Wot I Think: Alan Wake PC

By Alec Meer on February 17th, 2012 at 4:15 pm.

Apparently, he's a writer. It's mentioned once or twice.

A mere two years after being rather spuriously denied a PC release, the videogame called Alan has skulked, tail between his legs, back over here. Worth the wait? I fitted as many batteries as I could into my Torch Of Truth and investigated.

Perhaps the iconic image of Alan Wake: our glowering, scarf-clad hero runs from the dark wilderness that’s all around, towards an eerie light in an abandoned structure ahead of him, while the air itself seems to shimmer with otherwordly blackness… and a thermos flask glimmers improbably on a rocky outcrop in the distance. Alan Wake specialises in not entirely making sense, and the occasional, pointless coffee flasks exemplify that. You can collect them all, but… well, why? Don’t get me wrong: I of all people can empathise with any writer (for that is Alan’s trade) feeling he is utterly dependent upon the constant consumption of lukewarm caffeinated beverages to survive, but Alan doesn’t even close his eyes contentedly and make a sort of sex noise like the rest of us do when we lay our hands on sweet, sweet coffee. The thermoses are just there. They serve no purpose, there is no internal logic to explain their presence or their effects on Alan and… well, that’s Alan Wake all over.

It’s a third-person shooter with a light/darkness combat mechanic, starring a horror author suffering from the triple terrors of writer’s block, the mysterious abduction of his wife and assault by murderous monsters in human form. It is on to something, it really is. It also doesn’t seem to entirely grasp just what that something is, and instead repeatedly drops its clearly lovingly-made ball before it can stride into the sinister greatness it shoots for. Alan should be running for his life, and to save that of his missing wife, but instead he veers off to collect coffee. Alan establishes that he can defeat the shadowy figures that besiege him by shining light at them, but instead of rounding up every light source he can or strapping a bunch of floodlights to the back of one of the many vehicles lying around the outskirts of the besieged rural town of Bright Falls, he carries a crappy torch that he tops up with randomly-found batteries.

And the torch… oh, the torch. To defeat his snarling foes (example dialogue: MR WRITER. YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST MAKE UP STUFF?” “YOU MISSED YOUR DEADLIIIIIIINE” ) Alan can activate a super-bright, quasi-mystical mode that burns through a battery in seconds, in response to which he can either insert a new, Energizer-branded battery or just wait and it’ll magically recharge. What the hell kind of torch does that? An Alan Wake torch, of course. Nothing makes sense in Alan-land. Yes, he very occasionally does use a vehicle as an alternatively to stumbling through the haunted forest with only a misbehaving torch for company, but he’s bizarrely happy to abandon his wheels upon encountering even the most minor of obstacles.

There is, some might argue, an easy explanation for any logic failure in Remedy’s semi-survival horror game, which arrived on PC this week almost two years after its divisive console release. That reason is that Alan himself doesn’t know what on Earth’s going on in Bright Falls. Half the overtly Twin Peaks-inspired town’s populace is super-chummy towards him, and the rest of it is possessed by a malevolent darkness that’s trying to kill him and appears to be his own fiction come to life. Meanwhile, he can’t remember the events of the last week, he keeps finding pages of a manuscript he hasn’t written yet and he’s got a head wound from a car accident. Is he mad, in a coma, or back in time? Er, wrong teased-out mystery.

Obviously I’m not going to spoil the explanation, even if we are two years on from when the rest of the world found it out, but what I will say is that it doesn’t adequately justify the lapses in logic and coherency. Even aside from impossible torches and coffee, Alan’s is a jumpy old narrative, pinging wildly between timeframes and situations, with the game entirely happy to randomly muck around with your inventory dependent on what you’re going to face next. But that it was so liberal with your own choice of actions. Despite a richly-detailed environment, which honestly does look at least 312.48 percent better on PC than its console predecessor, your only deviation from the train-track path through those oppressive forests, imposing lumberyards and clifftop scenic spots is to occasional clearings containing a sodding coffee flask, bonus manuscript page or some extra ammo and batteries.

The wish for less linearity is perhaps the most boringly predictable cry of the lesser-spotted games journalist, but in Alan’s case it really does feel like an opportunity for a smart and sinister survival game was abandoned in favour of cutscenes linked by bubbles of rinse and repeat (if escalating) action. What it does offer is a clever twist on dual-wielding. Alan usually carries a gun of some kind, but it’s diddly-squat use against his dark-shrouded yokel foes until he burns away the blackness that encases them with his torch (or a flare) first.

So the vast majority of skirmishes involve the desperate juggling of both ammo and batteries, trying to ensure you don’t need to reload both at the same time or you’ll suffer an axe/knife/chainsaw to the chops. This is intermittently incredible dramatic, as the claustrophobic darkness and Alan’s relative puniness lends a desperation absent from most action games, and frustrating – either because Alan can too easily be swamped if his torch doesn’t immediately face the right direction or because he can simply cue up enemies if he has enough distance from them.

It is an inventive mechanic, but it’s also a boring one fairly rapidly. In normal (I haven’t tried Nightmare yet, nor can I really be bothered to) mode resources aren’t anywhere near scarce enough to truly make it a matter of survival, so really it’s just about positioning in each fight. Outside of that, it’s just about waiting for answers. There is strength in the downtime moments, when Alan interacts with apparently unpossessed and generally rather well-written townsfolk and displays his surprisingly (and entertainingly) dickish, entitled celebrity personality. Bright Falls is richly detailed and endearingly atmospheric when it wants to be, which makes the faintly irritating action game it’s wrapped up in all the more disappointing.

It’s fascinating that this has arrived in the same week as Dear Esther. Here we have two games that do great things with vegetation and lighting, two games that explore metaphysical horror and two games that throw their protagonists’ heroism into doubt. Yet while one plunges as far as it can into vagueness and consciously soporific introspection, Wake embraces over-written sci-fi gibberish and manic, jerky pacing. It is good to see it on PC, it is worth experiencing and with its raft of new graphical options, adjustable FOV and everything, it’s certainly a conversion that’s done the work. Slightly wonky mouse and keyboard controls aside – it wasn’t long before I found my gnarled hands clutching a gamepad instead.

But in the same way that ‘Alan’ is a hilariously uninspiring, even misguided title for a videogame, as a horror-action action affair it undermines its big, bold stylistic (in-game TV shows, Roy Orbison) and conceptual (light/dark; found manuscript pages predicting events to come) ideas with tedium and incoherency. It has a setting and a tone that I really do thrill to, which makes me all the more downcast that its memorable shell doesn’t house a more satisfying game.

Alan Wake is out now.

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137 Comments »

  1. Herr Dr. Face Doktor says:

    But in the same way that ‘Alan’ is a hilariously uninspiring, even misguided title for a videogame, as both a horror game and action game it undermines its big, bold stylistic – in-game TV shows, Roy Orbison – and conceptual – light/dark, found manuscript pages predicting the events soon to come – ideas with tedium and incoherency.

    That’s the most confusingly structured sentence (?) I’ve read all week.

    • brulleks says:

      ‘Syntactically challenged’. I believe that’s the acceptable term for it nowadays.

      Otherwise very well written though. It summed up precisely, without spoilers, the elements of the game that I wanted to know more about – the narrative and the combat.

    • Alec Meer says:

      It’s a metaphor for the narrative structure of the game. Yes.

    • Herr Dr. Face Doktor says:

      Alright, well I re-read it a few times and it makes sense, but reading that thing linearly is nigh impossible. Maybe it’s a metaphor telling me to replay the game so I can finally understand what the hell is going on.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I’m not sure if it’s more syntactically correct, but it makes more sense like this:

      “But in the same way that ‘Alan’ is a hilariously uninspiring, even misguided title for a videogame, as both a horror game and action game it undermines its big, bold stylistic (e.g. in-game TV shows, Roy Orbison) and conceptual (e.g. light/dark, found manuscript pages predicting the events soon to come) ideas with tedium and incoherency.”

    • Sweetz says:

      Well he did just play Dear Esther and call its writing “genuinely good”…

    • liasahdv says:

      I dunno, I think the novel pages are supposed to be a bit crap. Alan’s a pulp author and a prick. It wouldn’t make sense for him to be an incredible writer. http://url.ie/e5di

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        SPOILER ALERT

        The reason the manuscript pages are “crap” is that they were essentially written by the dark presence. They were not Alan sitting down with a cup of Joe and writing his story, his way. He physically typed the manuscript, but the game tells you a few times that it was being “heavily revised” by the lady in the cabin with him. It was an incantation at that, something written only to alter reality, so naturally it wasn’t meant to be judged or even seen by another human being.

    • the_p says:

      Likewise, and I do offer a brief apology for this, but it does seem like Mr. Meer rather stopped trying about halfway through.

      We have the bizarre transformation into high-level ESL student:
      ‘This is intermittently incredible dramatic’
      ‘It is an inventive mechanic, but it’s also a boring one fairly rapidly’

      And the lazy:
      ‘Alan interacts with apparently unpossessed and generally rather well-written townsfolk’
      ‘But in the same way that ‘Alan’ is a hilariously uninspiring, even misguided title for a videogame’
      Since the game has a pretty silly title, using ‘title’ in the synecdochical sense seems here a sign of not reviewing the sentence.

      But yes, anyway, I should be doing more important things. Sha ba ba.

  2. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    This makes me want to run out and buy Windows Vista.

    • Sarlix says:

      That would be a very bad idea.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Just get a hold of the Windows 8 Developer Preview, disable the new fancy shmancy interface (there’s a blog post out there somewhere explaining how, it’s some registry thing) and play it without wasting your money.

    • Herr Dr. Face Doktor says:

      Running out and buying Vista will be the fastest thing you do with it.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      And if thats not proof this game is the root of all evil I don’t know what is!

      Seriously though, I rather enjoyed it, but yeah – it’s basically a brainless action game with pretensions of being intelligent or surreal. It’s more a lampshade or satire of the genre it claims to emulate than an example thereof. This should’ve been a detective game or some sort of point and click with intermittent combat elements.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        “It’s more a lampshade or satire of the genre it claims to emulate than an example thereof.”

        How many video games in the Psychological Action Thriller genre have you played, exactly? Just curious…

    • Vagrant says:

      I’m thinking this is a joke about Windows Vista exclusive promotions waaay back when this was still a PC game (like Halo 2).

      Also, I love Vista. I always hated XP, and after using Windows 7 I uninstalled it for Vista and have never been happier with a Windows OS.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I also like Vista, have been using it since it came out. But switching Windows 7 for it is stupid.

    • CommentSystem says:

      Why would you buy Vista? Does this not work on Windows 7?

  3. liquidsoap89 says:

    Alan Wake felt like a game that I needed to play. To the point where I bought the collectors edition (on sale for a fraction of the price, maybe 2 months after it was out. THANKS collectors editions!) even though I don’t own a 360. When I finally go the chance to play it… I was… Pretty damn underwhelmed. It wasn’t BAD by any means, but the hype that everybody had given it, mixed with the inconsistencies mentioned here (that I absolutely agree with) definitely screwed up my opinion of the game.

    I’ll probably be stuck on the third level for the rest of my life at this point, because I see no way of convincing myself to go back to this game.

  4. ArtyFishal says:

    I absolutely love this game. It is an ode to a type of pulp horror that isn’t very often seen in games. A sort of love song to Steven King, TV horror movies, and the type of pop horror that flourished in the 80s and 90s. It’s an interactive b-movie with brains and heart that is far more creative and immersive than just about anything I’ve played recently and that includes Dear Esther.

    It makes me wish for an all out Adventure game set in the location and with this fiction, but the action is fun and I’ll take what I get. It’s a fantastic follow up to Max Payne, and even ties into its universe in some fun ways.

    It also makes a fantastic companion piece to The Darkness II.

    • The First Door says:

      Well, this is basically what I was trying to say, but more eloquent. I adored the story, even though it was a bit cheesy in places. It has a proper pulp horror storyline which really kept me hooked.

    • Slinky MCPunchfist says:

      Have the people that compare this game to a steven king story even read any of his books? I’ve read them all and the only one with writing as bad as this game was duma key…

    • noodlecake says:

      I’ve read quite a few Stephen King books. He’s a cheeseball. I did enjoy them though. As I enjoyed Alan Wake. It is clearly a Steven King tribute and an entertaining one at that. I don’t mind linearity in games if they are trying to do something a little different. I found Alan Wake wasn’t something I could play for more than a couple of hours at a time, unlike The Witcher 2 (which is definitely far superior), but this is one of the most entertaining big budget games I’ve played recently.

    • Angel Dust says:

      The thing I don’t get about all the Stephen King comparisons is that no one mentions that, yeah, it’s kind of like one his stories but the totally crap part. You know the bit at the end were he dispenses with all the small town conflict & menace and pulls a supernatural beastie or two of his arse.

    • CommentSystem says:

      I seem to be in the minority here, but I really enjoyed the writing in this game. It’s probably more of a Twin Peaks homage then Steven King. I love the nordic themes, that and show within a show elements tie it back into Remedy’s previous outings with the Max Payne series.

      I also think the ending is great. Granted this is pre-dlc, which I have yet to play, but while it seems liked most people hated the ending I thought it was pitch perfect. Video game audiences seem less accepting of what I would consider proper endings to horror narratives. I can’t imagine a game ever ending like say, Night Of The Living Dead without raising the ire of players. No idea why that is.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        I’m with ya buddy. I liked almost everything about this game, from the gameplay to the story, from the beginning to the end.

  5. MistaJah says:

    The action was fun on a 360 controller. Also, it’s sort of meant to be played an episode per day. I get the tinglings the writer played it through hastily, which is a mistake. The middle episodes do become tedious if you overplay.

    • jimbobjunior says:

      Video games journalists do have the tendency to play games wrong.

    • Echo Black says:

      I detest the “you played the game wrong” argument. I don’t know how serious you were being, jimbobjunior, but if you could complete the game from start to finish there’s no way you played it “wrong”.

      You can have the wrong attitude going into a certain game (going into Dear Esther expecting proper action gameplay or something), but once you’re in, what constitutes “playing it wrong”? Some subjective perception of “oh, he didn’t savor the atmosphere!”? I remember when I told someone I found NecroVision to be shite, and he replied “well, if you played creatively and pulled off combo kills on every encounter maybe you wouldn’t say that.”. Yeah, no thanks.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        I would say some games require more than pushing buttons to “play correctly”, and Alan Wake would be one of them. I mean, seriously, wouldn’t you say someone who played Thief with loud music in the background played it wrong? I would.

    • Keirley says:

      In general, I tend to think that you can’t play the game wrong – developers just sometimes make the game wrong.

    • jimbobjunior says:

      I was referencing the hydrophobia farce from last year, but I guess is was pretty deadpan.

  6. mazzoli says:

    Odd. Looks like he’s carrying a flashlight to me…

    • Elltot says:

      “Alan establishes that he can defeat the shadowy figures that besiege him by shining light at them, but instead of rounding up every light source he can or strapping a bunch of floodlights to the back of one of the many vehicles lying around the outskirts of the besieged rural town of Bright Falls, he carries a crappy torch that he tops up with randomly-found batteries.”

      He is.

    • mazzoli says:

      Because I want to believe in my ability to convey sarcasm through text, I applaud your ability to convey a deadpan response through text to my (admittedly unclear) joke about my fellow Americans not knowing what a “torch” is. I should stop trying now for all our sakes.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      My fellow Ameridummy misunderstands – a torch IS a flashlight, in acrossed-the-pond English, or as they would call it ‘proper’ english. Seeing as they developed the language I suppose they win that round.

      Over in America, Torches are called ‘flashlights’ – they used to have a ‘flash’ button for signalling in Morse code you see, and it was in that context that Americans first got to know them – first used enmasse by the New York City police Department, donated by the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing company who obtained a US patent of the device from original inventor David Misell.

      THE MORE YOU KNOOOOOWW!

    • Elltot says:

      I think we need to replace the Caps Lock on a keyboard (which I haven’t used in about 15 years) with a Sarcasm Lock, then we could avoid situations like this in the future.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Wait a second, I didn’t develop the English language. It’s very nice of you to credit me with that though.

    • Ross Angus says:

      mazzoli: I laughed at your joke. Please retain that level of subtlety.

    • Koozer says:

      Americans are not allowed to make this sort of snide language-based joke. It is reserved for the English and other UK residents as our last bastion of power over the world. It helps stop the crying, see.

      PS. Dear Americans,
      Would it trouble you at all to learn all of the countries in Britain? You seem to do fine with Ireland, sometimes Scotland, but you seem to lump the Welsh and English under the blanket of ‘the British’.
      yours sincerely,
      a Britain in a funny mood with too much time on his hands.

  7. db1331 says:

    Pretty much what we already knew. All hype. With the amount of time it spent in development, you would think they would have produced a better game.

    Wait…

    Did you play this while sitting at your desk chair, or on a couch? If you weren’t on your couch, you weren’t playing it the way it was originally designed, and therefore your gripes may be completely unfounded.

  8. The First Door says:

    I really enjoyed Alan Wake, even though the first couple of chapters are quite repetitive. I think from about chapter 4 though, I couldn’t put it down. I love the strange sense of dread that it manages to have all through it thanks to the pulpy Steven Kingesque writing and the desperation of running between light sources. Perhaps I just easily scared by shadowy figures and/or dark and creepy forests though.

  9. Xocrates says:

    Got it yesterday and been playing it since then, haven’t managed to finish it yet though.

    Personally, I’m quite enjoying it, but it is an immensely flawed game. I would give it more credit than the WIT seems to do, but I don’t necessarily disagree with it.

    However since Steam decided that EU region 2 should get it for cheap (seriously though, it’s probably the only game I can recall being cheaper on Steam than either UK or US retail at launch) I don’t regret a penny of it, folk in other regions would probably do best in waiting for a sale though.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      How is it IMMENSELY flawed? I can think of three legitimate flaws. The driving physics, facial animations, and it gives you too much ammo in many parts of the game.

      I can think of that many if not more flaws in every other game, easy.

  10. Khemm says:

    I never understood Remedy’s explanation for abandoning the rather open-world structure in favour of linear levels with a focus on shooting your way through.
    There’s a middle ground, look at Silent Hill/RE Trilogy – they’re not opened ended, but not linear either. They allow you to familiarize yourself with the world, soak the atmosphere, yet still make exploration possible.
    Instead, Remedy opted for an easy “linear, going from point A to point B, cutscene, repeat” design. They could have ripped off Silent Hill and AW would only benefit from it.

    Anyways, I’m still sloowly downloading the game since yesterday. Steam paused it so many times and refused to resume automatically. Having an average internet connection rocks.

    • Kaira- says:

      I think open world during the daytime would have benefitted the game, but then again, linearity gives a certain sense of urgency to the game.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      I know exactly why they changed the idea – because they were locked in a development hell boondogle almost equivilant to L.A. Noire’s capital hemmoraging madness. They needed money, to get more money from investors they had to hone down the pitch, so they took the story they had and married it to gameplay they didn’t originally intended so they could actually complete the product.

      Arguably technoligy could also be blamed, the 360 supposedly wouldn’t handle what they wanted to do, and guess who was financing them?

    • qrter says:

      Sounds like the game could’ve used something like the opening levels of Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth – you got the chance to have a little look around (bits of) Innsmouth, taste the malovelent atmosphere, before the mayhem would really start.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      Linearity not only works but is almost essential in two types of games:
      1. Story-driven games
      2. Thriller/horror genre

      Unfortunately for its critics, Alan Wake happens to be both. So I agree with Remedy, making it any less linear than it ended up being would’ve hurt the intended feel of the game.

  11. The JG Man says:

    I feel like this review perfectly encapsulated my opinion of when I played it back on the console toy. It was neither good, nor bad. Its narrative structure was a bit pained at times and the combat was almost-but-not-quite. What I really felt as if the game could’ve done with is less shooting, more running. Emphasise the survival part.

    For example, one of the achievements on the 360 (EDIT: it’s on the PC too; ‘Gunless Wonder’. I recommend you try it when you get to it) was in the final mission to not kill enemies, simply run. It actually became dramatically more entertaining to run, shine a torch in their face to slow them down, then keep on running. I wish that the game enforced that, really.

    • Echo Black says:

      It was neither good, nor bad

      Perhaps average.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      I can agree with this criticism. Though I think the game as a whole is PHENOMENAL, I would say giving the player less ammo in many areas would’ve been a good idea.

      But then there’s no way to stop people from complaining. I’ve heard this game is too easy, and I’ve heard that it’s too difficult. So go figure.

  12. Apples says:

    Repetitive, uninspiring and linear are just about the words to sum up this game, I’d say, so this WIT mostly covered what I thought except with less bile. The story felt like a poor rehash of cult media (and did you check out Alan’s manuscript pages? He’s a comically bad writer, but in a way that clearly wasn’t intentional) where everything had to be a reference, giving the characters and setting no room to grow into their own and making the writing feel like an embarrassing fanfiction crossover. I suppose those were meant to be ‘homages’ but in fact were so bad that it felt more like the game was unconsciously criticising itself. The gameplay was cack and was mostly comprised of either walking through a samey forest or walking past a lot of completely unlikeable side characters. Boo to this game. Silent Hill 2 and Deadly Premonition are both similar in concept/tone in certain ways and are infinitely better, so play those instead.

    • Alec Meer says:

      I dunno, I think the novel pages are supposed to be a bit crap. Alan’s a pulp author and a prick. It wouldn’t make sense for him to be an incredible writer.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        SPOILER ALERT

        The reason the manuscript pages are “crap” is that they were essentially written by the dark presence. They were not Alan sitting down with a cup of Joe and writing his story, his way. He physically typed the manuscript, but the game tells you a few times that it was being “heavily revised” by the lady in the cabin with him. It was an incantation at that, something written only to alter reality, so naturally it wasn’t meant to be judged or even seen by another human being.

        • The Random One says:

          The pages that are meant to be snippets of Alan’s best-sellers are also crap. They are clearly being written by a bad writer (or at least a good writer not being allowed to elaborate on their work) and not deliberately crappy.

          • Vic 2.0 says:

            I don’t see how those two manuscript pages are “crap”. If anything, they match what Sheriff Breaker said about his work – good, but a little heavy on the metaphors. The only thing that keeps you from taking them seriously is the way the voice actor reads them (and/or the fact that it’s the voice of Max Payne).

            They’re noticeably better written than the other manuscript pages, that’s all we need to acknowledge.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      I bet you think Max Payne’s writing is crap too.

    • woodsey says:

      I got the impression it was intentional. All his writing seems to be a bit of a in-joke; look at the books he’s ‘written’ in the screenshot at the top of the page. Any of the titles sound familiar, or remind you of any other characters? (Hint: his life might have been a bit Payne-ful.) Then think about the sorts of ludicrous metaphors he likes to use.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Further reinforced by a Max Payne easter egg when you flashback to his Apartment in New York. His wife is a writer too, and when you read a sample of her work it’s a monologue from Max Payne, delivered in Max Payne’s voice.

    • Apples says:

      While I totally agree that Alan is a prick, the writing was beyond what I would expect even from a pulp author. I think it suffered heavily from having to be short and contained enough per page not to bore the player, so that much of it had to be forced into simple sentences with little description or elaboration beyond the basic stating of events and a few bad metaphors. There were even some tense errors and things like that. For a game that is about a famous writer, they didn’t put enough effort in for me to believe that he could plausibly be that writer. He mostly seems to be intended as a Stephen King-alike, who really wasn’t that bad a writer in his heyday.

      I didn’t think Max Payne’s writing was bad actually! There were some much more inventive and funny metaphors in it and it never broke tone like Wake’s; when you’re supposed to be in a terrifying forest and you find a page with an ending line so heavy with forced drama you can practically hear the “dun dun DUN!” after it, the resulting laughter kind of breaks the, dare I say, immersion.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        SPOILER ALERT

        The reason the manuscript pages are “crap” is that they were essentially written by the dark presence. They were not Alan sitting down with a cup of Joe and writing his story, his way. He physically typed the manuscript, but the game tells you a few times that it was being “heavily revised” by the lady in the cabin with him. It was an incantation at that, something written only to alter reality, so naturally it wasn’t meant to be judged or even seen by another human being.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Tsunami

      His wife is a photographer, not a writer. The writing is by Alan.

    • DuddBudda says:

      Someone has implied that the writing in Max Payne is on a par with Alan Wake?
      please, never read again, lest you mistake Chandler for the scrubblings of a pre-teen emo queen

    • woodsey says:

      @ Apples

      I don’t think Max Payne’s writing was bad (well, Max’s monologues were a little ridiculous, but they were meant to be), but there is more than a passing resemblance between it and the manuscripts in AW.

    • Apples says:

      I didn’t catch the resemblance while playing but I’m not a huge Max Payne fan. Even if that’s the case, the writing is then a pale imitation of a parody/pastiche of a film genre (and a genre which does not mesh entirely well with the actual setting of AW), which does not speak well of it.

    • woodsey says:

      I think I’m being unclear: the similarity is that both characters deliver overblown metaphors. Max’s are his thoughts, Wake’s are in his novels; some of Wake’s novels are clear references to the actual story of the Max Payne games.

      He writes like a somewhat dodgy horror writer, Max delivers his monologues like he’s in a somewhat dodgy film noir. That’s the resemblance.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      I thought this game was quite good, myself. And I’ve never understood the “repetitive” criticism. Other shooters are quite a bit worse in that regard, technically. “Shoot, shoot, shoot again, and again” is far more repetitive than “Burn the darkness away, shoot. Burn the darkness away, shoot.” And then you have the dodging, and the flares, and just a unique atmosphere to do it all in. It’s great. And yes, I even thought it was better than Deadly Premonition and, well, ANYTHING Silent Hill has done, especially lately.

  13. woodsey says:

    From what I remember from playing it on the Toybox 360 way back when, I quite enjoyed it, although the repetition in the environments for the first half of the game quickly became annoying – and it was only compounded by the way they book-ended each ‘episode’.

    Speaking of which, I hated the TV-style format. It didn’t work, and they didn’t even let you save at the end of a chapter, so you had to watch the beginning cutscenes for the next one before you could stop playing anyway.

    That also meant the pacing was slightly off for the rest of the game. An average ‘episode’ is about an hour, so you spend 5 minutes at the start with things being safe, and then the rest of it is the regular gameplay. But the regular gameplay always felt like it went on for a little too long, and because that structure was repeatedly constantly, the entire game felt a little off.

    I did quite like the characters, and I was especially impressed by Alan “Massive Twat” Wake – that they actually made have visible, ugly flaws made him quite endearing.

    Still, the story’s pretty interesting though, the writing itself is good, and the combat is a pretty nice idea (if not perfected) . So yeah, if you can nab it for £20 I’d say it’s worth it.

    7 thermoses out of 10.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      I loved the TV series type feel. It was everywhere, not just at the end of each episode. I loved being able to move the camera so you could see behind Alan as he ran forward, the cinematics were very nicely done, and even the narration just worked for me. It all felt like I was watching a TV series, but obviously much more fun.

  14. SkittleDiddler says:

    Energizer batteries. Verizon phones. Jeebus Kris…

  15. Khemm says:

    By the way, is it possible to play the PC version on the highest difficulty setting from the start or do you have to unlock it first?

    • whydidyoumakemeregister says:

      Nope, easy or normal on the first playthrough. So you better really like the story, because the gameplay won’t be any challenge!

    • yourgrandma says:

      YEP. Set launch options -developermenu and you can unlock the hardest difficulty on your fist play through!

    • Khemm says:

      Thanks! I’ll do that as soon as the game finishes downloading.
      Steam refuses to do so atm, is it down? It says my download is “suspended”. Ffs you piece of shit of a client, must you remind me you’re a pain in the ass?

  16. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Shame it’s not possible to use x360 saves, or else I might have gotten it in order to continue the playthrough I abandoned a while ago.

  17. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    MR WRITER. YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST MAKE UP STUFF?

    I now have MMMIISSTTAH WRITER, WHY DON’T YOU TELL IT LIKE IT REALLY IS? orbiting my skull. Thank you.

  18. tumbleworld says:

    The Twin Peak stuff is glaring, as are the Stephen King and Lovecraft references. Bonus points for the nod to Max Payne too — I still miss his glum, gravelly narrations. But it seems to me that what this game is really modelling itself on is Deadly Premonition. Isn’t that right, Zach?

    • DrGonzo says:

      No. Played Deadly Premonition shortly after Alan Wake.

      It was the worst thing I’ve ever played, by quite a long margin actually. Not so bad it’s funny, so bad it’s weird definitely. But it was shite, not enjoyable in the slightest. And I was so looking forward to it after seeing some youtube clips.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’m completely the opposite. Alan Wake just bored me within a couple of hours. The combat was passable, but that won’t hold my interest when there’s nothing beyond that.

      Deadly Premonition is a game with very awkward combat (play on Easy mode to reduce the amount you have to get through) and poor graphics (it was meant to be a PS2 game, which explains a lot, and it was low-budget even then) but I loved everything else about it. The living world, the detailed characters, the perfectly Lynchian feel of it all and some really dramatic moments.

    • Apples says:

      You guys who think Deadly Premonition are bad are so, so wrong. I don’t even know how you can be so wrong. I could write a book on how brilliant Deadly Premonition is, how perfectly it all ties together and how it uses the medium, its Freudian themes, everything. You have to cooperate with it (like the entire structure and your place in the narrative suggests) – you have to give back to it, and you have to accept a lot of its flaws, but if you do it will reward you for your patience. And most of those flaws are unintentionally brilliant – that first pan over the laughable water textures, done with all the naive pride of a PS1 game, the music drowning out the dialogue, the weird development-timesinks like a field of horses you can never do anything with. If you only like ‘game’y games (gameplay over narrative) then you will not have a good time with it, but neither will you with Alan Wake. Swery (the designer) loves film and knows about films and you can tell; but it could not have been a film, it would have lost something hugely important if it was. It’s definitely in my top 10 favourite games, if not top 5 (I can’t be bothered to figure out that list right now).

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I keep seeing references to Twin Peaks. Is there something David Lynch-esque about the game that I’m missing? If it has some sort of ‘rural town succumbs to surreal horror’ kind of vibe going for it I’d be a lot more interested than I am now. I get the impression it’s basically a slightly better written Resident Evil type survival game.

    • Ayn Rand says:

      @Jason Moyer

      If you’re talking about Deadly Premonition, that’s pretty much the vibe of the game.There’s a large Twin Peaks/David Lynch streak that runs through the game without directly copying things. It also doesn’t play anything like Resident Evil.

    • Apples says:

      It does sort of play like Resident Evil. It has the same basic combat controls (stand still to shoot), similar glowy object halos on the ground, and the item pickup screens are very reminiscent of it. The game itself is nothing like Resident Evil but it calls back to them in the same way that it calls back to Twin Peaks and various B-movies.

  19. Lagwolf says:

    It’s not so much a Wake as a ripple eh?

  20. ffordesoon says:

    I dug Alan Wake, and I still dig it, but I totally agree with this review. It’s a bit of a noble, lovable, laudable failure, another one of those depressing “the game got in the way of the game” cautionary tales. One wonders how much Microsoft had to do with that; I expect the sentences “What am I supposed to be doing?” and “Why am I not shooting things?” were used quite often.

    I do implore anyone who hasn’t played the console version to pick it up nonetheless, however, because when it clicks and remembers to not be all Video Games: The Video Game, it really is a tremendously effective piece of work, and one that tries things most games are afraid to try. Not always as well-written as it wants to be (the pages of Wake’s novel you collect are notably awful, like an enthusiastic high schooler trying to ape Stephen King – which is why it’s unintentionally hilarious that one character calls Wake something along the lines of “the new James Ellroy”, because he writes nothing like Ellroy, and nowhere near as well), and perhaps it tries a tad too hard to be cool by making its influences obvious, but there are a lot of really bold choices in there.

    I mean, you can roll your eyes when the aforementioned Ellroy reference happens, and you’ll be justified in doing so, but there aren’t that many games that namecheck James Ellroy in the first place, you know?

  21. Shooop says:

    The fact all of you got so excited about this game coming to PC was almost cute, all the nativity. It was mediocre on Xbox, why would it be any better on PC?

  22. Quizboy says:

    I rented Wakey Wake on the 360 when it first came out, and while I do remember quite enjoying it, I’d be hard pressed to come up with any particularly memorable or special bits. It was just sort of all right, all the way through. I was glad it’d just cost me whatever fraction of my LoveFilm sub it had taken up.

    It’s by no means a scary horror game – I’d only call it horror because people persist in calling Stephen King horror, and this is literally exactly the same thing – but in terms of turning that sort of car-honked-its-own-horn spookyish Americana story into a game, they’ve definitely captured the atmosphere well. I’m maybe a little better-disposed to it because I don’t really see linearity as a negative.

    • Vandelay says:

      I’ve only played episode 1, but it actually felt linear in the way Half Life 2 is. There were plenty of areas to have a little explore around and stashes to find (the thermos flasks making up the minority of the ones I have found,) but you are still following a set path.

      Personally, as I grew up playing the likes of the original Max Payne, this seems fine in my book and I very much enjoyed the couple of hours I spent with it last night. It may not be the best thing around, but it still has a great atmosphere and a nice stab at telling an actual story (again, just based on the opening episode. This opinion may change.)

  23. deadly.by.design says:

    “Previously, on Dick Justice…”

    I guess Remedy’s in-game entertainment doesn’t work as well in the psychological thriller genre. That’s the kind of thing I’ll miss in Rockstar’s Max Payne.

  24. RobF says:

    I’m not really very far into it at all, just past the tutorial in fact. However, I’m stuck trying to work out if that was the biggest most colossal bag of balls opening I’ve ever seen to a game or quite the work of inspired genius. I think I’m leaning towards the former but I’m just not sure.

  25. Brumisator says:

    Uh… I’m thinking Alec Meer is angry at something completely unrelated to the game.

    Why all this hatred?

  26. Sunjammer says:

    Alan Wake disappointed me so much I could get shouty about it. It’s the third game to do that in any genuine fashion, after Ubi’s Prince of Persia reboot and Bioware’s Jade Empire.

    Alan Wake gets nearly everything wrong. The writing is atrocious; This dude is supposed to be some sort of Stephen King dude, yet every single page you collect of his writing is some of the most awful shit imaginable. Alan Wake the author is August Derleth to Lovecraft, a simulacra. The notion appears to be that pulp writers have got it easy; Remedy treated pulp fiction with the most superficial of respect.

    The game initially seems to offer a slow burn, but instead turns into a corridor crawl against the same four enemies around the same annoying mechanic for the duration. When the game resorts to randomly flinging physics objects at you I couldn’t take it anymore. It was just so damn lazy. This is a game that wants to be a horror game but hasn’t the faintest idea what horror is.

    You know shit has hit the fan when I remember the most recent Alone in the Dark reboot as a superior version of a similar idea, or that Deadly Premonition was a creepier and more well-rounded game.

    Alan Wake is easily Remedy’s weakest. It messes about with the aesthetics of cheap paperback literature and becomes just that.

    • Echo Black says:

      “The notion appears to be that pulp writers have got it easy; Remedy treated pulp fiction with the most superficial of respect. ”

      I actually noticed that. You can sort of tell their intent was to offer homage to pulpy horror literature. But their writing is honestly not up to the task. I don’t think the manuscript pages were meant to be aspiring-writer-bad as someone else mentioned in the comments thread, since you definitely see traces of the same “eh” writing all over the main narrative of the game. It’s easily above the writing you get from your average video game, sure, but not by much.

      I wonder how much MS is to blame for it. Could the game’s narrative have been dumbed down? I want to think the folks of Remedy are better than this, ’cause for all its good moments (they hit the right keys with atmosphere quite often), most of it is sophomoric. Clearly showing my bias against the console bros here, but all the tacked-on shooting/action (why am I dodging thrown axes while firing a shotgun, again?) that’s grossly at odds with the atmosphere of the game gives me reason to believe MS influenced Remedy to change more than just a bit of the game.

    • Vandelay says:

      I wouldn’t say the writing was bad in the manuscripts I have found so far, just flat and uninspiring. Basically, they come across as your usual game writing, so a little disappointing after the metaphor spewing of Max Payne.

      It is interesting noticing the difference between the majority of the manuscripts and the ones from his published novel, ‘Sudden Stop’, though. The two I’ve found so far really are gloriously over the top nonsense, straight out of the Max Payne style. I have no idea where the plot is going with the manuscripts, but I imagine the different style is very much intentional.

    • Sunjammer says:

      See I was under the impression Alan Wake was a successful writer, not a shit one, but then I remembered the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Maybe it’s actually some sort of clever dig on Remedy’s part. Regardless I came away from it thinking the game pretentious; It has the best references and the best intentions, but it’s a game where you shoot zombies with your “heavy flashlight” and physics objects are tossed in your face. If all the game has to offer beyond that is poor imitations of Twin Peaks and a 90s Stephen King miniseries, I can’t conceive of a reason for the game to exist.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      SPOILER ALERT

      The reason the manuscript pages are “atrocious” is that they were essentially written by the dark presence. They were not Alan sitting down with a cup of Joe and writing his story, his way. He physically typed the manuscript, but the game tells you a few times that it was being “heavily revised” by the lady in the cabin with him. It was an incantation at that, something written only to alter reality, so naturally it wasn’t meant to be judged or even seen by another human being.

      I didn’t find anything about the way they did the combat “lazy”. I thought the way the Taken were designed to all move differently and at times unpredictably made fighting them more addictive than anything. Also loved just the way everything LOOKED, from the cinematics (obviously there to go with TV series feel they were clearly aiming for) to the way the enemies “disappeared” when you killed them.

      Lastly, if you think they were trying to make this game a horror game, that means you either can’t read (because they tell you on the front of the case that it’s a Thriller) or you just don’t know the difference between Horror and Thriller. That’s not Remedy’s fault by any stretch of the imagination.

  27. captain nemo says:

    Product placement, no thanks. Will skip this one

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      They actually do product placement RIGHT in this game. I mean, it’s never where it breaks some mood you’re supposed to be in, but in the moments it’s used it’s blatant enough where you don’t feel like they’re exposing you to subliminal advertising! And there’s a particularly humorous use of it in Episode 4.

  28. razorblade79 says:

    I love the game, it has such an amazing atmosphere and I never was annoyed by the 3 different enemies you fight over and over. The setting, the music, the visuals and the weird story always got me moving forward. From a simple gameplay point I’d suggest just playing Resident Evil 4 or Dead Space but I thought Alan Wake was quite unique enough in a lot of ways to be up there for me.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      Same here. And while enemy models do repeat, critics over-exaggerate it like no one’s business. Remedy did a great job of changing up Alan’s predicaments (objectives, inventory, environments) so you don’t really notice the repetition unless you’re trying to fixate on it.

  29. wazups2x says:

    It’s a great console port other than the bad mouse acceleration. Hoping they fix that in a patch!

    Going to stop playing until a patch is (hopefully) released.

  30. avrus96 says:

    Hey guys, I found a video from when I cared whether this game would have a PC version! http://youtu.be/D3HybhZjcGE Upload date: September 2006.

  31. Acorino says:

    >Is he mad, in a coma, or back in time? Er, wrong teased-out mystery.

    Oooh, I just finished watching past week. The ending wasn’t quite worth all the teasing, but I’ve seen worse (Lost). Well, there is the sequel series…Life on Mars is a better song to build a whole series around than Ashes to Ashes is though; I hope it isn’t worse for it.

  32. phenom_x8 says:

    The thermosflask, glad you mentioned it first alec. Thats the most silly feature in a horror game I’ve ever heard of . Yes, Im not yet bought it in both platform, and maybe never (except in huge discount) especially after read your wit. I’m still very dissapointed with remedy for how easily they sold themselves to MS not to release this on PC back then.

    But I think thats the right things to do because it will never be the same Alan Wake, especially after the MS treatment towards many of its promised game feature in 2006 as I read it at Computer Gaming World Nov 2006 (semi open world bright falls with 36 square miles that larger than manhattan itself. Hilarious)

    And after your last interview with remedy that said it was outsourced PC port while they work for AW American Nightmare, my heart was badly hurt (for the 2nd time after John Carmack said that PC is not their main audience anymore with RAGE). This port is certainly not a celebration toward their PC comeback, but just another cash grabber reaction regarding to PC market growth momentum.

  33. UncleLou says:

    Bought it, like it a lot, although I don’t disagree with the WIT.

    Another thing, though: I’ve read a really, really old preview, from 2006, to find out, if possible, what has changed during e development. And lo and behold: it says there that “Alan Wake is a strictly linear affair”. That does not sound at all like it ever was the open-world adventure game I thought it was, unless they just mean the plot. Or do I need to go further back even than 2006?

  34. engion3 says:

    I REALLY LIKE THIS GAME AND I USUALLY DONT LIKE MUCH AND THE SONG AT THE END OF CHAPTER ONE I CANT STOP DANCING. HELP ME. DANCE.

    its got adjustable fov, hasnt crashed, and i dont need a texture pack. i give it a 10/10

  35. Thermal Ions says:

    “Alan can activate a super-bright, quasi-mystical mode that burns through a battery in seconds, in response to which he can either insert a new, Energizer-branded battery or just wait and it’ll magically recharge.”

    It’s obviously a dual power sourced torch that can be run from a battery and/or a dynamo that through movement stores a charge in a built in capacitor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanically-powered_flashlight

  36. Beelzebud says:

    Here is wot I think. The setting, and story are amazing. It’s like watching a mix of X-Files and Twin Peaks with some Stephen King thrown in.

    But….. And it’s a big one….

    The poor excuse for combat utterly ruins any positive traits the game has. From the clumsy character movement, to the camera, to the whole flashlight mechanic, it is just bad. Also way too much wandering in the woods. It really starts to feel like filler. I want to like this game, but I find myself becoming more and more annoyed with the combat as I play it. At this point I’d run it in god mode if I could just to wrap up the story.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      I found the combat addictive. I’ve played the game seven times now, mostly returning for the combat and atmosphere. And what do you mean “clumsy”? When you try to control Alan, what does he do? I never had any issues with that, and the flashlight mechanic was a welcome change for me as I had grown tired of simply pointing and shooting like in every other shooter *yawn*

      Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  37. Dhatz says:

    I just came to play it from Darkness 2, and I like the dark side better.

  38. engion3 says:

    i dont know why the announce when enemies appear with insane music and slowdown. takes all the scariness right out.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      It’s not supposed to have a lot of jump-scares. It’s Thriller, not Horror. And they present the Taken (occasionally! not all the time) to complement the TV series feel they were obviously going for.

      All that being said, it sure didn’t dispel the tension when I played my first time through!

  39. DocSeuss says:

    …In reading, and re-reading the WIT, I couldn’t help but feel that you wanted to dislike the game, Alec, or, at least, that you were looking for reasons to hate on it.

    I have no way of knowing how you approach your games, but it seems strange to me that you’d harp on just how unrealistic thermoses and flashlight beams that drain batteries are in a game that’s ultimately about fighting people who are possessed by a dark presence and gain a host of supernatural powers at the expense of their sense of self.

    Surely you’ve heard of, um, video games, right? Lots of them feature collectibles, like the Assassin’s Creed games, Prototype, and so on and so forth. In Alan Wake, they exist to encourage you to explore off the beaten path, and they work well in that regard. The game’s supposed to be somewhat scary, and in doing so, encourages the player to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. Having collectibles means that you’re less likely to do that and more likely to try exploring.

    The flashlight? Well, so what if you can boost it and drain the batteries quicker. Max Payne had slow-mo with no explanation whatsoever. Why on earth would this be considered a valid complaint, unless you were some sort of major grumpykins who doesn’t like it when games aren’t 100% realistic?

    Then you complain about how the maps are all exceedingly linear… but… the… game is linear. I’d think that Mass Effect 2 would be considered a worse game, because for all the planets you can go to, the maps themselves are significantly smaller than Alan Wake’s and offer very little gameplay freedom or variety. Alan varies its locales enough to make every encounter a unique one. There’s a rotating bridge there, here’s a rock n’ roll stage fight over there, and so on and so forth. You do know that linearity is a viable method of play, right? As it stands, Alan Wake’s got several maps which are vastly larger than anything you might find in, say, Half-Life or Max Payne, both some of the best games EVER MADE. Being a sandbox would have hurt more than helped them. Okay, okay, admittedly, Wake’s maps are not-quite Crysis-sized, but so what? Alan Wake had ONE (ONE!) tech demo that showed that they could make huge, open maps. Even the older designs, however, demonstrate that they were thinking about making it linear right from the get-go. Sure, your only motivation to go exploring is because you might find more supplies or collectibles, but so what? What else would you do? Attack their bases from different angles, as Crysis promised? These guys don’t even have bases.

    And what’s this about repetition? You shine a flashlight at people and you shoot them. Great! Find me a shooter in which shooting doesn’t fit that same criteria! Would you call them repetitive? I certainly wouldn’t! Admittedly, a lot of Alan Wake’s encounters are about dudes who come out of nowhere and attack you, but so what? The Dead Space games do it, Aliens vs Predator 2 did it, and so have many other excellent games.

    …but, you know, why am I even arguing this?

    You’re the guy who likes Dear Esther for being a game in which someone walks around while having a story told at them. I’d like to put this next bit nicely, but I don’t really know how: what the fuck, man?

    Alan Wake is a linear third person shooter that aims to feel like a b-grade psychological thriller, the same way Max Payne was a linear third person shooter that aimed to capture that sense of being somewhere between a John Woo film and a schlocky noir novel.

    I’m watching 1984 right this second. I’m at the scene in which the guys are discussing the dissolution of language, and how absurd and unnecessary all these words are. You remind me of them. You’re saying that Dear Esther, a game in which your only interaction with the world is how you move, is significantly better than Alan Wake, a competent third person shooter (only because it could vary up the way in which you kill enemies, which isn’t really a problem when you compare it to games like Half-Life 2 or Call of Duty) with a lot of traditional video game mechanics and a kickass story.

    Every problem you have with Alan Wake seems to be something that literally everyone considers normal about other video games. What the fuck, seriously? By nitpicking over Alan Wake for having normal, commonly-accepted gameplay mechanics, and by suggesting that it ought to be something else entirely (either a sandbox or a game-without-gameplay, like Dear Esther), it sounds like you’re… well… being irrational. Your complaints aren’t normally considered problems in other games, so why here?

    If I were to hazard a guess why, it’d be that you’re nitpicking because you, like many others, are still upset with Remedy for releasing the game two years late, even though that was a case of their publisher dicking them over. Maybe you attribute that comfy couch quote to them, maybe you thought that Alan Wake was going to be a sandbox and are really pissed about that change, or maybe you’re pissed that they had Nitro port the game rather than do it themselves. I don’t know. These are the major complaints I’ve seen elsewhere, and the people who make these complaints often have the same gameplay complaints as you. That’s why I’m guessing you’re like them.

    I could be totally wrong, of course, but if I am, what other explanation could you possibly have for complaining about things in Alan Wake that nobody complains about in other games? Are you just someone who prefers all your games to be like Dear Esther?

    Whatever. One thing I do know is this: everyone I know who has come at Alan Wake with neutral expectations has come away loving it. They wouldn’t think twice about collectibles or flashlights or about how it wasn’t a sandbox, and rightfully so.

  40. Enso says:

    Gonna look for a way to unlock hard mode straight away. Normal mode is usually a breeze these days and so far this isn’t proving any different. I’m cruising.

    • DocSeuss says:

      They cut normal mode and swapped it out with hard, yo. Alan Wake’s PC normal mode was the console’s hard mode. Nightmare’s still the way to go, but don’t knock normal. This port managed to get even that right. :D

  41. ZX k1cka55 48K says:

    Disliked the first half of the game to the point where i wanted to stop playing, but now i’m glad that i didn’t. The game got “much” better towards the end.
    I guess the thing that bothered me the most were the fights, since it was always the same thing (crows and boogeyman)…it got old very fast.
    Environments looked absolutely stunning though.

  42. Tei says:

    Everything the article say is true, probably. But is still a very good videogame, and I am very happy It was finnaly released on PC. I was not looking forward for the game, but now that I have played it, I am happy for having giving the game one oportunity. It delivers.

  43. ohfouroneone says:

    I’m about half way trough this game and I’m still not at all used to the camera. Alan seems like his walking straight ahead of him, but he’s off to the right of the screen, so I expect him to go right but he instead goes to the center of the screen. It’s just confusing and weird.

  44. Frantics says:

    Man this shit’s so good one of my favourite games for sure if not my favourite and this is a world where grim fandango exists (i think). Amazing! Way cool soundtrack too. :)

    Don’t really get half of the shit you rps dudes write about it but thanks for the review.

    ‘it’s a metaphor for the game’s narrative structure’ hmmm. wait until he sees american nightmare heh (also great imo)

    Thanks a lot for porting it remedy, got a cool collector’s edition with extra stuff, thanks!

  45. Vic 2.0 says:

    1. The coffee thermoses are collectibles. They don’t HAVE to make sense or be part of the plot. This is the nature of video games. Some things are in them just for the fun/challenge! And I hope there is a stronger case against AW in the rest of your rant than this, or this is just going to be too easy…

    2. He’s not a horror author; he writes mystery novels. *gets a DP out of the fridge*

    3. So you ridicule the fact that he’s finding batteries and ammo laying around (Just a bit of thinking might’ve led you to the conclusion that they’re being left by Thomas Zane, who knows roughly where Alan is going to be because he’s the one with the manuscript)… only to suggest that he carry around what few floodlights he finds and then waste the time securing them to the next car? I’d sooner be looking for thermoses, frankly, than staying in one spot and turning my attention away from evil beings just so I can try to beef up a vehicle I don’t even know I’ll be able to take very far. Is the rest of your review going to be this inconsistent, well, we’ll see…

    4. The spin-off American Nightmare mentions the boost feature in the flashlights. But suffice to say that if you can buy all of the other fiction that can be found in practically every other video game in the world, this shouldn’t be so hard. At least Alan Wake tells you that, again, this is a written story being lived out by the protagonist. In this sense, it should be getting less grief about the lack of “realism”, not more. Oh yes, what sort of “minor obstacles” does Wake encounter and leave his vehicle over that a person in real life could just drive through? I’ll bet you can’t think of one.

    5. The game’s linear because, as AWAN proved, being able to choose where you go and when all the time saps all of the suspense and thrill out of the game. It’s a psychological thriller. What better way to accomplish this than trapping the protagonist and forcing you to work through what’s ahead by going straight through it? …I shouldn’t have had to explain that to you.

    6. You felt the combat was boring. Well this of course is purely subjective. I think it’s exciting and fun to be “juggling” between the gun and flashlight. I’ll agree with you on the ammo supply being a bit too generous. But on later playthroughs, it helps to have extra ammo for when you go looking for collectibles, etc. so I can’t complain. I just switch to Nightmare difficulty when I want more of a challenge.

    7. “Incoherency”, huh? What part didn’t you get? Looking over your review a second time, I’m realizing it’s mostly you saying you prefer a different sort of game, only in a language that makes it sound as if you’re addressing facts concerning the game and how it differs with whatever your faves may be. For example, you mention three types of settings to support your contention that the action is “rinse and repeat”, when we both know the environments are ever-changing, and you’re not in any of those three places but maybe half the duration of the game. Why didn’t you tell people that, hmmmmmm?

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