follow us:

Latest News

Sex, Lies and Video Games 2: Sex Harder
The drama within the games industry continues. Harlem and O.G. talk about the latest details of the drama and maybe talk about video games here and there. ... [read more]
Nintendo announces new 3DS
Today, Nintendo held another Nintendo Direct that showed some of the upcoming games for their consoles, but more importantly, they revealed a newly designed 3DS.... [read more]
Undead Labs takes State of Decay to the Xbox One
Last year when I reviewed Undead Lab's State of Decay, I said that they proved that an open-world single-player zombie game can work. Now they're bringing State of Decay to the Xbox One.... [read more]

Latest Articles

gamescom 2014: Sony shows off more indie games and hidden Silent Hill game
Lots of games ranging from AAA to Indie along with some shocking surprises were revealed at this year’s Sony Press Conference at gamescom in Cologne, Germany.... [read more]
gamescom 2014: Microsoft comes out fighting
After falling behind Sony again and again, Microsoft finally put on a show for gamers at gamescom 2014 to remind everyone that they are still in the fight.... [read more]
When a Good Cause Gets Tainted
This June was an important month for Nintendo. Prior to them winning the hearts of gamers across the globe at E3, they were in some hot water over a game that came out just a few days before. That game, Tomodachi Life, became the center of a world of drama that was not only ... [read more]

Latest Reviews

Metro Redux Review
Deep Silver, who bought the Metro series after THQ filed bankruptcy, decided to get next gen gamers up to speed with the franchise by giving both games a next gen makeover in Metro Redux.... [read more]
Wolfenstein: The New Order Review
Wolfenstein 3D is arguably one of the most important games in video game history. It created a new style gaming that eventually took over the industry. Unfortunately, the guys at id Software haven’t been able to recreate the magic of the series in the various follow-ups. S... [read more]
Firefall Review
Firefall has been in beta longer than most MMO titles, and with its launch finally cleared as of last month, it’s time to validate its existence with a review.... [read more]

Latest Videos

8-Bit Eric: Sega Genesis Shmups
Get ready for a little bullet hell as 8-Bit Eric takes a look at the shmups for the Sega Genesis. ... [read more]
8-Bit Eric: SNES Beat Em' Ups!
8-Bit Eric takes a look at some of the best beat 'em up for the SNES. ... [read more]
20 and Out: Gods Will Be Watching
From Deconstructeam, Gods Will Be Watching is a new take on the point-and-click gameplay. If you're having trouble understanding how the game works, this video will give you some insight on the unique gameplay. ... [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 September?

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call
Destiny
Fable Anniversary
Wasteland 2
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
The Vanishing of Ethan Carter
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
FIFA 15
NHL 15
Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
Hyrule Warriors
Dance Central Spotlight
Forza Horizon 2
View Results - View Comments

Podcast


Sex, Lies and Video Games 2: Sex Harder


Interview with Alan Wake writer, Sam Lake

Alan Wake: The Writer Review

Dust: An Elysian Tail Review

Other Gaming News From The Web