follow us:

Latest News

Join the Thieves Guild in upcoming Elder Scrolls Online DLC
A new DLC pack for Elder Scrolls Online lets players join the iconic Thieves Guild. It's time to make the pockets across Tamriel a little lighter. ... [read more]
New trailer gives you a behind the scenes look at Unravel
With the release of Unravel, the indie 2D platformer with the adorable character made of yarn, in just a few weeks, EA unveiled a new trailer with more info about the gameplay. ... [read more]
Far Cry Primal story revealed in new trailer
A new video for FarCry Primal is available and shows what lies ahead for our hero, Takkar. Massive hunting grounds showcase the new wildlife and enemies that inhabit the ecosystem of Oros. It is up to you to defend your people from the enemy tribes and find your place in thi... [read more]

Latest Articles

Your safe space doesn't belong in my competitive game
Whether it’s trash talking or teabagging, some people are looking for a nicer online experience. Guess what? We’re not in elementary school anymore. This is digital dodgeball and players like me are aiming for your head. ... [read more]
Smite Preview: Hey look at me, I'm playing a MOBA on my console
There's no doubt that the top two MOBA games are DotA 2 and League of Legends, and with the control layout for those games, it's unlikely we'll see those games make the jump to the consoles. However, Smite, the third-person perspective MOBA game and arguably the third most p... [read more]
It doesn't matter how you get your Gjallarhorn
Destiny has seen its share of ups and downs. From the amazingly unbalanced Vex Mythoclast Fusion Rifle to its poor story, players have had plenty of reasons to trash the game. And now, the ultimate storm of garbage has landed. The Destiny community lost its mind when the Gja... [read more]

Latest Reviews

Undertale Review: An 8-bit RPG with a twist
Toby Fox first made himself known to the public with his ROM hack, “Press the B Button, Stupid!” for an Earthbound Halloween Pack back in 2008. With the help of artist Temmie Chang, he created a game that will take you back in time with its 8-bit look, music and turn-bas... [read more]
Batman: Arkham Knight Review: A fitting end for the Dark Knight
Rocksteady Studios did the unthinkable in 2009 by making a game based on a comic an actual GOTY contender. The follow-up, Arkham City, continued the pattern of quality and faithfulness to the comic making for another great game. To finish off the series, Rocksteady is back w... [read more]
Heroes of the Storm Review: The WoW of MOBAs is here
MOBAs are becoming more and more common as the competitive arena of choice. League of Legends and DotA changed the face of eSports by putting the new genre in the spotlight. Blizzard has entered the fray with their answer in the form of Heroes of the Storm.... [read more]

Latest Videos

Top 10 Hardest NES Games of All-Time
The NES was a console that had a huge library that had some of the most notoriously difficult games of all time. 8-Bit Eric counts down the Top 10 Hardest NES Games of All-Time. ... [read more]
8-Bit Eric Review: Yoshi's Woolly World
8-Bit Eric reviews the woolly adventure of Yoshi in Yoshi's Woolly World. ... [read more]
8-Bit Eric Review: Citizens of Earth Review (Wii U)
Remember Earthbound? Well, Citizens of Earth is like Earthbound, but not really. 8-Bit Eric explains why. ... [read more]
Alan Wake Review
Posted on September 28, 2010 by Oscar Gonzalez




In a recent interview, legendary game designer Warren Spector was quoted as saying video games are in their golden age: There are so many ways to reach an audience now, and so many platformsThere’s something for everyone. This is a claim that could not be truer in light of Remedy’s latest game. Alan Wake is a psychological thriller that puts traditional third-person shooter mechanics on the back burner in favor of rich atmosphere and well-drawn storytelling.

The game revolves around the title character, Alan Wake: a famous thriller writer who has left with his wife, Alice, on vacation to the small town of Bright Falls. Due to some intense writer’s block, Alan hasn’t written a novel in years and the couple hopes that their trip will help get his creative juices flowing again. But shortly after their arrival to the fictional north-western-esque hamlet, Alice goes missing and Alan wakes (Ha! Get it? wakes) up in a car crash a week later with no memory of anything that has happened since his wife went missing. The adventure really begins as Wake is treading through the forest for help, when he is accosted by possessed townspeople ominously called the Taken.

Alan Wake relies heavily on plot, and it does not disappoint. Each stage is referred to as an episode preceded by a previously on cinematic to catch you up on what just happened in the game, as well as to give you the feeling that you’re watching a Twin Peaks-styled television mini-series. This accomplishes the game’s main objective of being an episodic story rather than a normal shooter. It is the story that really sucks you into this game. The atmosphere around the sleepy, isolated town of Bright Falls with its mountainous, forested landscape really boosts the Oh, crap! sensation you used to feel from such games as the Resident Evil series. I mean, let’s be honest, most Disney Channel shows are scarier than RE5 was. The player also has the ability to reveal more of the plot (and occasional hints of what’s coming next) by finding pages of manuscript that Wake wrote during the week he has forgotten. Along the way, Alan is joined by his publicist and best friend Barry Wheeler who provides some comic relief to lighten the mood, as well as being a sidekick for some of the later episodes. While at best, Barry is pun on himself, the mediocre humor does help break up the tenser scenes in the gamewhich is great for gamers on anxiety meds.



While the plot is what really sells this game, it can also be a drawback for the more hardcore gamers out there. Alan Wake sacrifices a lot of progressive shooter mechanics to be what could be looked at as merely a playable horror movie. The weapons get better, the Taken get bigger and tougher, but the main game mechanic is still ‘point and shoot’. The only original aspect of the combat system is the unique way you defeat the enemies: as the Taken are surrounded and protected by darkness you have to hit them with light before they become vulnerable to your firearms. This is done mostly with your flashlight, but eventually you pick up flares which ward off the darkness if things get too hairy, and a flare gun thatin the context of this gameworks much like a grenade launcher. So when you’re not running, jumping, melee-ing, and machine gunning the baddies, there’s enough artillery to keep things interesting as you uncover the disappearance of Alice. Just remember that Alan isn’t the Master Chief or Marcus Fenixhe’s a writer with a side arm. Stephen King and Dean Koontz are probably off in a corner somewhere weeping and wishing they were as badass.

Another possible argument of the nay-sayers lies in the game’s heavy use of plot. (Did I mention that is game is heavy on plot? Well, it is.) At times, you will be playing through some of the more cinematic parts of the game (like talking to a forest ranger and then going to his office to pick up a piece of paper to bring back to him) which for some, might seem to drag on and slow down the pace of the game. Once again: Plot. Heavy.

Alan Wake may not appeal to everyone, it is the price of living in this proverbial golden age of gaming. I believe that there will definitely be a strong (or at least a cult) following for this survival horror title. I already count myself as part of that crowd. If you’re into dark environments, good story-telling, appropriately challenging game play, and a partner in crime who looks great in set of multi-color Christmas lights (hey, whatever works in the dark, right?) then you’ll be a big fan of this digital page-turner.

- Collin Lucke

Oscar Gonzalez - Editor-in-Chief og (@) original-gamer.com | all author's articles

What's your most anticipated game for February?

Project X Zone 2
Fire Emblem Fates
XCOM 2
Dying Light: The Following
Mighty No. 9
Unravel
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Megadimension Neptunia VII
Firewatch
Far Cry Primal
View Results - View Comments

Podcast


Catching up with Koretzky


Resident Evil Degeneration: A Blu-Ray Review

Interview with Alan Wake writer, Sam Lake

Alan Wake: The Writer Review

Other Gaming News From The Web