ($15) when it launches on Xbox Live Arcade and PSN on March 7. If you believe in the whole “2012” thing, I Am Alive might be up your alley.