Comments (10)
coolbeans  +   1368d ago
Hope everyone enjoyed the review. :D

Like that of Dear Esther, I implore you to look at both ends of what I AM Alive received from critics and users (except IGN's review). I honestly can't blame anyone for utterly slamming this game for certain missteps. The aspect that really stuck to me was how depressing the game was able to be without overdoing it. *SEMI SPOILER* There was even one person I helped whom later hanged herself. *END SPOILER*

In the end, liking it or hating it depends on whether or not you care for the smaller details in this type of atmospheric game.
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Christopher  +   1367d ago
I believe you are too kind in your review. I found the "bottleneck" approach combined with the limited retries concept to completely destroy my desire to finish the game. I also felt no attachment to the world or its people. Certain mechanics didn't make much sense (dust storms are impossible to be countered by... covering your face with a scarf or similar wrap?).

From my first interaction in the world, which was to kick a fellow survivor, who was defensive and not aggressively attacking me, over the edge of a destroyed road without any choice or freedom to my final moments in the game when I found out that exploration got even more aggravating as I dealt with the poor swing mechanics once I got the grappling hood, the game rubbed me completely wrong.

It's as if the developers pushed game mechanics that didn't make sense, especially not from a story telling point, on you just to have some gameplay mechanics for you to work around. I mean, seriously, I start the game with a fully functional digital camera and a gun with no bullets, but during all my travels I didn't find a machete or similar weapon to use? And I'm supposed to want to explore in a world where I am penalized at every moment for doing as such and may have to restart as much as 45 minutes from where I was?

And these issues are only exacerbated by the piss poor controls that only result in you quickly going backwards to regain your stamina or wasting much needed resources to increase stamina because while you thought you were pushing up on the analog controller, it took that ever so slight degree shift to the left or right as a reason to suddenly start climbing in a completely different direction, forcing you to waste that much needed stamina in the process.

And don't get me started on the "bottleneck" gameplay concept, where they give you just enough to do what they want. Every single encounter where I had to use gun and machete to destroy other survivors had a specific way that I had to take them out and I ended up with just enough bullets to get it done in my chamber. No more, no less.

I refuse to review the game because I refuse to finish it at this time, but I don't see how I could give it anything above a 6/10 considering how what I've researched has shown that the same flaws I found in the game persist throughout and actually get worse at times.
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coolbeans  +   1367d ago
Interesting points
- While I'm not going to disagree that certain game mechanics like the heavy storm or ability to gulp fruit cocktails while hanging from the side of a building are unrealistic, that never became a relevant complaint to me. I could understand the use of silly game logic for the sake of giving me such a great sense of urgency. The dust storm in the city really felt similar to the idea swimming underwater in a cave for so long and plotting certain points to come back up gasping for air. This felt even better when certain points of coming up would give you a situation with enemies.

- You fail to mention the bow and arrow in your mention about weapons; did you give up on the game before making it to that point? A few different avenues of planning your attack open up after making it that far.

- There are many points when I enjoyed the "bottleneck" approach when facing enemies. I liked the idea of holding up a group of guys without having a bullet in the chamber because it falls back to that sense of desperation I mentioned earlier.

- When it comes to the punishments mentioned of going back to a distant checkpoint, I simply never came close to running out of retries. I'm not trying to come off with the poor "I'm just good at the game" argument, but I just honestly never found that to be a problem once I came up with a patient system of planning out the climbing sections as best as I could. I did mention that COULD be a problem in the written review (although in the combat related section), but I simply couldn't allow a problem that never came up in my experience to change the score.

- I suppose we'll have to disagree on the attachment to characters and the world.

In the end, I can understand where you're coming from. The main reason for its score is how well it sets out to be a breath of fresh air compared to other video games. Sure, their could be ample awards around every place you search, but having an overpowered character detracts from the oppressive atmosphere. It adequately resonated with me a flawed character who's trying just as hard as everyone else to eke out an existence in this new world.
Christopher  +   1367d ago
The game mechanics weren't a huge issue with me, but they were something added on top of everything else that prevented me from having any attachment to the world.

I gave up on the game when I got the grappling hook and, at least on the PS3, resulted in a ton of failings because you couldn't tell if you swung over a ledge enough to let go. Truly, the horrible controls is what made everything in the game that much worse. Climbing was horrible, even with planning things out because at any moment it would do something completely different than what I had planned or it wouldn't recognize that I was jamming the analog stick really hard to the left to move to the left.

*** but I just honestly never found that to be a problem once I came up with a patient system of planning out the climbing sections as best as I could***

An example for me of how difficult this was to do was the mall on your first trip. I'm leaving the girl alone and part of this is going around and getting that one item for the guy below you. The problem is, at no angle could I see my options well enough to determine if I needed to go up at this point (I didn't after giving it a few tries and wasting some stamina on that -- hell, I even went across the way to try and get a better look at the elevator shaft to see if I could see more from far away, but the game just didn't want me to see what my options were) or down. For a game that penalized you for not having an idea of where to go when you went exploring, it did nothing for me in aiding me in seeing what my options were, only part of it and then I was either SOL when I went to explore of lucky to have chosen the right path.

And, again, add onto this the issue that the controls sucked so bad that I had to retry my climbing explorations more than a few times as the game had to let you know, when you meant to go left, it throught you meant up or down.

*** I suppose we'll have to disagree on the attachment to characters and the world. ***

First guy I meet, I just kick him over the edge and steal his machete. Why? It's a harsh world?

Come around a corner to find your first aggressive survivor who is overprotective. I thought, hey, perhaps I should try to talk to her. Nope, she shoots me dead quick and fast. This is before I ever help anyone and sends me the completely wrong message.

I then find the girl, who feels more like a burden and not an emotional attachment than anything.

And then I find a few people who need help, and the level of interaction is I give them something and they say one line of text. Didn't feel immersed at all or cared about them at all.

Again, this could have changed greatly after where I stopped, but the gameplay alone made me feel like I wouldn't have had any fun going any further.

And, in a game that is supposed to be about exploration, the only time I find anything is when the game wants me to find it. I explored all cars, alleyways, and more... nothing except for one retry. All those ambulances, nothing. All those buildings, nothing. The world felt built to have me waste time looking for stuff when they should have just told me to not waste my time.

Everything in this game rubbed me wrong. Everything. Nothing came up good, nothing.

I do question if the controls from 360 to PS3 were vastly different. I tend to find that people on the 360 don't complain about them at all and PS3 users bring it up half the time in their reviews (I assume the other half just accept it).
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Christopher  +   1367d ago
Let me tell you one thing I definitely don't understand with this game: I bought it because the average score on PSN was higher than 4.8/5 stars. That makes absolutely no sense to me. None. I mean, even your score isn't quick to try and make this game look that good, yet after 2 weeks over 2,000 people on PSN though it was the Bees Knees.
coolbeans  +   1367d ago
In regards to PS3 control complaints (first 2 or 3 dashes):

- Even when goofing off and experimenting with things such as grappling hooks, I don't recall terrible issues like that. The shifts he made were a bit touchy, but not to the point of were I would keep missing the right landing spots. Perhaps PS3 owners have to wait some kind of patch.

- I too had a few problems with climbing at certain points, but it was mostly segregated to pipes intersections (could go up, down, left, right).

- I don't mean to keep going with the "I'm good" argument, but I usually seemed to be on top of the pathfinding (perhaps by accident). In the mall level you mentioned, I just went directly for that elevator shaft and got to it, finishing that part with hardly any dim. stamina left. Like I said before, I'm not sure if it's the PS3 at this time, but those "flat" climbing sections (go this way, drop down, and repeat) were fine for me.

- I honestly thought the initial people you find is what had drawn me into this world. Taking over a year to get their (with seemingly no friends made along the way), the first person you meet is a territorial hobo with a pistol. I constantly felt like Adam was begging for communication early on yet only found rapists, deranged civilians with weapons, and a party of two who could do nothing else but ask for help, until he found Mei.

There is a bit more context given about "The Event" and your family later on in the game. I think importance of information was somewhat tied into the difficulty of finding whatever someone needed. While you're still not going to be known an "Event Historian" after saving all 20 citizens, the context given is interesting for the sake of hearing stories of how fast everything went down the drain once the earthquake hit.

I can certainly agree that a 4.8/5.0 on PSN is wrong. In spite of the problems I had, the reason I find this game to be just short of great (7.9 ='s *very* good) is how nice it is to see new concepts employed that could well be used in other future adventure titles. If I AM Alive 2 does happen, it certainly needs to change a few elements, most particularly in dying not being the game's fault so often.
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Christopher  +   1367d ago
Just wanted to say that I appreciate the conversation to be had. Like all things, we have different opinions and tastes in things, but it's nice to see your thoughts and how they differ from my own.
coolbeans  +   1366d ago
It's definitely a treat to have an extended conversation on the game I'm reviewing, especially when said game is one of those complete hit or miss titles for critics and users. This discussion especially felt like an honest one-on-one discussion similar to those of reviewer podcasts trying to dive deeper into what made this resonate with him/her.

Thanks for your points, Mr. Goodno. :D
Jurat  +   1367d ago
I really enjoyed I AM Alive. Approached with the right mindset, the concept is fantastic; the first time you experience the innovative climbing/combat mechanics is memorable.
Sadly, it does give the impression of a game that wasn’t quite finished.
Multiplayer survival servers could have been fun.
Review score is spot on for me.
baboom223  +   1366d ago
impressive review.

I had about the same reaction with the game also.

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