I spent four hours on I Am Alive, and the game is breaking my damn heart. It's not the story, I haven't found one of those yet. It's the volumes of wasted potential. It's like the developers would brush up against something awesome, and immediately pulled back.
The designated climbing areas are the biggest sin. You can't just explore anywhere, there are very specific areas that you're allowed to platform. To make it more upsetting, they sometimes use art assets from places you can climb in places you can't. So when I see a metal bar sticking out, I hit the controller to take me there, and nothing happens. Meanwhile my stamina bar is almost empty, and I'm screwed if I don't end the climb in seconds.
If it had been open world, I could at least enjoy climbing around exploring, but alas, that's not the case. You walk around on the streets (usually choking on dust, draining your stamina) looking for pipes that you can use to climb to the roof of a building. That's it. Walk around looking for stuff that you'll probably use up trying to get to different stuff.
Also, as far as I can tell, rescuing people only gets you a retry, and some hint about the game itself. You can't horde the retries, either. If you know you're at a save point and you die, they force you to use the retry instead of letting you load the save, even though both are going to take you to the exact same area.
The combat is repetitive. You stand there, waiting for them to walk up on you with a machete, then you slit one dude's throat, and point your gun at the other. This is one of the cool aspects, as the AI will become intimidated by your gun and back off. But, of course, they had to mess that up also. After twenty or thirty seconds, the AI will just magically know that your gun doesn't have any bullets in it and charge you. There's also zero chance that you can survive a three-on-one encounter. So if you don't do something in those twenty or thirty seconds, you might as well reload. Oh, and if you engage in a struggle kill with one AI, the other AI's will come up and knife you to death from behind before you can finish killing the first guy, so don't bother.
If it was me, I'd have made it so you could sneak to avoid combat scenarios. In a survival situation, I imagine I'd be much more likely to run and hide than risk injury taking on three guys at once. Then, to facilitate the emphasis against combat, I'd have made it so you could climb anywhere. Thus the heart of the game would focus on climbing to avoid enemies and find resource. As for the resources, it would be more about searching through buildings, not walking the streets looking for a glowing object in the back of an alley. I would keep the intimidation by pistols, but dump the QTE combat, if you had to fight, you better hit and run.
It just could have been so awesome, and instead, it's lame. I haven't been this disappointed since Brink.