Success!  Months after I bought the game but more importantly months after I began a playthrough I beat Darkwork's and Ubisoft's I Am Alive!  83% complete, 39 deaths, 12 people helped, I stole no resources from the helpless, and a total game time of 7 hours and 20 minutes.  Wait.  What?  Not even 8 hours in the official time log?  

Yes, I played on normal.  I am not hardcore enough to go for a Survival mode playthrough...yet. 

I died, a lot, 39 times exactly.  Some of those deaths sent me into such paroxysms of fury that I turned off the game and was unable to return to the location of my demise for weeks.  I Am Alive is a post apocalypse survival game.  "The Event" left civilizations covered in an ongoing choking dusts that limits the survivors' ability to see the gaping chasms left behind by the earthquakes until nearly falling in.   

Accessorizing in the post apocalypse with air filter masks for everyone!

Survival is often synonymous with frustration because surviving requires inventory management that is more than stockpiling.  Instead survival requires using the correct item at the right time and effectively memorizing a level upon a death in order to progress.  In I Am Alive's gameplay level memorization when death hits is required to prevent burning through restarts that will kick you back to the level's beginning if you run out.

The game does not have a clear beginning, middle, and end but is more of a snippet of one survivor's time in the post apocalypse.  As the credits rolled on my television and I sat dumbfounded that I played the game for less than 8 hours when I had begun playing months ago, I wondered what I learned from the experience.  Games are educational after all and nowadays there is one skill set that nearly all gamers have, a how to guide on surviving the post apocalypse (surviving the apocalypse itself is an entirely other matter). 

Gun is intimidating and scary.  Crossbow eh well, I will rush you anyway.

 The Crossbow Is Not Scary

Most survival games use the premise that our hero is killable.  A gunshot on nearly any body part is debilitating as is true in real life.  However, the gun never has more than a handful of bullets at a time, 5-6 bullets are a veritable bounty, whereas the crossbow is a quiet weapon with retrievable bolts.  The crossbow's problem is that the crossbow is not scary.

In the dire world left behind by "The Event", roving gangs prey on others but thugs are people too.  Pulling out the gun results in a skidded stop by our new friends running towards us with machetes, even when the gun has no bullets (our buddies will in fact figure out that there are no bullets eventually).  However, the crossbow does not instill fear whatsoever.  Our machete wielding friends do not break their stride presumably banking on either a miss or a nonfatal wound either of which leaves their target with a need to reload.  Lesson learned: If you survive the apocalypse and you have a crossbow, make it look scary.

I do not have a water.  Will you take a soda?  

Do Not Be Picky

The citizens of the derelict city are a needy bunch.  Each one wanting alcohol, inhalers (the perennial dust storm is not helping), food or some other basic need met.  However, these individuals want what they want and nothing else.  Hungry?  I have a fruit cocktail but no, all that will suffice is rat meat on a stick.  Really?  Given these two options it is the rat meat that is the delicacy?  How quickly we devolve. The medicine I understand.  A first aid kit will not address your asthma attack.  But I can spare an extra soda and given the world's current situation I would imagine that a soda would be welcome.  I get it, we are all managing our limited inventory space but seriously no one will even pretend to want any of my fruit cocktails but these needy folk sure will grab my painkillers.

Hmm, I will climb that for kicks.  Not much else to do after the world ends. 

Upper Body Strength Is All The Rage

The post apocalypse destroyed our infrastructure.  Buildings are dangerously leaning, bridges are cracked into many pieces, and roads features potholes that requires years of construction (so we must stop complaining about our cities' summer construction schedules).  The solution?  What if all of the survivors worked together to form construction crews in order to eke out an area of the city into a habitable living space?  Not quite.  Instead we all become stellar climbers.  Climbing, dragging one's entire dead body weight up a vertical surface requires quite a bit of upper body strength. 

Luckily when we get tired or out of stamina rehydration salts or a quick soda is available in our knapsack to fuel us on.  But stay hanging from a wall for too long and your health will be permanently damaged until you find items that can restore your health bar.  Just like in real life, except fixing a damaged health bar requires chocolate.

In the post apocalypse, we may not have double jump abilities but we sure can pull ourselves up and over a ledge using only our mighty arm strength.  Maybe my Wii fit trainer would be better able to induce me to turn the device on if she discussed the importance of a strong core in the post apocalypse.    

Melee combat is much less exciting when it is more "realistic" as two struggle for control of the weapon. 

Machete: One Size Fits All

We all know our basic weapon types, ranged and melee.  In the current, non-apocalypse world I am not sure where to buy a machete or even a crossbow if I wanted one.  Are such weapons in the seasonal section in Target?  Apparently everyone knows where the machete store is because after the apocalypse, we all get one like a "welcome to the post apocalypse" gift.  However, in a post apocalypse in which violence is not zombie (or some other mutated monster) on human but human on human the brutality of a melee swing is stopped as both parties fight for control while the other thugs attack from all sides.  The lesson?  Stay hidden, pick off your would be attackers one by one with surprise kills when possible, and most importantly remember that gun (with bullets, a crucial detail) beats machete.    

Luckily these machetes are also an effective Swiss knife doubling as a lock and chain breaker but is bizarrely unable to break handcuffs.  Oh no, handcuffs, with a live person's hand inside require a bullet.  I hope that you are a good aim.  

If the elevator is broken why is everyone using the stairs for storage?

Out Of Order: Elevator

Humanity has built tall buildings called sky scrapers.  These modern marvels are serviced by elevators but without electricity the elevator refuses to go up and down.  The alternative, the stairs are dark and full of blood puddles.  Somehow, electricity supplying generators are scattered in hard to reach areas throughout the skyscraper and its inhabitants are awaiting a suspiciously adept climber to retrieve these items (sometimes an inhaler is needed as well).  Inexplicably the world's inhabitants insistent on living on the floors unreachable except by elevator but none are apparently able to scale the sides of buildings and lug a generator back up.  Did you already complete a ton of upper body strength exercises?  Good because now you need to climb down while lugging a generator.   So take an elevator repair class now and be in demand during the post apocalypse.

Yep, a toilet at head height.  The post apocalypse is full of surprises.  

Luckily us gamers are well prepared for post-apocalyptic survival.  We may not always be the coolest or the hippest kid in the room but when society comes to a standstill we know to raid the pharmacy first, grab ranged and melee weapons, as well as that headshots are the surest way to take out any enemy types.   

Many thanks to everyone who stopped by to read and here is hoping that all are having time for long game play sessions during these summer days.  Also, congratulations to all bloggers hereabouts, new and old, for posting quality content during these summer months.  

Have you played I Am Alive?  How long did it take you to beat the game?

What is your favorite survival game?

What is your foremost post apocalypse survival tip?                    

What would you nickname your crossbow to instill feat in your enemies?