You could almost copy and paste my entire opinion of AMY here. But that would be a little cheap.
I Am Alive is a game that feels like it was destined for greater things, like AMY. It’s a stripped down, raw form of Survival Horror – like AMY. It’s got difficulty spikes that are obscene, like AMY. And it is dividing opinion across the board… well.
The differences are vast; whereas AMY was about enclosed spaces and an overall sense of dread, I Am Alive is about wide open spaces and viewing the devastation left in the wake of an apocalyptic disaster. Amy was pretty tried and tested old-school Survival Horror, I Am Alive – hailing from UbiSoft – has a more exploratory, parkour feeling.
Both games evoke different emotions. AMY is about the bond, between a woman and her charge, who is a child. I Am Alive is about the overall commonality of the human spirit, the characters you meet, the journey. AMY is about a real sense of dread, everything is happening there and then. I Am Alive is the aftermath, the challenges being faced AFTER the fact.
Both have a sort of stamina meter. Both games are stripped-out survival horror experiences. Both games have great things in them, but most importantly – both games are deeply flawed.
AMY was perhaps too challenging, too old school for most to tolerate. It was tethered down in mechanics we accepted back in the early PS1 era, but today have little patience for. I Am Alive is comparatively easier – but nowhere near as engaging and personal as AMY.
I Am Alive is terribly cliche and predictable for the majority of the experience. It’s a game with plenty of ideas and even a few of its own, but never seems to marry them all together into one cohesive whole. It is a fragmented feeling that never really goes away; as you carry on, as you progress, you find yourself pointing out ideas, concepts and quirks from numerous TV, Film and Gaming staples.
But the reason for this is much the same reason AMY felt disjointed at times too – these are games that began life as big-budget titles. These are both games that were intended at one time to have massive mainstream appeal. And both games, somewhere, had their budgets cut, or someone cut out as much as they could to get it out there on Live Arcade. Both games suffer terribly for it – they feel like shadows of what could have been.
For the price of 1200MSP, I Am Alive is hardly the worst thing you can buy. But, much like Amy, it is a game that will be misunderstood, misjudged and used as some kind of leverage to say that stripped out big-budget games shouldn’t be sold on the Live Arcade.
It is a shame in the last real full year of Live Arcade, we’re being treated to games that feel like they’ve been attacked by a lawnmower and had all the interesting stuff cut away. But equally, it’s a shame games like this are being relegated to this kind of situation.
Enjoy I Am Alive, but like AMY, don’t expect it to rock your world. It’s just not going to happen.