A User Review of Life - Cru Hunter Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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A User Review of Life

I'm into gaming. I follow the games, their developers, the industry, and have even bought plenty of tickets to the multiple gaming press conferences around the globe. Recently though, people keep on saying the same phrase over and over:

"Get a life."

But is "Life" really worth your $60? Keep reading to find out.

I'd never heard of Life before. Which is strange. I pride myself in knowing about everything in the gaming world: every game character, console, and controversy ever. So, naturally, not even hearing of something called "Life" bugged the crap out of me.

So I went out, got myself a copy, tried it out for a bit, and here's the resulting review.

What is Life? Is it a first-person shooter? An RPG? MMO? Heck, maybe it uses some crappy motion-gaming peripheral. After experiencing the game for myself, I think it's safe to say that Life falls within the FPS/MMORPG category. The player is always in first-person mode, and there's no third-person mode, unless you take some kind of narcotic called LSD or Acid, which were both really hard to find in the in-game world.

The game's MMO setting is pretty cool, and it's incredibly in-depth. The responses from NPCs are incredibly varied, and I have yet to hear, see, or experience repetitive dialogue or actions from them. I don't know how the developers managed it, but I honestly challenge anyone out there to find two look-alike NPCs while walking down a street.

Speaking of developers, I'm not sure who developed Life. The publisher is also in the air. If I ask the NPCs themselves, some people say that "God" developed and published the game in 7 days. And I thought Activision's stance on year-by-year game releases was rushing it. Other NPCs claim the game built itself via "Science" and "Evolution." Psh, yeah right. You can't create a game without a publisher and developer...right? If games could develop and publish themselves over time, imagine what this means for gaming! Publishers and developers are out of a job, and all gamers have to do is sit back and wait for games to make themselves! Although, the problem with the whole "waiting" thing is that these "Life" games take forever to build on their own. And I mean forever, like, 14 billion years. Half Life 3 could *maybe* be developed during that time!

Anywho, back to the gameplay. Yup, Life is a pretty awesome mix of FPS and MMORPG. The prevalence of choice is everywhere. Players, and even NPCs, can decide their own path in Life. Some paths are harder to access, like the "Fame" pathway, which requires ridiculous amounts of in-game currency and luck to even get a peek at Fame. As far as I can tell in my brief playthrough, the Fame pathway is more easily accessed if the player happens to start Life with connections who are already Famous.

Other pathways the player can choose include, but are not limited to, "Pursuit of Happiness," "Meh, Whatever," and"Just Wing It." Multiple pathways can be walked at the same time. For example, some players could choose both the "Pursuit of Happiness" and the "Philanthropy" pathways at the same time. Pathways can be changed at any time, but some pathways are harder to get off of, like the "Addiction to Drugs" pathway.

Gameplay in the game is surreal, and I'll talk about the graphics later. Life seems infinite; there is no limit for what the player could do. Want to steal a car? Go for it, if you've been walking down the "Criminal" pathway. If you get caught, though, you may go to jail. Be sure you have the "Get a Good Lawyer" and "Never Drops the Soap" perks activated. Committing crimes, like killing civilians or theft, result in various punishments if you're caught. As far as I can tell, Life only gives the player one chance to get the most out of the game before it locks out upon player-death. Therefore, I didn't try to commit crimes. Want to go for a career in the Politics pathway? Have fun: you can "Go to School" and use your "Wealth of Words" to great affect. I found that being a Politician was easy when I turned the "Always Take Bribes" option on in the Options menu.

Also, I found that coop was...interesting. There are various relationships the player can take with NPCs. Getting a girlfriend/boyfriend in Life can be significantly harder than in, say, Mass Effect. Conversation options didn't appear in my playthrough when I was attempting to flirt with a girl in a cafe, and so I opted to go lone-wolf and sipped my coffee in silence. I've heard you can get married, and go through the rest of Life as coop partners. I'm sure you could even go four-player, but the society my character lived in looks down on such actions.

The graphics in Life are also pretty amazing. I'm not sure what hardware Life runs on, but it's pretty cool. The game has the best physics engine I've seen in a long time. In nostalgia for Halo 2, I went out of my purchased home and tried to find "superjump" locations on the sidewalk. No, I didn't find one, and my neighbors ended up staring at me. No matter how close I looked at something, I couldn't see pixelation. Shadows react realistically, and fish move out of your way when underwater (a-la Call of Duty: Ghosts).

Story-driven gamers may be polarized by Life. Life's incredibly open-ended, especially when your character reaches legal adulthood. Some may find this open-endedness very intimidating, while others may revel in it. Life has no forseeable "climax" or "end" before player-death locks you out forever. Player choice is paramount, and most of the time, if you're born in a country like America, multiple positions are open to you after the required amount of education.

Music is also a subtle aspect of Life. Ipods are great, and millions of songs and sounds are available. However, I do caution about some questionable "popular music," songs chosen by NPCs and other players in this MMORPGFPS. Some songs that become "Popular Music" have no appeal what so ever. Don't listen to NPCs like Justin Bieber or Brittany Spears, as excessive listening sessions may cause hearing loss or ear drum implosion.

Life can suck though. Like all games, Life isn't perfect: for example, sickness may wreak havoc on your character and render him/her immobile for months, or even years. NPCs, and even other players, that you thought were friends or even lovers may leave you hanging in extremely emotionally painful ways. Depending on when, where, and how your character is Birthed at the beginning of your playthrough, Life comes with some inherent problems, or pluses. For example, some characters are born into wealth, thus the aforementioned "Fame" or "Politics" pathways will be easily accessed; those not born into wealth will find those trees much harder to access.

The biggest, most controversial, but strangely-invigorating caveat to the game Life is the fact that there are no respawns. No do-overs. No checkpoints. If you mess up, you have to live with the repercussions. And, upon player-death, you can never play Life again. Unless you buy the DLC "Afterlife" packs advertised by multiple in-game religions. Time will tell if those DLC packs are just cash-grabs.

Anywho, that's my review of Life. My verdict? Life is possibly one of my favorite games around, and I'm glad I've been able to play it so far. The graphics are amazing, the plot is incredibly open-ended and choice-dependent, most characters have an incredible background and script (others, like my workplace boss, I'm not so sure), and the gameplay is very immersive. I'd recommend Life to everyone, and it's possibly the best game of all time. It really just depends on how you play it.

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