Why Dad Will Leap Off the Couch for I Am Alive (GeekDad Weekly Rewind)

Geek Culture


Image: courtesy Ubisoft

I Am Alive has a familiar storyline with a fantastic setting of a post-apocalyptic world in the dismal aftermath of a calamitous “event.” The greatest challenge our protagonist faces is finding his wife and daughter, who are lost in this dystopic, monochromatic expanse of rubble, tangled metal structures and toxic fog. The plot is advanced via cut-scenes taken from the protagonist’s video camera, and replayed on the LCD monitor.

The game’s environment renders a palate of stark blacks, greys, browns and reds that sets an emotional tone of desperation and loneliness. What is immediately apparent is how effective the onscreen tutorials are. One of my biggest problems with games is how non-intuitive and needlessly cumbersome tutorials can be in video games. I Am Alive‘s tutorials (and the hints during game-play) are direct and easy to follow, so you can carry on climbing, running, opening gates and smacking thugs in the head.

One innovation in the game mechanics that Ubisoft has introduced is the limiting of “retries” in the game (the chance to redo your last actions in the game) and putting these retrials partially in the hands of the player. Completing a chapter in the game will give you three retries. For even more chances to redo your actions after you die in the game, you have to pick up as many “retries” as you can in the form of glowing shapes hidden within the structures of buildings. Once you grab them, you will have the ability to reattempt the game action from your last checkpoint. I like the feeling that I can control (to a greater extent anyway) how many times I’m able to try a sequence in the game again, as opposed to just being handed a silver spoon of redos without limits.

This article, by Michael Venables, was originally published Wednesday, March 7. Click here to continue reading the rest of the article, and please leave any comments you have on the original post.

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