Alan Wake the long awaited XBox 360 exclusive by Remedy, was finally released last months, the game has received a generally positive reception among critics and players (except perhaps Eurogamers Elle Gibsons Review, who is a f*cking retard in my view), anyway I have finished it so I can finally get around to throwing my opinion out there.
I thought the graphics were really excellent, the lighting effects in particular were really good, some scenes were absolutely stunning, much of the game is set at night and in the woods, but it all works well with a real feeling of time and place as you navigate around creepy bright falls.
The game is cleverly split up into chapters, like a TV show, after each chapter the credits roll and some cool Twin peaks type music plays, then the next chapter begins with a “previously on Alan Wake” Lost type summary which I thought was very cool.
The core mechanics is as follows, you travel from check point to checkpoint (these are light source where you are safe), along the way the fallen attack you (zombies), you must shine a flash light at them to remove the darkness (shields) and then you can head shot them or whatever, I thought this was very fresh and fun and it allowed for some clever play where for example you can use a flash bang as a grenade effect, or by turning on concert strobe lights this would protect you from hordes of mobs.
I loved the game-play, and it was always fun, the pacing was great also with a nice mix of simple puzzles, or perhaps just listening to the radio or watching the in game TV show, you were never in a position when you died and had to restart far behind at an older check point.
This is where the game really shines, the story and mood of the game are outstanding, during the game notes from a manuscript are littered around foretelling what will happen in the world, hinting that Alan Wake wrote the story during his missing week time. Alan is constantly searching for his wife and being pursued be the darknes, what is the darkness?, all these questions are revealed in the game, and enhanced by the radio stations and in game TV show which reveals more of the background.
Creepy and simply outstanding, with a great cast of supporting characters .
Sound / Music
As already mentioned they are excellent and add tremendously to the mood of the game (As they should)
I give this game a 4.5 out of 5, its one of my favourite games this year so far, buy it now you wont regret it, (unless you don’t like interesting stories with a great, fun light / dark play mechanic, ie you are a heartless bastard).
Note: Im knocking off half a point, because there was one too many “oh the lights are off and you must find the generator to switch them on again” puzzle, also the ending was a bit easy (even for me)
What the others are saying
A brilliantly told story, excellent voice acting, and an atmosphere so unnerving you’ll sleep with the lights on for a month. If only it came with a bottle of instant amnesia so that you could play it for the first time more than once.
Ultimately, Alan Wake is driven — as is any good story — by the impulse to see what happens next. It offers up a believable world, characters worth caring about, enjoyable combat and a narrative I wanted to follow.
When presented with an infinite number of possible resolutions, any answer is going to feel arbitrary. Alan Wake starts strong but finishes weak; neither the gameplay nor the story deliver on their potential by the time the credits roll.
Alan Wake is an accessible, undemanding game with a neat combat mechanic and decent visuals. It’s just not a very original game, it’s certainly not an exceptional one, and it’s a shame it wasn’t ready a few years ago.
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