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Spooky shooter Alan Wake returns to stores and cheap as chips

I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards

While a twist happy ending might undermine a horror story (I'm looking at you, Stephen King), it's a greatly appreciated thing in games right now, and today's pleasant twist: Alan Wake is back. Soundtrack fully intact and only a couple quid right now, too. Remedy's spook'o-shooter was pulled from stores after its music licenses expired - killed by Roy Orbison. Fortunately developers Remedy have manged to wrangle things back together. The game is back on major stores and 80% discounted until Halloween, along with standalone expansion American Nightmare.

I never could quite figure if Alan Wake was meant to be taken at face value, or whether it was thick in ironic humour. Titular character Alan Wake (A.Wake, geddit?) seems to be slipping between reality and the spooky world of his own trashy horror novels. It's all a bit Garth Margenghi's Darkplace (if you've never watched it, do so) by way of Max Payne. Still, it makes for an interestingly different set of shooter mechanics, as you can only hurt enemies once their shield of darkness is destroyed by shining bright lights on them, and a flare gun does double duty.

Cover image for YouTube video

Not only is it nice to see the game back on digital shelves in time for Halloween, but there's a TV show in the works. Given that the game itself is broken up into neat episodic chunks that mirror the pacing of TV, it seems a match made in heaven - now to find out how they manage to foul it up. Still, even if they do, Remedy's upcoming Control looks rather swish, and seems to have a little bit of Alan Wake's supernatural shooting to it. Oh, and once you've had your fill of Alan Wake, I highly recommend Noah Caldwell-Gervais's dissection of it (and The Evil Within) here on YouTube.

Alan Wake is back on Steam, Humble and GOG for around £2.28/2.50/$3. The collectors edition (featuring a very extensive dev commentary mode) cost a tiny bit more, and for just a few pennies above that you can get the Franchise Pack, which includes decent little spinoff/expansion American Nightmare.

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Alan Wake

Xbox 360, PC

Alan Wake's American Nightmare

Xbox 360, PC

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Dominic Tarason