Monday, July 30, 2012

Survival Video Game: I am Alive

I saw a review for this videogame some time ago and it immediately caught my attention given that its promoted as a “survival” video game. Often enough so called survival videogames are as unrealistic as you would expect but in this case I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was it fun to play which is the point of it all, but besides that it soon became clear that a lot of thought had been put into the game.
So as to provide a more thorough review, this humble servant kicked his two kids out of the game console and tortured himself playing until 5AM. :-)
The game?
The world has been left in ruins after a series of earthquakes. You start alone, at the edge of a destroyed city where you hope to find your wife and daughter alive. It took you almost a year to return from a trip that you did in a 4 hour flight before the event. As you stand there trying to figure out how you will cross the collapsed bridge into the city a quick assessment of yourself gives you little hope. Though in good physical shape, you look dirty and all you have left is a can of food… and a gun… with no ammo.
Yes, it is a videogame of course, but the execution is very well done in terms of what your priorities are and how you deal with problems.
What do you do if an angry person turns a gun on you and threatens to shoot you? You leave of course! And that’s exactly how it works in this game. When a man with a machete ambushes you, just pointing the gun at him makes him think twice. Of course you’re bluffing because you don’t have any ammo, but it works. You can then just keep walking away while keeping him at gunpoint, he may surrender and throw his knife or you can hit him over the heat with the gun when kneeling. Some other times they may call your bluff and things get ugly. Later when you get a machete, you see that its more effective when used in surprise attacks at close distance. Through out the game you rarely have more than one or two rounds in your gun, and as in real life people tend to leave you alone when you point at them with a gun. This I haven’t seen as well implemented in any other game.
Through the game just like in real life, you´ll need food. You find canned food, water and very rarely fresh meat and vegetables. While the character you play can jump and climb like only a pro climber would, he also gets tired and loses stamina. You cant just hang there on the edge of a building. After a few second you get tired and fall so you have to hurry. You also use pitons to assist you when climbing through the rubble. You’ll be asked to search a radio, signal for help and get medicines to help others. During sandstorms a respirator mask proves to be very valuable.
The other survivors are well addressed too. Some just want to be left alone, some need your help, others want to steal from you or kill you and some cant take it and just end their misery.
The game is only available through the xbox marketplace, so you’ll need to buy a few points in a store to buy and download it. I suppose it could have been done better in certain aspects, but for someone interested in survival and preparedness its an enjoyable game to play for a few hours and relax.
Interested but never tried playing one before? Ask your kids or nephews for some help. Hey, it sure beats watching the London Olympics! :-)

1 comment:

Mike Wilson said...

There are some interesting survival and human nature issues reflected in the game DayZ (Arma2 mod). You start out with little gear--no weapons or food--and have to scavenge with all the other have-nothings. But you learn quickly that many will kill you and take your stuff. Most of the rest will kill you since you might kill them. Yet there's, initially, an odd guilt about killing someone preemptively that doesn't seem to come up in other games.

And there are zombies.