* Prices may differ from that shown
Finally the makers of Max Payne 1 and 2 have returned.Their latest game Alan Wake hasn't made as big an impact as Max Payne yet but the franchise has a lot of potential. Right off the bat you will notice Alan Wake's story is well written.
I can't remember the last time a video game's story was told like Alan Wake. The atmosphere and graphics of the game just add to the experience. I can't go any further without mentioning the lighting system. It's one of the best lighting systems I have seen in a video game. Not to mention the combat system is based on the use of light. Although the story of the game is told well there is something that takes away from the cutscenes/storytelling. That is lip syncing. A lot of games don't have good lip syncing but in Alan Wake in just has an odd look to it. Some gameplay mechanics aren't very good as well.
Such as jumping. It's good for clearing gaps but when it comes to jumping over something it is a little annoying and the animation doesn't look right even though the animations in every other aspect of the game is done very well. What more can you ask for from a game? There is a well written story plus good gameplay (with a little errors) and amazing looking graphics.
This could possibly lead to one of the best franchises ever and I have high hopes that Remedy can strike gold with it if they put in the effort. I wouldn't say it is a must own but it is a should own game if you like great stories.
Alan Wake is a thoroughly atmospheric and nightmarish role planning game, likely to suck you into what is a very good storyline and leave you biting off all of your nails.
First off it is a cross between a horror and a thriller film, it is very cinematic, including allot of cutscenes that get you pulled into the storyline and make you want to know every little facet of the plot.
You play the character of Alan Wake , a previously successful writer of horrors and thriller novels, much like Stephen King, and now he is having a creative block. His wife suggests they visit a tranquil new England town in the hope of relaxing in order to be able to start writing again. The storyline is split into 5 episodes , with episode one setting the pace (as it is esentially a nightmare- but is it a prequel of things to come ?) As the episodes plod through the story becomes more and more complex and there are many questions to which answers need to be found. In this way it is also like some american drama series. The story revolves around
Alans waking nughtmare, his yet unwritten, but subconciously known novel and lots and lots of running - the game essentially has you wondering whether it is all a nightmare, or is it all real, or are you actually playing through Alans book in his mind whilst he is awake and typing it ?
This game is a good one for film fans and those who like 'lost in the woods' stories. I like it because unlike other role playing games you dont have to keep talking to hundrds of characters about inane things, there is a little of this but not much. Mostly you are running, jumping, moving through forests, alpine lodges, loggin sites etc and solving physical problems to get from point A and point B. All the time you are pursued by the 'darkness' a sort of black tornado and the 'taken' - members of the logging community wielding chainsaws and axes that can be repulsed but not entirely destroyed and keep coming back again and again....like any nightmare.
Along the way you meet towns folk, people looking to help you who are either obvious to the darkness or those that can also see it. These people sometimes get taken and themselves become the manifestation of the darkness. Your weapons are minimal- handguns and shotguns, the amuntion is low - you need to ration it, you main 'gun' is a flashlight or flares, used to repulse the taken and strip them of the protection the darkness gives them, you can then plug those mothers !
The town and surrrounding woods provide a massive playground and the graphics are impressive and provide an eerie backdrop that makes you see shadows in the trees.
The soundtrack is likewise suitably scary and has you in a real panic when things get hairy. You also have songs on the radio by Poets of the fall, one of my favourite bands, who in homage to their contribution made their music video for their song 'War' in the style of Alan Wake, with all the band members playing the 'Taken'-- very good.
There are only a few annoyances - the game I think is a bit too long, there are long tracts where you are running for too long, looking around in the dark, or fighting off the taken for too long. There is some inane chatter on the radios you pass, but this isnt too bad as you can continue to play the game anyway. My main critisism is that as the game is developed a bit less then perfect, the graphics are slightly rudimentary compared to more modern games and sometimes the programming has 'holes' in it...that is you could be trapped between a rock and a crane and then get swipped off a mountain side too easily without being able to jump up off it or save yourself, and when you fall you fall standing up in the previous position, you dont actaully fall....it just reeks of rush.
Other than that, this game would be a great passtime for those interested in playing something plot based, not focused on guns blazing every second and where you dont mind getting the bejesus scared out of you every now and then.
This game is great.
If you like games with a good story and don't mind being scared a bit (or a lot in my case) then try it out. I loved playing this game at night with the lights out, it really adds to the game.
The only real "problem" I have with the game is that the story is very linear and each level doesn't bring much new to the game. You'll be walking around a load of trees and then the music will kick in and shadowy figures will slowly come at you again and again and again. To kill these shadows you need to use your flashlight on them and then shoot them after they've been burned/illuminated(?). When you run out of batteries for your flashlight is when you will really feel an adrenaline rush as you leg it to find more batteries or a safe spot before the shadows get you.
I would say this game is pretty close to Max Payne in style and gameplay which makes sense as it was made by the same studio. I hope they make a film out of Alan Wake too because Mark Wahlberg did such an awesome job with Max Payne that it was one of the greatest comedy films I've ever seen.
Other than that, I really enjoyed the game and I hope you do too.
So this unique title from Remedy was some time in the making... hell, it took 5 years from announcement to release! Consistently promised during its development though was a story-driven thriller with the most stunning graphics yet produced for the Xbox - promises I think this game fulfills.
Coming off the back of FPS after FPS, Alan Wake was a refreshing diversion for me. From the first cutscene and player interaction, I knew it was going to be a different experience. One of the first things that struck me was the graphics - this is an absolutely beautiful game and no mistake. Even on my less-than-perfect 720p TV, the scenery is often breathtaking. You can tell that a lot of care went into the game design - my only criticism being that the lip-sinking is often a little haphazard - but the Finnish developers can be forgiven for that! Other than that, the lighting, character design, kinetics and camera motion are nearly flawless. No sign of glitching either, it is such a breeze that you will often forget you're playing a game. The town of Bright Falls and its environs are very realistic and help to create an atmosphere as tense as Silent Hill and early Resident Evil games, complementing well the excellent soundtrack and voice acting. All-in-all this game will have you consistently on the edge of your seat, particularly if you play it in the dark on your own (which I would recommend, if you're not a nancy!).
Nowadays the story seems less and less important in new release titles. However, Alan Wake is centred around the story it tells. The game is even split into chapters, each with a prologue, dedicated mission and a variety of supplements to help weave the tale (from quirky TV shows to collectible manuscripts). Though it is at times hard to keep up and the ending (without spoiling it) is a little confusing, the events throughout the game are compelling and you are constantly wondering what will happen next, and caring how the story is unfolding. It is just like reading a book (and i'm not being facetious - which you may suspect once you understand the plot of the game!).
The gameplay itself is also excellent. Sometimes the camera angle can be a little frustrating (especially when a massive shrub completely blocks your view!) and Alan can be a little slow at times (tiring out quickly and often lacking in agility), but he's a writer, not a navy seal! In fact, I like that his character is vulnerable, it makes the whole thing more believable. I also love the use of the torch - which is central to the combat. You basically use it to dispel the 'armour of darkness' enveloping each enemy, subsequently rendering them vulnerable to one of your numerous ballistic weapons (which are great fun to use). It adds an element of tactical play, deciding how best to use your torch and weapons in combination with a horde of creepy monsters approaching you. Just don't let the batteries run out, or you're screwed!
Overall I loved Alan Wake - it was so different to all the other FPS clones game studios seem to pump out these days. It is a single player game with a gripping story, beautiful graphics and effective gameplay mechanics to boot. There was very little that disappointed me about the game, but for the fact it was rather short. That does, however, depend on how fastidious and meticulous you are with collectibles and story saturation, but the game is pretty linear and you will find yourself flying through the chapters. Other than that and some other little niggles, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I love novels and films based on the novels of Stephen King. I guess you can understand why I almost fainted when I discovered the release of Stephen King-influenced video game 'Alan Wake'. At its release, they decided that they would no longer release a PC version, prohibiting my playing of the game for some time. I was, understandably, annoyed. I now have an Xbox 360 though, and I can assure you it's one of the best psychological action games I've ever played.
Alan Wake is a writer: he's a writer that has gone on a vacation to Bright Falls, a small village where many people know him and highly appreciate his work. Alan wanted a break from writing, as he had been suffering from severe 'writers-block' (a condition where writers cannot think of what to write about), and therefore vacationed to Bright Falls with his wife, Alice, whom is terrified of darkness.
When Alice reveals that she was going to try and make him attempt to write on his vacation, Alan is enraged, and runs outside, into the darkness, leaving his wife Alice in the house. Then the lights go out. Alan runs back to the house and to his disbelief he sees his wife fall out of the window and into the water, he dives in after her.
The next thing he remembers is sitting at the steering wheel of a car, blood running down the side of his face a week after the incident. There is a darkness taking over the world, and that darkness has taken Alice. Alan slowly realises that events are based on a book he does not remember writing, and realises that the only way to save Alice is to find the scattered pieces of his own writing to help him determine what had happened.
As a character from his own book, Alan must fight through enemies possessed by 'The Darkness' in order to survive and find his wife. He has no idea how difficult that could be, as enemies are invincible until weakened by light.
Much like 'Heavy Rain', a cinematic game exclusive to the PlayStation 3, this game focuses a lot of its cut scenes. In between the actual gameplay, it presents occurrences in a movie-like fashion.
However, when these cut scenes are not happening, Alan Wake is a third-person action game, meaning you view and control the protagonist as if you are a camera slightly above them (although you can rotate the camera around the body of Alan, should you feel the need.
To kill the enemies, you must shine your light on them, making them weaker and killable with usual weapons. The torch does wear down batteries however, especially when it is on the concentrated light mode, which is the most effective to weakening enemies. Weapons are also desperately short, if you miss a few shots; it's very likely that you will end up being killed by the Dark Ones in the end.
The gameplay is also very easy to pick up, as the controls do not differ from other games of a similar genre. Interactivity often feels fluent and natural and the feeling of running away, coupled with the vibration of the controller, is unmistakably tense.
In addition to a well thought out story, a great list of characters, the gameplay in Alan Wake really makes it the excellent game that it is.
Alan Wake - A bestselling writer of books, particularly those of the thriller/horror genre. Alan is a man whose marriage is in danger. His wife, Alice, urges him to go to leave New York City to come to Bright Falls (in the Northwest Woods) for a much needed vacation.
Alice Wake - Alan's wife, an accomplished, beautiful photographer. She is completely devoted to her husband, and has accompanied him on his trip to Bright Falls. She has, however, a profound terror of the darkness.
Barry Wheeler - Alan Wake's friend and literary agent. Metaphorically allergic to dust, grass, pollen and small towns, Barry is completely out of place when he arrives at Bright Falls, but he travelled without hesitation when Alan had not answered his mobile phone in over a week.
Sarah Breaker - Chief law enforcement officer in Bright Falls. Breaker is a smart and authoritative young woman who doesn't take no for an answer. Breaker doesn't care that Alan is a celebrity, and she will stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Alan Wake is, admittedly, a pretty game, especially for a console gaming system. Its unique use of dynamic shadowing sets the atmosphere of the game very well, and believable depth of field effects (essentially camera focusing) give the game a very cinematic feel.
The graphics are as dark as a horror movie, and the game tries not to be too revealing. There is very little blood that can be seen, perhaps to make it more believable or frightening, as fountains of blood is hardly the scariest thing in the world, as proved by F.E.A.R, which I have also been playing recently.
The textures and use of motion blur are good too. The textures just make the game seem awfully crisp and the motion blur gives the game a sense of urgency. I wouldn't have expected less, since Remedy had also produced the Max Payne game series, which also imploded my mind when it came to graphics when it was released many years ago.
The people infected with Darkness sound genuinely frightening.
I just thought I would drop that in there. One of the best things about this game is the sound. The atmospheric music, the sounds of the characters, especially since video games generally have awful voice acting, is all there. Usually this is where I would shun the protagonists voice acting talent, but in Alan Wake, the worst part of voice acting was perhaps when some of the words were a little rushed, nothing more and nothing less.
This game is unlikely to have been the same without the booming ambience that follows Alan's story of survival, and the character of Alan Wake himself was unlikely to have been as personalised as he was without the voice actor that he had. The sound in this game was truly staggering, especially considering that most video game voice acting sounds a bit like a choking walrus. Bad simile? Yes, yes it was.
==Value for Money==
Alan Wake, seen as I bought it for a whole £10 (I could buy approximately 9 ice creams or 8 boxes of chips for that amount) is surprisingly good value for money. It's a good length and each level reeks of quality and good design, which is more than I could say for many games of similar genre. To add to the longevity of the game there is also a bunch of Achievements to add 'Gamerscore' to your 'Gamertag'. A system that I see as kind of pointless, but in the end it has you replaying the game a further time just so you can be ten imaginary number points higher than your friend.
There is a distinct lack of multiplayer in this game though, but I presume it to be with good reason because I cannot think of a way of shining lights at each other over the internet to be made that much fun. Perhaps some cooperative mode, but adding extra players would have destroyed the games feel, as fear tends to come from the feeling of vulnerability and isolation, and adding three drooling, laughing 'buddies' that you only just met on the internet would kind of defeat the purpose.
So all in all, the longevity and value for money on this game is good, and even though there is a lack of multiplayer features and perhaps other features that I don't really take notice of, I am assured that Remedy didn't include them to make one element of the game really good (which they did) instead of making several elements that are all surprisingly pants (which they didn't).
Now Alan Wake is a horror game, and we all know what horror as a genre is like don't we (ominous cheering goes here). So here's a rundown of the content that you will find in Alan Wake
'''Violence''' - Don't lie to me, this wasn't a shock. There is a fair amount of violence in Alan Wake, but interestingly it's not very intense violence.
- When characters are killed, specifically characters taken over by the darkness, they fall and disappear. There is very little or no blood (the game is too dark to see)
- There is a sequence where a human character is injured and there is a long trail of blood leading to him.
- An axe murderer kills human victims off-screen (we hear screams, but we see nothing more than the axe, which doesn't appear to be that bloody anyway).
- Screams of fear and agony are generally used to show you that something bad is happening. These can disturb some
- Weapons generally used in horror are used a lot too. These included knives, maces and rather threatening axes.
'''Language''' - Alan Wake swears a lot, but he always appears to be rather afraid to use stronger words than perhaps 'sh-t'. Some of the other characters that you meet will mutter suggestive references or perhaps words such as 'b-tch'.
'''Fear''' - Primarily a horror game, Alan Wake does contain elements in its monsters and the way that the game plays out that may cause some younger children to be afraid. The game was rated '15' in Britain for 'Strong threat' alone.
Most of the content could be easily contained at a twelve year olds gaming habits, but the dark and ominous atmosphere, clever use of sound and constant threat and horror elements mean that I will recommend this for anyone fourteen years of age and up.
Alan Wake is a brilliant game, it's well paced; interesting to play through and it has an amazing amount of quality poured into it by its developers.
At first I thought I was being biased because of the heavy Stephen King references, whom I love, as I mentioned at the very beginning, but I found that games inspired by Stephen King actually make very good games.
The gameplay is excellent; the graphics spectacular and the sound spot on. This is a rarely seen level of brilliance, and I would like to congratulate the developers in creating it. All I wish is that they made it on PC too so that I could have played it a fair amount sooner. Other than that, it's a brilliant game that you should certainly go and play, especially if you love Stephen King as a horror author (and this is more like his horror stuff, not the dramas like 'The Green Mile' or 'The Shawshank Redemption')
I give Alan Wake a highly commended five out of five.
Copied from my Ciao account.
What do you get if you cross Twin Peaks, Stephen King, awesome graphics, phenominal sound and the Xbox 360?
It starts off nice enough as you are sailing into a small town on the north east coast of America. You play a writer, Alan Wake, who is suffering a severe case of writers block, and decides to take a vacation to try and clear his head and finish his latest novel. I don't really want to say more than that about the plot, apart from the characters you meet are wonderfully fleshed out. The vocal acting is superb, and you find yourself just hanging round in certain parts just to listen to converstaions between characters.
Graphically it is as near to film as you can get. Superbly rendered characters and enviroments add to the atmosphere. The game depends a lot on light effects, and this builds the suspense when you see things just flittering round the edges of your torch beam.
The sound is what sets it apart. From the excellent soundtrack featuring David Bowie and Nick Cave to the subtle creaks of the forest, to the roars of cars being flung at you, it immerses you completely into the game, especially if played with surround sound or good headphones.
Controls are quite straight forwards and simple to pick up. The game eases you into the gameplay very well in a sort of in-story tutorial.
The tension builds and builds as you play and learn the secrets of the town. Not all is what it seems and you tend to get help from very unusual sources.
The difficulty sits just right, and through intelligent use of the weapons and ammo, you manage to get through things just about ok.
All in all, a fantastic game. Maybe a little repetative in some parts, but the richness of the plot makes up for that.
A psychological action thriller that follows writer Alan Wake in uncovering the mystery of the disappearance of his wife on their vacation in the remote town of Bright Falls.
Never have I been so gripped on a story line in a game before, I actually felt like I was playing a movie. Each chapter of the game is an "episode" which makes it feel like you're playing a TV series, with recaps on the previous chapter you just played...."previously on Alan Wake"... I'm not going to go into great detail about the plot of the game as I don't want to spoil it for people who have yet to play the game.
Light is the most important thing in gameplay. "The Taken" which are the enemies in the game, are sensitive to light. Your weapons of choice, along with a shotgun, hunting rifle or pistol, are flares, torches and a shed load of duracell batteries. The torch or "flashlight" is your primary weapon, which is held along side your gun of choice. A major element in the gameplay is finding pages of the manuscript Alan was writing, which describes the scenes that have yet to unfold and act as a warning to you about what is to come. There are other collectibles to be found including coffee flasks, radios, televisions and signs throughout Bright Falls.
The game can be quite challenging in places, but playing through on the normal difficulty shouldn't provide too much hassle for a hardened gamer.
The graphics are simply stunning, mountain ranges, forests, even the town looks beautiful. The developers spent months taking photographs to create the landscapes found in the game. Cut scenes too are very life like, and character movement and speech is spot on.
Sound is one of the most influential elements in this game. The soundtrack is stunning, just like in a real movie it builds suspense and fear for the person watching it, or in this case, playing it.
The game has a great deal of longevity to it, with the addition of downloadable content as well. The story itself needs to be completed in various difficulties so you can find all of the missing manuscript pages, I'm yet to complete it on "nightmare" mode which is the hardest difficulty, just because I've had so many other games to catch up on.
Downloadable Content :
The Signal was the first piece of DLC for Alan Wake, which I got for free for purchasing the limited edition copy of the game. It continues from the end of the main game, in which Alan finds himself in a surreal version of Bright Falls. There are more collectables to find and it took me around 3 hours to complete, it may vary for other people depending on how thorough you are when looking for objects. It retails on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 560 Microsoft points.
The Writer was the second and final piece of DLC for the game, and continues where the Signal ended. I'm not going to go into detail about it as it would spoil the end of the main game. Both pieces of DLC are well worth it, there are new achievements and collectables, and for 560 Microsoft points each, they're a bargain compared with most DLC these days.
I can't wait for the sequel! :)
Alan Wake is an interesting game that is a breath of fresh air amongst other titles currently available. The basic premise is that a famous writer, Alan Wake, currently suffering from writers block decides to vacation to the resort of Bright-falls. However, his wife soon disappears and everything is not as it seems. Alan Wake is a superb physiological thriller and the story keeps you gripped throughout.
The game features some unique game-play mechanics mostly centered around darkness and light. During most of the game you will be proceeded through dark environments using your flashlight as a guide and also a weapon. The enemies in Alan Wake have to be weakened by focusing your torchlight on them until they can be finished off with a gunshot. This makes for some challenging but fun game-play. Ammo is pretty scarce so the tension is high throughout. You are constantly seeking out areas of light such as lamp-posts, which the enemies cannot follow you into. The lighting and effects are truly superb.
The action does begin to become repetitive after some time but the atmosphere and story propel you though the game. In game advertisement is quite prevalent but does not feel totally out of place. After all, you probably would put energizer batteries in your torch.
Overall, Alan Wake is an interesting experience that is different from most games on the xbox. Various collectibles, such as manuscript pages that narrate the game, give you incentive for multiple play-throughs.
Alan Wake For the Xbox 360 will leave you cowering under your pillow but also leaving you wanting to find out the truth. Alan Wake a famous writer is left finding pages from his manuscript that he doesn't even remember writing in order to uncover the truth into his wifes kidnapping and save her from the darkness. This Psychological Action Thriller is based in Brightfalls where Alan Wake is pushed to the brink of his sanity in order to save his wife Alice from the 'Taken'. Light generated wepons are available to combat the taken. This action packed game includes side quests like collecting coffee flasks, manuscript pages but also watching televisions and listening to the radio. Alan wake is forced to fight his way through dark forests, vast highways and power plants in order to unravel the mystery and rescue his lost love. Many Achievements are available which challenge the player and push them to the limits to unlock gamerpoint rewards. There are 3 difficulties in which the player can test his abilities. I rate this game 5 stars as i'm still hooked! the gameplay and storyline is intense!
1.65 MB to save game
Hard Drive Required
This game has had so many hyped up reviews that I was expecting to be a little disappointed. But boy I wasn't!
Play Alan Wake alone, in the dark, volume up with your 5.1 surround sound and you will be on the edge, jumping out of your seat.
This is a truly brilliant horror/crime game. The graphics are superb with a brilliant movie style storyline to go with it. The controls are easily to master more or less straight away and the achievements are pretty fair to obtain.
The only down side to the game is that it is your typical platform game, where as your cant wonder to far from the path you are suppose to be following and there could of been a few move weapons.
Overall, even if these type of games are not normally your cup of tea, give it a try, you wont be disappointed!
When I initially saw this game being played by my partner I wasn't overly impressed, that was until she started progressing throughout the game. I had always been a survival horror fan and quite frankly since Resident Evil 3 I hadn't found anything worthy of a purchase until Alan Wake. This game seems to have borrowed from it's genre defining counterparts but still hits the sweet spots better than other games similar to it. Ok it may not be as terrifying as silent hill or as gory as resident evil but it really set a benchmark for the genre up till now.
The game sees you as Alan Wake, a writer inspired by stephen King, and as such follows a similar formulae. The game sees you using a flashlight to stun enemies and a gun to finish them off. What this does means it's difficult to dispose of a mass of foes which makes it a little bit more interesting than other boring bland genre games. The story is good, I wont give any spoilers here but like I said it follows a Stephen King style formulae. The gameplay is simple with a very short learning curve, great voice acting, great lighting and graphics. The only thing that lets the game down and only slightly is the length. Like most games they will be releasing other downloadable content, which is a nice idea but at the same time it's not because I have to then spend maybe 800 Microsoft points (around £6) to continue the storie. One nice thing was that they included a scratch off code for the first DLC pack. But the follow on packs mean i've spent £40 on release and I would think another £12 or more on DLC which adds up to a hefty £52.
Overall the games great, short but sweet but a shame it follows the generic money scheme of developing DLC after release and not spending more time in development.
I finally unlocked the last achievement in this yesterday and just had to come and recommend this game to anyone and everyone!
Alan Wake is similar to the original Silent Hill games, where the emphasis is on the story and suspense, rather than all out action. Some parts are truly terrifying thanks to the incredible atmosphere, and realism in the characters and environments. The game is simply beautiful and lovingly created; from the way that foliage trembles in the breeze, to the fabric on Wake's jacket, ripples in the water and rolling mist - everything just looks so real it's hard to tell it's a game sometimes.
The game is arranged into episodes (although the original plan was for it to be open world, the more structured progression is a definite improvement) and from the get go you are sucked into a world of mystery and fear. I won't talk too much about the story because I would hate to spoil a thing for anyone, but Alan Wake is a writer whose wife disappears during a holiday to the peaceful mountain town of Bright Falls. You play as Wake and attempt to unravel the mysteries surrounding her disappearance, by braving the darkness.
One of the best parts of the game is the difference between day and night - in the light, the town and surrounding forests look so peaceful and welcoming, but at night in the dark every corner is filled with fear. The story progresses really well, with lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing along the way. Even the ending leaves a lot open to interpretation which is great because you can form your own theory about what the truth is. I've heard about 5 different theories and every one of them is completely plausible!
There are interesting collectibles from signposts, manuscripts, coffee thermoses, to radio and tv shows that help shed light (or more questions) on what is going on.
From the main menu you can see previews of the upcoming download content episodes, as well as read any collected manuscripts, and listen to songs from the game's soundtrack which is a fantastic feature I wish that more title's incorporated.
Literally my only two criticisms of the game are that during some of the cut scenes, the lip-synching is off which kind of ruins the immersion somewhat, especially since everything else in the game is graphically incredible, and that there is very limited replayability due to the nature of the game. Imagine watching the Sixth Sense for the second time - knowing the twists detracts a lot from the experience.
All in all, Alan Wake is the perfect mix of action, atmosphere and story, and if you are a fan of thrillers - definitely pick this up today!
I came into Alan Wake not really knowing much about it, but expecting it to be Microsoft's answer to Heavy Rain. In truth, it's partly that, but it shares more in common with the Resident Evil games than Heavy Rain, but it does contain elements of both games. Unfortunately though, it does nothing as well as those other games.
You play the game as the eponymous Alan Wake - a writer who's trying to take a break from the ratrace for a while in what appears to be a small, idyllic village. All is not as it seems, of course, but to go into too much detail would spoil the story, so suffice it to say that people and objects are becoming possessed, stories are becoming reality and reality itself is becoming twisted due to dark supernatural forces. It's up to Alan to put everything right, of course.
The story is split up into 2-hour(ish) long chapters rather than distinct levels, in a similar way to Siren, which is a nice way to break up the different events of the game, but in reality shorter chapters would have been more welcome, as 2 hours to come to a natural break in gameplay is a bit much to ask in my opinion. During the first few chapters, you're introduced to the basics of combat - standard gunplay is handled with RT and your guns are assigned to the different directions of the D-Pad. Unfortunately there are only a handful of weapons to use throughout the game, so there's not much variety - you get a trusty pistol that can handle most enemies, a shotgun or rifle and a flare gun, which is really this game's grenade launcher.
Your invaluable torch is assigned to LT, and it's necessary to use on enemies to kind of melt away the darkness that's possessing them before they will become vulnerable to weapons. You can also use flares to scare off enemies, and light grenades to destroy a whole bunch of them. The use of light to fight enemies is a neat little mechanic, but unfortunately that's where the cool combat ideas come to an end. The enemies you meet at the very start of the game are the same enemies you'll be fighting at the very end of the game, and all chapters in between. Aside from boss fights like possessed combine harvesters and JCBs, there's very little variety with enemies. You have a quick, weak guy, a giant, strong guy, a guy inbetween and that's more or less it. During combat, you can dodge attacks with the left bumper, which will throw you into a kind of time-stop mode which will automatically dodge an attack, which is fine against one or two guys, but during the more intense scenes, it becomes a bit useless, so running away becomes quite common. It also doesn't help that the scenery doesn't change much either - it seems like you're always either in an old building in the middle of nowhere, or wandering through the same old woodland. Monotony doesn't really help the 'thriller' atmosphere the game is supposed to provide.
The storytelling isn't bad, but again, I never really felt thrilled or on the edge of my seat by any of it. Admittedly, things got good toward the end, but by and large I wasn't too impressed. It's not that it was bad, per se, and I can't even put my finger on what the problem was really, it's just that for a game so story-driven, I expected better. Heavy Rain, for example, did a phenomenal job of keeping you guessing and always delivering things to keep you playing, but Alan Wake just didn't have 'it'.
Graphics are pretty good, and the use of light is also very well-done, but what really lets the game down, and this ties into the story telling aspect too, is that lip-sync is absolutely terrible. Characters look like thunderbirds puppets when they speak, including during cinematic sequences, and this really doesn't help the level of immersion that this game is supposed to provide.
Overall, Alan Wake isn't a bad game, it's just an also-ran. I felt slightly let-down because of all the hype surrounding it, but it's still perfectly playable and although the story isn't quite as good as I might have expected, it's still quite a good example of a story-driven game, there are just games that have done it better. That really stands for Alan Wake as whole - everything it does is good, but everything it does has already been done, and has been done better.
I didn't expect much of this game before I played it, but it took me by surprise. Alan Wake really defines the genre of thriller, constant mysteries lay around every corner of the game and your always on the edge of your seat when walking round corners or through the dark.
Its probably one of the only game's I have played that made me feel like I was the main character. The game makes itself stand out as a TV series as after each "level" it ends as if it was an episode and the next mission starts with "previously on Alan Wake"
At first I found the controls a little strange with using the torch, after a while I found them fantastic! The smoothness of the aiming and shooting couldn't be much better. If you like splinter cell's engines, you'd like this.
The story can be confusing but is put together in such a smart way. You get to know each character throughout the game as if you knew them in real life.
The length was decent, but not long enough for a game without Multi player. Id say it took me around 12 hours to complete, and that was listening to every single thing to get an understanding of the story.
Overall, id recommend this game for those that like their story games, Ill be selling the game soon, but I am satisfied with the impression its put on me.
Alan Wake is a game I personally couldn't let slide by as I'd heard a lot of discussion and hype about it, as part of the video game journalism industry. The game ticks most of the boxes it set out to impress with. It's a psychological action thriller, managing to keep the player on the edge of their seat, with an in depth storyline and a fantastic voice acting cast. Although mentions of the game following a linear path, and hailing otherwise questionable monotonous narrative, in my opinion both add to the atmosphere and create the right feel for the player.
However, this game is not a horror, and is worlds apart from that of the old classic "Silent Hill". If you're looking for a scare, the suspense is all there, along with sudden creepy unexpected noise and objects coming to life out of the blue, but if you're expecting a lot of gore and something along the vein of a generic horror game, it may disappoint.
In retrospect, the character depth is amazing, the dialogue humourous, the controls accessible, and to top it all off a fantastic soundtrack at the end of each and every chapter/episode.
Now for the downsides. One minor problem is fiddling around with the settings for the brightness to give off the right atmosphere for the game. It may be more advised to run the game on a HD TV for the best experience. The game may seem a little short if you're expecting something along the lines of 10+ hours. At the most, you may be able to clock ten hours, if you manage to uncover every acheivement and collectable.
Don't let this put you off, as the imaginative storyline and enjoyable gameplay is enough to sell this game alone. All in all, it's a fantastic and long awaited action thriller which achieves it set out to.