follow us:

Latest News

Secret Ponchos new Hunting Grounds update
The first update from Switchblade Monkeys' Secret Ponchos is available to all PS4 users along with a secret skin that can be earned if unlocked before April 1... [read more]
Scarecrow and his team of supervillains take over Gotham City
Batman faces his biggest challenge yet in the epic finale, and the new trailer is just an appetizer of what’s in store for the month of June. ... [read more]
See what fans created in Mother 4 trailer
Mother 4 is five years in the making, and the team behind the game released the first gameplay trailer for the game. ... [read more]

Latest Articles

Evolve, day 1 DLC, and the entitlement of gamers
Evolve hasn’t been out for 72 hours yet and gamers have already decided to make it public enemy number 1. This is thanks to the umbrella claim of “2K charging full price for an incomplete game, as well as for DLC that should have been included with the original purchase.... [read more]
PAX South Tour Guide Pt. 3 - Quick Tips
So far we’ve told you what to do in San Antonio as well as where to eat and drink while at PAX South. Now we have a few quick tips for those traveling to our great city. ... [read more]
The OG Replay for Jan. 19
We're less than a week from PAX South and everyone here is excited. Not only is one of the biggest gaming events coming to our home city of San Antonio, but we're going to have our own panel. ... [read more]

Latest Reviews

Dragon Age: Inquisition Review
Every time I tried to play either Dragon Age Origins or Dragon Age 2, I’d find myself playing for the first 10 or so hours before turning it off and playing a different game. I gave it one more chance with Dragon Age: Inquisition.... [read more]
Driveclub Review
Originally announced at the PS4 reveal event in Feb. 2013, Driveclub was due for release as a PS4 launch title. Development misfortunes led to an 11 month delay and the game was finally released in the first week of Oct. 2014. The game faced major challenges at launch as the... [read more]
This War of Mine Review: A new angle on war games
11 bit studios made a name for themselves with the Anomaly series where they flipped the script on the tower defense formula. They flipped the script again with This War of Mine that doesn't put you in the shoes of soldiers fighting a war, but rather the people trying to sur... [read more]

Latest Videos

PAX South 2015: 8-Bit Eric does a Starr Mazer interview...kind of
On display at PAX South was a game called Starr Mazer, which mashes shmup gameplay with point-and-click adventure gameplay. 8-Bit Eric tried to do an interview with the developer, and well, you'll have to see what happens. ... [read more]
8-Bit Eric: Shiny the Firefly Review
8-Bit Eric takes a look at Shiny the Firefly on the Wii U. An indie game developed by Padaone games where you control a firefly on a rescue mission to protect its babies.... [read more]
8-Bit Eric: Ping 1.5+ Review
8-Bit Eric takes a look at the Wii U puzzle game Ping 1.5+ from Nami Tentou Mushi for the Wii U. ... [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 March?

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
Battlefield Hardline
RIDE
Pillars of Eternity
MLB 15: The Show
Final Fantasy Type-0 HD
Bloodborne
Toukiden: Kiwami
Mario Party 10
ScreamRide
Ori and the Blind Forest
View Results - View Comments

Podcast


Time to start 2015


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