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DescriptionI Am Alive is a post-apocalyptic survival game. It stars an anonymous male protagonist one year after an unspecified cataclysmic event with a worldwide reach that wiped out most of human civilization and left the remaining cities in ruins. It is set in the fictional American city of Haventon. Much of the story is revealed through self-recorded video journals that are shown as cut-scenes between objectives. Further clues as well as different bonuses can be acquired by helping twenty survivors scattered throughout the city.
The player guides the protagonist through a desolate urban environment filled with hazards and obstacles as he searches for his wife and kids. A part of the game is also spent helping Mei, a small girl that the character has to reunite with her mother. During exploration the game is played from a third-person perspective and the character can run, jump, swing from pipes or using a grappling hook, slide, balance while crossing short makeshift bridges, and climb. Much of the city is caught in a giant dust cloud that can drain stamina, even to the state of death. The player has access to an inventory where items, batteries, meds, equipment, and weapons can be stored. Both ammo and health kits are scarce and the player is encouraged to preserve as much as possible. Most of the enemies are thugs that roam the streets to gain the upper hand in the environment.
When using a ranged weapon such as a gun, the game switches to a first-person perspective. A part of the gameplay is centered around a bluffing system, in tie with the scarce ammo. The character can aim his gun at an opponent to scare him off and get further away. At a distance, it is then possible to switch to a bow and take the enemy out after all while preserving ammo, as arrows can be reused. Another way is through melee combat using a knife for instance. Many enemies only have close combat weapons but outnumber the player, so by quickly switching between a knife, and pulling the gun to scare them off, ammo can be preserved while killing the opponents off one by one while the others are momentarily kept away because of the pulled gun. There are also skirmishes with melee weapons where different characters are in a standoff. The player then has to press a button repeatedly to push the opponent away.
There are two difficulty modes. In Normal the player gets five retries with each save point before the entire level has to be restarted. The second one is called Survivor and offers no retries with save points. There are also less resources and ammo.
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DevelopmentThe game was first unveiled in 2008 as a retail title by the French development studio Darkworks. In March 2009 it was announced that Ubisoft had taken it out of their hands to have Shanghai UBI Computer Software Co., Ltd. finish it. It was eventually released as a downloadable Ubisoft game in March 2012. Darkworks already went out of business the year before, but the team is still fully credited for original development. The credits also suggest that multiplayer was considered, as it lists people working on the Rendez-Vous multiplayer technology and specifically mentions the product contains multiplayer connectivity provided through Quazal Technologies software. During development Ubisoft also posted a job title for the game, looking for a lead multiplayer designer.
The EventThe precise nature of the apocalyptic disaster called "The Event" is never specified. However, there are various important indicators in terms of circumstantial evidence about what has happened.
These are obviously shown to include: catastrophic earthquakes affecting the whole world or very large regions of it and lasting for days or longer, extremely rapid and near-total failure of societal infrastructure in less than a year, a colossal increase in atmospheric dust, and poor reception with surviving radio systems. All this taken together raises the strong possibility that "the Event" was a disastrous impact with an asteroid at least one kilometer in diameter. If one supposes that the asteroid struck the deep ocean, then because so much seawater would be vaporized, the dissolved solids that had once been part of the the seawater would be likely to cause serious damage to the ozone layer, causing solar radiation damage and drowning out most manmade radio signals for many years. (citation)
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