The Xbox Live House Party came to a close with their last game I AM Alive. This title has been in the works for sometime now and has even changed studios, before finally getting released. Like many games that spend a lot of time in the works, this game has had a rough start. You could catagorize this game with other projects like Too Human and Timeshift. Both of these games spent a long time in development only to be bashed by critics and overlooked by gamers. You shouldn’t ignore I AM Alive though. This game has some elements that could change the way you think a game should play.
The good thing this game does is simulate tiredness. There are already many games that let you run, jump, climb, and shoot all the while never getting tired. You can’t have that mindset when playing this game or you will die. The player doesn’t just have a life bar, they also have a stamina bar that goes down when running and climbing. Not only that but to simulate fatigue if your stamina empties your stamina bar will shrink till you can’t climb for long without falling. There are resources that can replenish your bars but they are in short supply, and most of the time you end up having to give the better ones away to help survivers. This creates a mood that is different and new to this type of adventure game. The graphics help with the mood as well. The developers have painted the whole landscape brown and gray in the grim story as if you are watching it on the main characters camcorder.
There are however some issues that can be taken up with this game. The climbing controls take a little time to get used to but for the most part they work, and it’s a good thing too since you will be spending most of your time climbing. The other part of the time is combat which is where you will die the most. Each battle only has one outcome that will keep you alive without having to use a lot of your resources or replays. Some people will find this very hard to do because the average game allows you to run and gun but not this one. You have to think of combat as a strategy. Which enemy is the boss, which one is caring a gun, do you use your machette, or do you intimidate with your gun/bow. It’s almost like the Dragon’s Lair games where if you don’t press the right button at the right time you will die or a quick time event sequence of button presses. The developers have just found a way to fool the player in thinking they have control over the events. Once you have the order memorized though, the difficulty of the game goes way down which will be helpful for people that want to play on survival mode.
All in all, this game is challenging and inventive for an XBLA game and at 1200 microsoft points it’s not a bad buy for the time and effort that went into the making of it. Not all critics would agree, but then you can’t please everyone all the time, just some of the people some of the time.