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I Am Alive

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The long, sad story behind Ubisoft's I Am Alive


Oct 08
// Dale North
Look, I didn't hate I Am Alive. We as an outlet did not hate I Am Alive. Some dug its monochromatic world and impossibly stiff challenge while others wrote it off as a frustrating experience that was not worth the v...
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It lives: I Am Alive headed to PC next month


Aug 23
// Jordan Devore
It seemed unlikely that Ubisoft's post-apocalyptic survival game I Am Alive was going to ever make it to PC due to concerns about piracy. Well, someone over there clearly ran the numbers and determined that such a port would ...
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See Assassin's Creed III in action at PAX East


Mar 28
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Ubisoft is bringing some of their biggest games to PAX East next week. The biggest of them all will be Assassin's Creed III. It won't be playable, but there will be live demo presentations in a fully-enclosed theater at their...

Review: I Am Alive

Mar 06 // Maurice Tan
I Am Alive (Xbox Live Arcade [reviewed], PlayStation Network)Developer: Ubisoft ShanghaiPublisher: UbisoftReleased: March 7, 2012 (XBLA) / Spring 2012 (PSN)MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points / $14.99 It's been roughly a year since "The Event," a massive catastrophe that has destroyed civilization. Earthquakes and volcanic ash hint at a natural disaster, but nobody is left to explain what caused it. Cities across America lie in ruins, all color removed from the world by layers of ash and dust, and those who were able to flee during the chaos have done so. What is left of urban civilization is a bleak, harsh environment where a tribal gang culture has emerged from the ashes, and a dog-eat-dog mentality prevails above all others. I Am Alive's everyman protagonist finds himself at the edge of Haventon, his hometown, visibly scarred from his survivalist trek to reach his wife and daughter, whom he hasn't heard from since The Event. He is a man with a singular purpose, but also a man who hasn't forgotten what it means to be human. It doesn't take long before you are sidetracked from the quest to find your family. You encounter a little girl in need of help, and a mysterious voice on the radio by the name of Henry wants you to bring her to safety. Thus starts a chain of events that sees you running, walking, coughing, climbing, slashing, and shooting your way all over Haventon to find the last remaining safe camps where your family might be hiding. [embed]223064:42892[/embed] For the most part, I Am Alive delivers on its promise to bring to life a true survivalist's adventure in a world gone to hell, both in terms of gameplay mechanics and how it conveys an oppressive atmosphere of hopelessness. Objectives offer a linear path, which can often be deviated from in favor of risky exploration. Health doesn't regenerate, and must be replenished with various items scarred across the city. Stamina is equally important, as it not only allows you to run and sprint, but also redefines how we look at climbing in games. Whenever you show off your acrobatic side it costs stamina, which will regenerate every time you take a breather on safe ground. Once your stamina bar empties out, you can continue running or climbing a little further by mashing the trigger, but doing so will quickly reduce the maximum size of your stamina bar. Performing jumps while climbing will take a large cut out of your stamina bar, rendering it a calculated necessity rather than the shortcut such a maneuver offers in games like Uncharted or Assassin's Creed. Since the size of your stamina bar translates directly to how far you can climb, it becomes imperative to plan how you want to approach a climbing endeavor and to spot places where you can stand to recover ahead of time. Most of the time such paths will be clearly indicated to push the player forwards without getting stuck. Sometimes, however, there is simply no place to recover as you go off the beaten path to scale large buildings or climb to those hard-to-reach places that are most likely to offer precious items. Pivots can be found and utilized to create a resting place on a walls where you can recover when there is no safe place in sight, but these are too rare to rely on throughout the game. You just have to be smart. Much has been said about the way I Am Alive handles enemy encounters. The game attempts to portray a moral conundrum by letting you perceive each non-player character as a human first, and a potential enemy of variable threat second. Sometimes armed civilians will instinctively threaten you in to protect their food or territory, and they'll allow you to slowly walk around without bothering them if you don't want to kill them for no good reason. Gangs, however, are another matter entirely. Increasingly large gangs will obstruct your progress. Their members are always male; women are reduced to victims after The Event. Armed with only a machete, a gun, and later a bow, you are usually not in any position to fight your way out of an engagement as in a typical third-person action-adventure. Obnoxious gang members can wield guns themselves, which forces you to think about your tactics. It's never wise to bring a knife to a gun-fight, after all. Thankfully, I Am Alive offers ways to turn any enemy encounter into a tactical puzzle. A surprise kill with your machete can take out whoever thinks you are an easy target who likes to be pushed around. Whip out your gun immediately afterwards, and anyone who doesn't have a gun to fire back will raise their hands and heed your orders to back off -- for a while. This leads to a lot of fun encounters, because you can tell gang members to back off until they are at the edge of a cliff or a fire, and then kick them into it like a regular Leon Kennedy or Chris Redfield. Aim at gang members for too long without taking action, however, and they'll call your bluff and attack. There's also an option to take down someone in a direct melee confrontation, but this requires a bit of mashing the right trigger to push your machete into their fleshy bits, and it completely leaves you open to other enemies. Some gang members will have more dominant personalities than others, too, which means you can kill the "leaders" and make the weak followers drop to their knees so you can knock them out. The combat system is unique, and works well as long as you execute it the right way. You'll quickly learn to take out gun-wielding thugs with a surprise kill right off the bat, then kick whoever is left to their death if the environment allows for it. Because bullets are very hard to come by, you'll start to rely on your bow as soon as you get it. An arrow can be shot and then recovered, meaning you can line up a group of gang members, shoot the nearest one with your bow, pick up the arrow as you keep foes away at gunpoint, and repeat the process until you are in the clear again. What is a rather big omission is the complete lack of a non-violent solution. Unless gang members completely submit to your dominance by kneeling down, they will run after you and try to kill you the moment you lower your gun. It results in some ridiculous situations where some bad guys, who obviously would rather just run away if given the choice, are stuck in their encounter with you and will tell you they'll leave you alone, but won't. You are forced to kill them unless you want to get a machete in your back, and upon death they will sometimes ask you with their last breath, "Why did you have to kill me?" Well, because you didn't have the AI routine to flee, that's why. This forces you to resort to violence in order to get past aggressive groups of enemies that obstruct you (i.e., the vast majority), and the lack of a penalty for killing them eliminates any moral compass the game carefully tries to construct. What makes this omission so striking is the way I Am Alive tries to make you ponder about your humanity in all other areas of the game. You'll come across friendly survivors in need who will usually require a valuable item in order to "survive." In return, they tell you a little bit about what happened in Haventon during The Event, and perhaps drop a hint about where you might find your wife and daughter. But even though this makes you feel like the good guy if you help them out -- and it does so very effectively -- you'll find an ever-growing hole in your heart as you drain the life of a hundred thugs who may have just been in the wrong company. The AI's predictable patterns and its insistence on suicide-by-survivor turn what could've been an intriguing sense of moral ambiguity and pondering into something else. Something that is about as carefully constructed as a LEGO base built by a blind person, without fingers, who also happens to lack any form of tactile sensory perception. Another way I Am Alive is at risk of ruining its own immersive qualities is in its approach to checkpoints. The game is cut into episodes, and every death will cost you a "retry" -- an item you can also collect in the world -- which puts you back at the latest checkpoint. Run out of retries, and it's back to the start of the last episode. While the episodes aren't that long, the prospect of running out of retries later in the game is always in the back of your mind, hovering above you like the sword of Damocles. An encounter with a gang can easily go wrong if you make a mistake, costing you health items, too much ammo, or a retry if you die.  It becomes a habit to just return to the start of the current episode if you waste more than two bullets or retries within the first 15 minutes, especially since you'll encounter a couple of trial-and-error sections where an enemy appears out of nowhere behind you, or a platform suddenly gives way and drops you to your death. Sometimes a death also sends you back to a disorienting checkpoint where you have no idea if you had already explored other levels of a structure, or what items you had or hadn't picked up. Such checkpoints can make restarting the episode just as effective as backtracking, just to make sure you grabbed everything you could. As much as you'll be tempted to hoard retries, you'll never run out on "Normal" difficulty setting as you are given a minimum of three retries whenever you reach a save point. "Survivor" difficulty on the other hand makes you work for every retry by finding them in the world or by helping survivors. If you start out on Normal, which is highly recommended to get a feel for the city and mechanics, then don't think too much about the retries and you'll stay more connected to the engrossing world it has to offer. While the AI can be dumb and the checkpoints can occasionally be punishing, they never ruin what I Am Alive does right: it can completely draw you in and make you forget you are playing a game. The story of The Event is told as much by the visual narrative along your trek through the devastated cityscape as by its inhabitants. A thick haze of dust and ash increasingly limits your vision as you delve deeper into Haventon, hampering stamina regeneration and forcing you to either plan for short trips outside, or save enough stamina to periodically climb above the deadly cloud. Every time you start to run out of stamina, a panic-inducing orchestra will rise to a crescendo as you frantically clutch your controller to find a safe spot. It turns every long climbing expedition into an incredibly tense affair, rather than simple button mashing. Moreover, the entire atmosphere of Haventon -- and your encounters with both the city and The Event's few friendly survivors -- lets you connect to some level of innate humanity the longer you play I Am Alive; each time you kill someone by mistake, you will actually feel bad. It's just a shame that part of this effect goes to waste, since you end up killing so many people who are judged to be "bad" by the game that you end up feeling like a version of Judge Dredd who happens to be compassionate when he's off-duty. On the upside, you get to shoot arrows at the crotches of enemies in body armor, which goes a long way toward delivering satisfaction in any game. Despite the times you'll roll your eyes while patiently and carefully going through I Am Alive, you'll never stop being spellbound by it. It's not a short game by any means, clocking at an average 6-7 hours without finding all the survivors (and not counting a few hours' worth of reloading episodes). Once you've finished the expertly paced adventure on Normal difficulty, though, you'll almost instantly jump straight into Survivor mode, with its sparser retries, items, and ammunition drops, if only to find and help all the survivors and try to improve on your score. The ending will likely be a topic for discussion, too, as it hovers between being ballsy and a clear opening for future DLC. Hopefully, it will be the former and not the latter. As a downloadable title, I Am Alive is a remarkable accomplishment. Not only does it create an atmospheric world that feels real enough to identify with, but it succeeds at delivering a unique experience geared towards an adult audience while simultaneously being a fun game to play. It's a roller coaster of emotions, sometimes not exactly the ones the game intended you to feel, but a hell of a ride nonetheless.
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Years in the making at different studios, Ubisoft's I Am Alive brings the Xbox Live Arcade "House Party" to a close with a post-apocalyptic bang. A story of survival, it's full of ideas and twists on the action-adventure conv...

Preview: How I survived I Am Alive

Feb 07 // Dale North
I Am Alive (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network)Developer: Darkworks, Ubisoft ShanghaiPublisher: UbisoftRelease: March 7, 2012 (XBLA) / Q1 2012 (PSN) I Am Live is set after a disaster known as The Event. The game's main character returns to his home town after about a year of being away in hopes of finding his wife and daughter, having come home by foot. He returns to see his entire city ruined and covered with a toxic gray dust. It looks as if some bomb has gone off, or a series of powerful earthquakes have hit, as wrecked cars are piled onto broken bridges, and dead bodies are strewn about below crumbled buildings and burnt city remains. It seems that the entire world has suffered from The Event. In my session, I worked through the first several sections of the game: over a busted suspension bridge that seems to have given out during rush hour, through city sewers to the main character's apartment, out through makeshift shelters for the few remaining living, and into skyscrapers inhabited by angry survivors trying to stay alive. The beginning of that journey had me climbing my way up and over debris, onto hanging cars and bridge rails, and onto even more dangerous wrecked remains. While the Uncharted series' Nathan Drake would hardly break a sweat with this climbing and hanging, I Am Live's hero is a bit more realistic and limited. The game's action has you watching a stamina meter that only permits so much climbing and hanging. If it gives out, you do too, and you'll likely fall to your death from a ledge, or slip off a ladder rung. Surviving means smart management of this stamina, forcing you to think carefully about every hop, jump and grab. Even the smallest bit of extra expended energy could mean death. There is a way to try to dig down for every last drop of stamina, executed by jabbing at the right trigger quickly, but this decreases the maximum level of stamina from then on, so you'll need to carefully consider what obstacles lay ahead before using that option. Through this stamina system, instead of merely "passing" a section of the game, you'll feel like you've actually survived an ordeal. Even on the ground, you'll need to continue carefully considering each step and decision. There are a few survivors of The Event in this city, and most of them are scared, hungry and angry. Most seem to be territorial, and just about all are looking for their next bite to eat, weapon, or advantage. This means that any person you encounter could be your last. I found that very carefully creeping by an angry person with my hands up was usually best. Unlike all the other games of this type, pulling your gun is probably the worst idea, as you probably won't have any bullets in it. Forget unlimited ammo -- in I Am Alive, you're lucky to have a single bullet in stock! If you're careful, though, that empty gun can be used to intimidate enemies. Sometimes it works, others it does not.  On occasion, you will have to kill, but even then you have to go about it very carefully, usually by pulling a knife at the last minute to surprise an enemy after they approach you. If you time it wrong or don't watch your back, you'll end up dead, killed by either the approacher or another survivor that happened upon the encounter.  I found I Am Alive's resource management to be the cherry on top of this stressful sundae. As I mentioned above, bullets are hard to come by. Actually, everything is hard to come by. Considering that it has been about a year since The Event, it makes sense that just about every potential source for foodstuffs, healing items, and weapons has been stripped clean. You're lucky to find anything, and when you do, you need to hold onto it until it's desperately needed; what's ahead is sure to be even tougher. For example, lowered stamina could be replenished with food or a drink, but you might really need that when you have to climb over some wreckage later. That single bullet may be an easy way out of a fight, but it would be more helpful to use when you encounter four angry thugs. Even retries are a limited resource.  As you could imagine, with the always-looming stamina system, violent potential NPC encounters and super-limited resources, I Am Alive is a tense game. On top of all of that, this preview build's save system only allows one save per profile, and would reset if I tried to play an earlier section of the game. This meant that every move had to be perfect! It should now be clear why I call this game I Am Stressed Out. Ubisoft has something fairly unique with I Am Alive. While post-apocalyptic survival is nothing new to games, their focus on survival and resource management makes for a tense, thrilling experience. It's not yet clear how long of an experience I Am Alive is, but it's already looking like a hell of a big game for a $15 XBLA and PSN title. I can't wait to get back in and stress out a bit more.
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I'm coming off spending a weekend with early preview code for Ubisoft's I Am Alive, and I'll tell you right now that I'm already pretty excited about this game. Some of that excitement could just be that I'm relieved to be sa...

Destructoid's most wanted PlayStation 3 games of 2012

Jan 10 // Kyle MacGregor
  The Last Guardian (PlayStation 3) Developer: Team IcoPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentRelease: 2012 It wouldn't be a "most anticipated PS3" list without The Last Guardian, right? This game's numerous and lengthy delays -- I've put it on this list for three straight years, now -- haven't reduced my anticipation for it at all. What does have me somewhat worried is the departure from Sony of the project's visionary director, Team Ico's Fumito Ueda; at least he'll finish the game, and at this point, we're still assuming that that'll happen this year.Ueda's previous games, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, stand as singular experiences that Sony made even better with high-definition remasters last year. Check them out, and you'll understand why fans are still waiting with bated breath to see the tale of this boy and his avian-feline friend play out. Journey (PlayStation Network) Developer: thatgamecompanyPublisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release: Spring 2012 Jenova Chen, Kellee Santiago, and their studio thatgamecompany made a name for themselves with their 2009 PSN title, Flower. It was a fundamentally simple game that nonetheless elicited passionate emotional responses from players, and few (if any) other titles since have matched it in those respects.Journey is the studio's next game. A robed figure traverses a desolate desert and the extant markers of an ancient civilization that lie within: such is the basic premise. I played a segment of that journey in last year's beta; while the arid world evoked a sense of isolation, my interactions with the stone remnants of the land's previous inhabitants brought out a connection with the past that mitigated my loneliness. That's something thatgamecompany and few other developers can do. The Last of Us (PlayStation 3) Developer: Naughty DogPublisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release: 2012 Thanks to its critically acclaimed Uncharted games, Naughty Dog has earned a reputation for crafting exciting thrill-ride action titles with a story and characters worth caring about. Considering that pedigree, anticipation for the studio's next project would have been high regardless of the subject matter.The Last of Us centers on a man and a teenage girl trying to survive in a world that has been overrun by zombie-like creatures. The word "zombie" might cause some people to dismiss the game out of hand, but remember that very little about Uncharted could be called "original"; instead, Naughty Dog has proven itself adept at taking familiar genre trappings (in Uncharted's case, Indiana Jones-esque pulp action) and tweaking them in service of the story the studio wants to tell. Early word is that the team seeks to explore survival elements and that old serious-story standby, the human condition, in a tale that may evoke comics like The Walking Dead and Y: The Last Man. My body is ready. Honorable mentions: Twisted Metal, Papo & Yo, MLB 12 The Show, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD     I Am Alive (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade) Developer: Ubisoft ShanghaiPublisher: UbisoftRelease: Q1 2012 After almost four years of near-silence regarding their forthcoming post-apocalyptic survival title, Ubisoft finally looks like they're ready to release I Am Alive. The game follows a man on a journey to return to his hometown and find his family. Unfortunately for him, he must traverse an urban wasteland, brave the elements, and come toe-to-toe with other survivors who will do anything to stay alive. Finger on the trigger of a pistol, one bullet left in the chamber, a frightened stranger approaches. What do you do? There's nothing more dangerous than an animal backed into a corner, nothing scarier than the dark recesses of the human mind. I'm ever so eager to find myself in these types of situations and make meaningful decisions. I just really, really hope that Ubisoft can capitalize on this title's conceptual potential.  SSX (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360) Developer: EA CanadaPublisher: EA SportsRelease: February 28, 2012 Back during E3 last year, I recall strolling into a dimly lit room for a viewing of EA's forthcoming SSX title. I entered as a casual fan of the series, mildly enthused for another extreme snowboard romp, but left among the converted. Just imagine opening up Google Earth, simply zooming in on any given mountain range and dropping in on a slope for an exhilarating run to the bottom. The team at EA Canada has borrowed intricate satellite data from NASA to virtually recreate entire mountain ranges and let players drop in on some of the most iconic peaks on the planet. Outside of the traditional races and score attack modes, SSX features "boss battles" where players travel to some of the most dangerous peaks on the planet and brave the elements that make them so deadly. During the demonstration, the developers showed off a stage featuring a dynamic avalanche where the speed and direction at which the player hits the angle of repose triggers a unique deluge that the player must outrun to stay alive. Even now months later I'm enthralled by the possibilities of what else EA Canada has in store. February 28 cannot come soon enough.  Far Cry 3 (PlayStation 3, PC, Xbox 360) Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease: 2012 I could probably talk about Far Cry 2 all day. Despite all its failures and unrealized ambitions, its design supported player agency and offered nonlinear gameplay in ways that few games even dare to try, much less realize with a modicum of success. Allowing the player to approach a situation from any standpoint with any strategy and essentially design their own experience in such a vivid and immersive game world made Far Cry 2 an exciting step forward for the medium.  Far Cry 3 returns the series to the tropical setting of an island chain in the South Pacific. The story follows Jason Brody, a tourist who has been caught up in a violent civil conflict and must employ his survivalist resourcefulness to escape with his life. Should Ubisoft capitalize on the strengths of the existing formula and do away with the frustrations, Far Cry 3 could not only be be an incredibly captivating title, but one that continues to pioneer where its predecessor left off. Honorable mentions: Metro Last Light, Zone of the Enders HD Collection Additional Staff Picks for PlayStation 3:  Chad Concelmo: Final Fantasy XIII-2, Journey, The Last of UsSean Daisy: Inversion, Journey, The Last GuardianAndrew Kauz: BioShock Infinite, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Tales of Graces fJonathan Holmes: The Last Guardian, Lollipop Chainsaw, Persona 4: Ultimate Mayonaka ArenaTara Long: Journey, The Last of UsAllistair Pinsof: Dust 514, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White WitchJonathan Ross: The Last GuardianMaurice Tan: Journey, The Last of UsMax Scoville: Journey, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White WitchJosh Tolentino: Dust 514, Journey, The Last of Us 
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The past year has been an interesting one for Sony. The PlayStation 3 finally began to hit its stride, a new portable finally emerged, and an "unauthorized intrusion" resulted in a month-long network outage. That major p...

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Ubisoft gets sweaty over digital distribution


Dec 03
// Fraser Brown
I wonder how long it will be until people look at me with wide eyed amazement when I regale them with tales of leaving my home, jumping on a bus, going into town, walking into an actual building and handing over physical mone...
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I Am Alive director says PC version is still possible


Nov 25
// Jim Sterling
After insulting "bitching" PC fans and casting doubt on a computer version of I Am Alive, director Stanislas Mettra has restated his case with a little more positivity. He now says he'd "love" to see a PC version, and bl...
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The DTOID Show: Our Black Friday Dealmageddon!


Nov 23
// Max Scoville
Hey everybody! I've written posts for The Destructoid Show from numerous strange places, but I don't think I've written one from an airport bar. At least, not this particular airport bar. It smells like garlic fries. Today, ...
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Art Juice: The results of I Am Alive not being on PC


Nov 23
// Jim Sterling
[Every week (until I get bored), Art Juice takes a recent videogame story and provides an unremittingly artistic slant, telling us a little something about ourselves in the process ... whether we want to know the truth or not!] This particular piece of art took me several hours to make.  You can see how deeply it punches your emotions.

Our first look at I Am Alive

Oct 27 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
[embed]212602:41074[/embed] I Am Alive (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade [Previewed])Developer: Ubisoft Shanghai Publisher: UbisoftRelease: Winter 2011 I Am Alive begins with players watching a tape of the nameless protagonist, as he recounts the past year of his journey to get back to his hometown of Haventon and find his family. It was a year ago when "The Event" occurred, which destroyed all forms of technology, rocked the planet with earthquakes and finally enveloped the world with a toxic-like fog. Once the video ends, we find ourselves right on the outskirts of Haventon. The bridge to the city, like most everything else, is in shambles due to all of the earthquakes so you'll see yourself doing a lot of climbing and exploration in order to make your way forward. The big twist to the climbing, and really anything you do, is that all your actions are tied to a stamina bar. At the top center of the screen is a long bar, the first half of which is white and the second half is red. Jumping, running, climbing -- any action other than walking basically -- will drain your bar. The stamina meter does refill once you're standing or walking. The challenge comes into play when you find yourself doing something like climbing for too long. As you're climbing the bridge back into town, you'll run into dead ends which eats into your time. Once the stamina bar is completely drained, you have to repeatedly press a button in order to press on and hope you can make it to a platform and rest before you fall to your death. Once you've past the stamina threshold, your stamina bar won't refill all the way. Instead, you'll have to use items like water or health kits to get your stamina filled back. Next, Stan Mettra, Creative Director on I Am Alive, took us into the city where the poisonous fog that I mention earlier is filling the streets of Haventon. The fog drains your stamina and will eventually kill you if you stay in too long. The only way to escape it is by climbing up buildings to get above the fog. Once on top of buildings, you'll find other survivors and they play a big part in your experience. Everyone is scared for their lives, and most people you encounter will react to your presence by verbally threatening and waving a weapon at you. If you're close to hostile characters, your character will put up his hands attempting to show he means no harm. You have to make sure you don't do anything to scare people like this, as running or even holding a weapon of your own will cause them to attack. Of course, if you don't want to deal with these overly hostile people, you can just kill them. You have to think about how you proceed in the world though. Is using that one valuable bullet on a guy who's really scared worth it? In this case, no, but Stan went ahead and shot him anyway. There's no morality system in play, so doing something like killing an innocent won't have a negative effect, other than wasting that bullet. Another type of person you'll run into are folks in need of help. We ran into one girl who was handcuffed to a chair and was begging you to free her. You know that bullet we wasted? We could have used it to free the girl. Instead, we moved on as there was nothing we could do. Helping people will have rewards around it, such as getting valuable items to help you on your quest or getting someone's perspective on The Event. The Event knocked out all technology, killing mass communication instantly and literally leaving everyone in the dark as to what was going on. People will give you their perspective as to what they witnessed during The Event, allowing you to piece the story together and get a better understanding of it all. Stan then took us to a later level which sees the main hero carrying a little girl on his back now. You're looking for the girl's mom and the search takes you underground to the subway station. People are holding out down here as well, including some really mean characters. Entering one room sees a gang of four guys immediately surround the main character and threaten his life, even with the little girl on his back. The main leader of the pack is pushing you over and over again trying to show that he's a tough guy and eventually he will strike at you with his weapon. Whenever you're face to face with a threatening character, an option for a quick kill comes up. One of the guys in the group has a gun, so Stan backed up into him and then performed a quick kill by slicing his throat open. The three other guys immediately rushed your character but pulling out your gun and aiming it at the group makes them all stop dead in their tracks. They're now at your mercy, and you can either dispose of them or let them be. Stan goes ahead and first kicks a guy into a firepit, thus burning him alive. Then he takes a shot at another guy. The last guy is understandably terrified and on his knees, so Stan simply knocks him out with a punch to the back of his head. Oh, and let's not forget that there's a kid on your back the whole time here. Aiming your gun pulls the camera into a first person view, both to help you aim and, to me at least, make the scene more impactful. Another cool thing in regard to the gun is that you can still flaunt it even without bullets. People will get suspicious and even attack if you're holding the gun too long without firing. There's a melee weapon system as well, but I didn't get a real sense of it beyond the quick kill mentioned earlier. It's obviously hard to gauge just how hard I Am Alive will be since there wasn't any hands-on, but it definitely seems like the game will be really challenging. You really have to think about how you'll handle each situation, as one false move can kill you. What's really interesting is there's actually a continue system much like arcade games of yesteryear. There are Retries that you can get during your quest which can be used to spawn you back to the last place you died. If you don't have any Retries though, you will have to start the level all over again. Ubisoft Shanghai dabbled with the idea of making players restart the entire game if they had no more Retries. Stan told us that "Demon's Souls would have been a joke" in comparison had they gone that route. Lastly, I want to touch on the wonderful art direction. Most of the outside area I saw had a black and white visual ascetic going on, almost like a grainy television channel. There is color, but it's mostly overwhelmed by the dark theme. The underground section, funny enough, had more color than outside but that was largely thanks to a fireplace in the middle of a room casting a red and orange glow. My time with I Am Alive was only about 15 minutes, nowhere near enough time to truly take everything in. What I did get to see was really intriguing and I love the unique approach that's being taken with the exploration, combat and the narrative. Let's just hope that approach doesn't get overplayed or dull as you progress through the story, which I was told will be pretty comparable to the average length of a AAA title.
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It was E3 2008 when Ubisoft released the teaser for I Am Alive. That little video generated a ton of buzz and then the game just kind of vanished. People started to assume the title drifted off into vaporware land but thankfu...

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I Am Alive rated by Australian Classification Board


Aug 23
// David Rayfield
When it rains, it pours. Fresh from the maybe-possibly-real trailer that leaked out, Ubisoft's disaster survival game I Am Alive seems to be gaining traction in the real world and out of the realms of vaporware. The Australia...
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Ubisoft: I Am Alive, Beyond Good & Evil 2 not canceled


May 13
// Jim Sterling
Worried that you'll never see Beyond Good & Evil 2? Slightly concerned that you'll never see I Am Alive? Fear not, my friends, for Ubisoft has confirmed that these games are safe.  Hackles were raised when Ubisoft an...

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