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Reaper's Corner is Alive

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[COLOR=#add8e6]no, this isn't a review for WA. it is, instead, a review for a similarly named game: I Am Alive. i heard about this game some time ago as a concept, but i haven't heard anything else about it. i didn't even know it had been released. but i was surfing the playstation store and i saw a banner for this and thought, "hey, i remember reading about that." so i picked it up (well it's dl only so, you know what i mean) and checked it out, and i must say, the apocalypse has never seemed so realistic.


k, so, let's start with some background. at the time the story takes place a year has passed since some worldwide cataclysmic event *cou2012gh*. you aren't told what the event was, but you can pretty much guess from the devestation that it was some kind of massive tectonic shift. like everything suddenly moved to the left about a foot and a half. the story is told through a video camera that the main character, adam, found and brought with him. he chronicles his journey through the destroyed city of haventon as he searches for his wife and daughter, julie and mary respectively. of course, a destroyed city would not be easy to traverse, and so you find yourself climbing ladders, poles, ledges, rubble, swinging precariously over the void, and on occasion, dangling precipitously by one hand.


are we having fun yet? so, you run around in third person interacting with stuff and people. you have a gun, but no ammo, but hey, that's really not that big a deal because they don't know that. when i say they, i of course mean the myriad of people who will try to kill you for the few scraps of jerky, soda, and breath mint you have in your pocket. as i played this game i found myself coming back to we're alive over and over again. i think of the mallers, who's sole goal is to look out for number one, and i see them every where. your first encounter is with an old man with a gun. draw down and you're dead since you don't have bullets, and he apparently does. (-1 retry) which reminds me, you have a certain number of retries, you start off with three and you can gain more by finding them, or giving supplies to people, where applicable. i would suggest grabbing all the retries you can since, as i have demonstrated above, you may find yourself in dire need of them if you do not proceed with the utmost caution. moving on, the first encounter you actually have a chance at winning (and can't loose unless you happen to be having an extra slow day) is with some thug with a machete who comes out and threatens you, and demands everything you have. but you don't have any bullets remember? WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! (screen shakes as i yell) well, fortunately for you, the name of the game isn't brute force, it's i-can-bluff-and-position-myself-so-that-i-can-beat-you-with-the-threat-of-force. so you draw and point an empty weapon at your enemy and order him to back up towards the ledge.

possible WA spoiler here
[spoiler]i can't help but think of scratch pulling an empty gun on lizzy and ordering her back. i think there are some differences here, but i don't want this to become a who-did-what argument, so i'll leave well enough alone.[/spoiler]

it's also about maneuvering. here is a quick list of enemies you will face: melee, ranged, heavy. the first two are obvious but the last one is armored. so here's a couple scenarios i found myself in: 1) two ranged, two melee. so one gunman approaches me and pushes at me to intimidate me, while the other gunman flanked by the two thugs are about fifteen feet away. so i do a surprise kill on the first gunman, quick braw the second and put a hole in him, and take care of the other two at my leisure. i cannot tell you how much i felt like raylan givens doing that. all i needed was a cowboy hat. scenario 2) same enemies. this time though it's a melee that approaches. well if you surprise kill the melee, you can quick draw and pop one gunman, but you only have one bullet. you have two bullets, but the second gunman would get off a shot before you could dispatch him. either way it's bad news for you. so you have to continually put distance between you and the thug, all the while working your way towards a gunman. find enclosed a raylan givens moment. scenario 3) one heavy, one ranged, one or more melee. the heavy will always be the one to approach, but you can't quick kill them. so you work your way to a gunman, but you can't just shoot at the heavy, as the armor will stop the rounds, you have to go into precision aim mode and put one in his head. no easy task when he's closing in on you. combat is all about strategy, not brute force. if you go into an encounter guns blazin you will be trying it again.


so, combat is just one aspect, you also have to get around, but to traverse the city safely, you have to watch your stamina bar. the stamina bar means that you can only climb so long before you weaken and fall into the depths of the city. to help with this, you will find scattered around items that restore stamina. from inhalers, to fruit cocktail, there are all manner of things that will aid you in stamina recovery. you will also find pitons, which you can place in a wall while climbing to give you rest and restore your stamina. running also absorbs stamina, as does heavy physical activity (ie breaking through chains, lifting security gates, etc). there are also several segments of gameplay where you will have to walk around in the dust cloud covering the low sections of the city. as you stand in the dust you will see your stamina decrease and if it runs out you die.


when i think of survivng the apocalypse, this is kind of where i go, something like this. scarce resources, hostile forces, precarious travel arrangements, the whole shebang. the game isn't very long, but for a $15 downloadable title, i am rather satisfied with it. plus i find a lot of replayability here. it was genuine fun traveling through the city of haventon, dispatching thugs along the way and helping those in need. so what's next? fire it up and do it again, better this time. i am alive, are you? 8/10

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