Thursday, March 09, 2017

I Am Lost In A Endless Haze

I Am Alive is an XBox Live Arcade game where you are a guy who has spent a year crossing the country to reach his family after some cataclysm, and has finally reached his home. Now he has to find his family, by climbing lots of things, finding food and drugs, and occasionally killing people. I downloaded the demo some time ago, but never got any farther because right at the end of the demo, it seemed to promise it was going to be be some escort mission thing with a helpless little kid. Escort missions suck.

But I took a chance, and keeping the kid safe simply requires keeping yourself safe. Just don't die, and she'll be fine. Problem being, the game sidetracks you with helping this kid, her mother, and their friend, and at no point do you actually look for your own family. Literally the game ends when you see these strangers safely away and prepare to actually get to doing the thing you're here to do. At least give me the choice of whether I want to help these random-ass strangers. The game does that all the time otherwise. There are "victims" scattered throughout who will ask for something. Food, water, a first aid kit, smokes. You provide it, they tell you mostly useless information. Late in the game, I did happen back by a person I hadn't been able to help earlier on, and she had hung herself. My self-esteem sure didn't need that.

The game has a lot of climbing, so there's a stamina bar, and you have to keep an eye on it, get to some place you can rest for a minute before it runs out and you fall to your death. The game does provide you with "retrys", either for helping people or simply making it through certain levels. I think it really provides them when you're on the verge of running out. "You sure died a lot in that last chapter, have a couple of retrys you clumsy fool." It seems to do that a lot with items. You typically get just enough bullets as you need. You find one bullet, you'll probably face two guys, the first walks up and you surprise him by slitting his throat with a machete, then you shoot the other one. You find three bullets, it's probably 4 guys. You find 5 bullets, etc. It's curious that no one in the game carries any weapons other than pistols or machetes. Nobody went for a katana, just to be a poseur*? Or a shotgun? You do get a bow at one point, with one arrow. Which magically never breaks, handy since the game is almost over before you find any more arrows.

There's a lot of time spent wandering the streets enveloped in dust which slowly chokes the life from you. So your stamina is already dropping, and you have to waste more stamina and time climbing things periodically to get out of the dust so you don't die. But the murky streets, combined with the street map you gradually mark up as you try to find your way, did remind me of Silent Hill 2. Which is not great for I Am Alive, as that's not a comparison it's going to win. Still, the parts where I'm roaming, trying to figure out if I can go down a certain street, looking for places to climb and explore, those were the most enjoyable parts.

* Note: I would probably go for a katana, because I'm a dork. Which is still better than a poseur.


SallyP said...

This sounds rather... depressing actually.

CalvinPitt said...

It pretty much is.