Alan Wake

[Multi Plat. ] - Review: A spooky horror story come to life, but is it award-winning?
The Details
  • Title: Alan Wake
  • Web: Official Site
  • Developer: Remedy Entertainment
  • Publisher: Microsoft
  • Released: 14 May, 2010
  •  
  • Platforms: PC XBox 360
  • Reviewed On: PC

Alan Wake is a psychological horror thriller.  It is definitely a thrilling ride, as you ponder your way through a nightmare of a story.

You play as Alan Wake, award-winning author.  However, his pen has run dry and he hasn’t been able to produce a good novel for a couple of years now.  This starts to change when his partner, Alice, takes him on vacation and surprises him with a type writer.  Alan frets about the pressures people are putting him under to write, and goes out to take some air.  That’s when things start to get weird.

Alice goes missing, seems she has been kidnapped, and to get her back, Alan has to find pieces of his manuscript that he has no recollection of writing, and finish off the missing pages himself.  All of this has to be resolved whilst he is being attacked by poltergeist, zombie type people called The Taken and police that think he is a nut job when he tries to explain his story to them.

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Shining the torch on The Taken, allows them to become weaker, thus easier to shoot.

It is all one mixed up over the top nightmare, and Alan just cannot seem to wake up.  Or is he really there?  This is what you have to ask yourself whilst playing through the game, you just have to keep going to find out how all of this is going to end.  It is a gripping storyline, and you can’t help but wonder how good a novel this would be to hold in your hands.

It feels and plays like it does on the Xbox 360, because it hasn’t really been improved any for the port across onto PC.  You can have all of the graphics on maximum level, yet they can still look slightly rough around the edges.  It isn’t the best looking game out there, but the story certainly makes up for that.  I cannot stop myself from going back for more.  The replay value is good, although you may only play through it twice before you do decide to place it on your shelf like a Dan Brown novel.

It gives you the option to read all of the manuscript pages you find, which can often give you a good idea about what is to come next.  Each level is broken down into chapters, and ends on a song.  I had to put thumbs up to the Roy Orbison ‘In Dreams’ song that came on at the end of chapter 1.  I like how it is broken down into a novel, giving the game that extra story feel.

The difficulty depends on your personal opinion.  I will hold my hands up and admit that this game scared me to the point where I had to run through it on easy mode.  I cannot stand being chased, especially by mutated human beings!  So I opted for the easiest difficulty.   I have heard though that normal difficulty can feel too easy for the more hard-core horror gamers.  Nightmare difficulty unlocks when you finish the game on normal or hard.  There are no achievements for completing the game on easy *sob* .

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It is very dark, make sure you follow the light!

One thing that I found frustrating to control, was his jumping actions and the cinematic dodging.  The controls for dodging didn’t feel right, he also felt as though he would run off in any direction you didn’t want him to when he became surrounded.  I was using an Xbox 360 pad to play this, and maybe it was just all a bit too sensitive for my liking.  Also, his jumping was almost ridiculous at times.  At one point he could have easily just climbed up a few rocks to reach his destination, but he was not programmed to climb them.  They weren’t even big rocks!  And the last but not least gripe I have, is his balance when it comes to walking across tree logs made for bridges.  It doesn’t feel right, almost like he is going to fall off any second.  For me, he has done, frustratingly enough.

If you love horror films/books and games, then this is for you.  The story isn’t too deep, but it certainly drags you in enough to keep wanting more.  I will leave you all with a tip.  Try and stay in the light.

Judgement
Pros:
  • Stunning graphics and audio with some fantastic scenery.
  • Interesting game play, though doesn't really wander from your standard adventure game.
  • Gripping story, though the Stephen King quotes get a little tiring. Yes, we know, you like the guy, geez.
Cons:
  • Occasional frustration with the controls.
Lozzykinz
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In my spare time I like to play games (obviously) and read. I'm a fan of DC Comics and manga.
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