Alan Wank (yes, I did it, I said it, buhuhu)

Alan Wake is the cow with purple spots which not only doesn't shit Milka chocolate but doesn't give any kind of milk at all. It's a cardboard cut-out of a famous bestseller which doesn't speak, doesn't move and sure as hell doesn't write good stories. The latter is evident after hearing the first sentence uttered by the protagonist as soon as the intro cut-scene starts. Even if we disregard the more than obnoxious redoing of Twin Peaks and every book Stephen King ever wrote (the one book he's redone a million times), or the fact Stephen King actually "borrowed" the idea of hundreds of other writers, it's thrown into your face every minute as if the Milka cow followed your every step and shit on your head whenever you turned around to see if it was still following you. Trust me, the shitty pop-culture references and Stephen King allusions will suffocate you until you reach the end of chapter 1, that's how much the developers trust you to think for yourself. Such a pity, the premise of the plot is interesting, if not original, yet even though you keep expecting the plot to reveal you've been insane all along or that everything is actually exactly how it looks like, neither happens. Do not for a second believe the plot dives into new lakes (har har har) of story-telling, there's nothing postmodern about it. In fact, the tedious, drawn-out, unnecessary and illogical hooks aren't there to reel in your thoughts but simply serve to prolong the excruciatingly slow cliff-hanger ending which really doesn't surprise the Milka cow, let alone anyone with more than two brain cells.

It's really not about the plot, even though the game pretends to emphasize story-telling and holds itself in high regard as an ingenious new way of communicating a complex piece of art to mere mortals. No, it's not about the shitty Stephen King plot, it's about the obnoxiously bad development and design the story desperately tries to cover up. The entire game is set within one single hallway. True, the room looks like a forest, but when reality hits and you open your eyes (right after the first intermezzo, once the game puts you back into the hallway, pardon me..forest) you'll realize how you can only go down a narrow path and how the scenery never changes. While many games have a similar approach, not a single game out there covered this shit up as perfectly as Alan Wake did, or at least thinks it does. Two other prime examples that come to mind would be Final Fantasy 13 and even better Lord of the Rings War in the North. However, those two games offer many different types of hallways, many different types of enemies, and a variety of other elements RPGs tend to offer. Alan Wake does none of these things.

The combat is explained in the tutorial at the beginning and it never evolves...at all. The gimmick of flashing your enemy with your flashlight is nothing but having to hold your invisible crosshair over your enemy for a few seconds before you can actually shoot it. That's it, there's nothing more to it. You aim for a few seconds and shoot. There's not even a zoom or anything. Every single enemy is killed this way, the only difference being how long you have to point your mouse at the enemy before you can kill it and how many bullets it needs to eat before it dies.

Enemies? Have I said enemies? I meant a cliché. Really, there's only one single type of enemy: a hill-billy bloke from any hack and slash (B) horror movie made in the USA. Of course the hill-billy will wear a jacket and cap and will look like a wood-cutter. Of course he will always wield an axe, a scythe or a chainsaw, did you really believe it would be different? I sure as hell couldn't believe how retarded the developers must believe I am to enjoy killing those utterly boring targets for more than five minutes. The sad part is that 95% of interaction in the game involves running through a narrow corridor that looks like a forest, at night, killing the same enemy in the same way, over and over and over and over again. For years I've listened to people complain how Call of Duty is repetitive and boring. CoD, a shooter with three times more weapons than Alan Wake, with many more ways of shooting, with enemies which actually care to dress differently, with a host of various locations each and every one of them looking entirely different than the previous one, can hardly be more boring than this piece of shit. Yet, for some reasons brainless reviewers tend to disagree and Alan Wake apparently is nothing like Call of Duty, right?

The cut-scenes are simply that...movies to be watched and not interacted with. The very few moments or relief when you follow an npc who is explaining something important or when you're looking through your stuff in your apartment are ridiculously retarded due to several bad development choices. For instance Alan turns as if he's being slapped by Chuck Norris himself, too heavy, too hard. The atrocious camera always has you fiddling with the mouse trying to find a suitable way of dealing with the scene at hand. At this point I should point out Alan tries hard to be a Resident Evil 4 rip off. The difference is RE, and for that matter any Capcom game, doesn't put emphasis on story because the developers at Capcom know a retarded five year old can write better than they do. Instead, the game focuses on what little it has left, namely gameplay. Indeed, whatever RE4 did wrong Alan does worse. RE4 had a bad plot, Alan has an atrocious plot. RE4 has retarded controls and camera, Alan feels like he's being raped with a crowbar every 2 seconds. RE4 has a handful of different enemies; Alan has one...and birds, crows to be specific, wouldn't want an owl to be part of the story would we? This isn't Harry Potter. Honestly, when Capcom does something better than you it's a clear sign you shouldn't only quit game development entirely but should move to another planet.

Really, Alan's movements altogether are atrocious. When you jump you never jump an few centimetres, it's always two meters, which means you'll either have to back off half a meter otherwise you'll end up jumping over a narrow platform or you'll end up with your face against the wall...which doesn't trigger any scene but looks really retarded. Alan runs like a five year old child. Ezio (Assassin's Creed) never got tired a? Well imagine this, Alan does get tired but only if you actually sprint, and he gets tired after only 5 seconds. However, Alan can run (not sprint) for hours without ever having to use a deodorant. It's like having a car which will run out of juice after 5 seconds if you drive above 80, but if you go 60 you can drive for millions of years without needing a refill.

You can and unfortunately will drive a car too. This by far is the worst part of the game. Driving a car feels like you're standing on a bar of soap, in the middle of a frozen lake. Handling bad? Who cares when you've got enemies who literally just scratch your car with a scythe and it starts oozing black smoke as if you had taken it for a WRC tour. The worst of it all is the fact that there's really no need for you to drive the car at all. It's just boring and meaningless gameplay which could have been a simple cut-scene. Just like RE4 you get to interact with the game only when you need to kill enemies (and commit genocide, seriously where the fuck do the wood-cutters come from? Sure, the darkness has taken over them, but you end up killing more people than the population of the town is). Why would you want to speak to someone directly? Why would you want to do something meaningful? Nope, better go from point A to point B, then to point C, then to point B, then to point C, then to point A, then to point C... Indeed, Alan has you backtracking and just running and driving through the same hallway over and over and over again.

Driving the car, battling enemies and simply looking at the screen starts to get frustratingly boring after just having it done once. By the time the game got to the last chapter I was whishing it would crash and fuck up my save game file so that I would have to start from the beginning...which of course I wouldn't do.
Overall the game is just a really bad movie, done so many times before, which also makes you press the same buttons at the same time...a million times. The collectibles only worsen it. Finding random cans and flasks hardly makes the hallway...I mean the forest, any more believable. The chapters Alan supposedly wrote and finds scattered throughout the game are everything but a nifty plot device, which I'm sure the writers thought they would be. If anything they only demystify the story and warn you about any dangers up ahead. Yes, that means that if I read about getting attacked by a hill-billy with a chainsaw, and not an axe, that means that I won't really be surprised when it happens 2 minutes later. Of course, you kill that enemy the same way you kill the others, it just takes longer.

The music is great, especially some of the soundtracks like The Poet and the Muse, but listening to a few songs before the end of each chapter really won't dig this shit; I mean this chocolate of the cow's ass.
The characterization is utterly bad. Just like any shallow Hollywood horror movie you've got the typical mystified, emo, self-loving and self-hating, egocentric yet charming and handsome artist. There's the really annoying and fat side-kick who somehow, despite being as handy with a gun as Capcom is with a pen, survives everything. Of course, the story wouldn't be anything without the hot chick that has some weird fear and just wants to cuddly wuddly pum pum snuggle with the main character. The arch enemy, the epitome of evil, darkness itself, no character, no motive, no history, no plan, sounds like religion?

Not enough clichés? Well then, listen carefully. Alan decides to go on vacation because he has writer's block, which is the premise of the story. His wife has a phobia, she fears darkness. What happens? He decides to go to a strange and creepy town somewhere behind God's legs. The town, engulfed in a dark mist, surrounded by kilometres of dense forests, isn't enough. No, the writer takes his wife to the lake, just outside of town, to a cabin on a small island right in the centre of the lake. Guess what? The cabin runs on some old gasoline pumped motor. Alan sure loves his wife. Who is his enemy? Well, darkness himself, or herself, no less. Really, I was just waiting for a picture of Stephen King to pop up on a billboard while I was driving; I mean sliding, the car through the forest; I mean hallway.

More? What more do you want? Would I recommend the game? Hell no...unless of course you've never read anything Stephen King ever wrote, or you didn't see Twin Peaks. If that's the case then sure, Alan Wake is a bit less annoying then the aforementioned two. However, if that isn't the case then stay far far far away from this piece of shit.

I can respect the fact that you disliked the game but on your opinion of it, I wholeheartedly disagree. I think you are being very harsh on it's linearity and plot. You misrepresent it entirely where game mechanics, level design and where characterisation
/motivations are concerned. If you are going to criticise a game for its use of established gameplay mechanics you should probably go find a game that actually fails to use them correctly instead of picking on a game you happened to not enjoy in an attempt to spoil it for others. A critic should be objective in this sense.

In a land of Cod clones, copy+paste MMO's, the complete disappearence of space flight games and RPG/Action/Fps/Adventure/Driving Sim/Sandbox games with terrbile endings I have to say the little breeze of fresh air that was Alan Wake is entirely welcome.

I thought the game had sound mechanics, a more than servicable plot, great pacing and some interestingly normal characters (no space marines in sight). It is a self-admitted homage to Stephen King yes but it was also the most atmospheric, vulnerability inducing, genuinely frighting experience I've had with a game since the days of Silent Hill...

And it does have an exceedingly good soundtrack... Nobody should feel put off by this smear job and trust the real critics. This game is a GEM. Go and play it.

I consider myself to be pretty picky when it comes to that type of games, but I liked it a lot. I refused to buy into the hype when it first came, and it wasn't until it was cheap on XBL I finally bought it. The game did a good job of what it tried to do, and it wasn't too short either. Its also funny that you call it a RE rip off when RE was a Alone in the Dark rip off.(Haha!)

For me it was a 7/10 and a strong 7 too, because unlike most games it kept my interest for what was hiding behind the next corner.

This reads a lot more like a rant than a review. It feels like you're trying to emulate the style of Sterling or Yahtzee, but missing the critical thinking they exhibit when they review something. Also, by titling your thread Alan Wank, you come across as slightly immature before I've even read a sentence of your review and you've already played your hand as to what your opinion is. I appreciate that you're aiming for an entertaining tone, but your humour could be higher brow and you're at risk of forgetting that reviews are designed first and foremost to critically inform, not just be an outpouring of needless rage.

@Raven's Nest
CoD clones offer more variety than Alan Wake, I've mentioned why.
MMOs certainly do too.

Interesting and normal characters? Sure...if you like the cliché set pieces of every American B horror movie "Let's split up so we get killed easier" then this is certainly for you. If so however get the hell of this page.

You thought this, you thought that...I've provided sound arguments for my claims. Either do so too or stop claiming you can differentiate a real critic from a smear job.

@scni
I don't remember asking for your opinion whether this is a rant, a review or a Pokemon. Like I said, I've provided sound arguments for my claims. I couldn't care less how I come across or how you think this written text should be called. Either provide sound arguments that refute mine, when it comes to the game itself, or leave the thread. K thanks.

Raven's Nest:
Ah, so you appear to be a hack and asshole to anyone who disagrees with you. I won't waste another keystroke.

Once again you fail to argument your case. You didn't provide a single argument for your "I disagree." Either address some key points or simply don't respond at all. I couldn't care less what YOU believe a review is or should be, nor could I care less about what YOU think of me.

I'm sick and tired of people disagreeing yet completely lacking any arguments to support their case, thus commenting the form, style, genre of writing...and inevitably my own character.

It's simply really. Imagine this is Mass Effect and you have a Paragon or Renegade choice:

1. Disagree and argument your case.

2. Leave.

Amarganth:

@scni
I don't remember asking for your opinion whether this is a rant, a review or a Pokemon.

Then why did you do us the disfavor of sharing your terrible opinion on Alan Wake, why not use notepad and store the review in my documents?

Amarganth:

Guy from the 80's:

Amarganth:

@scni
I don't remember asking for your opinion whether this is a rant, a review or a Pokemon.

Then why did you do us the disfavor of sharing your terrible opinion on Alan Wake, why not use notepad and store the review in my documents?

What kind of logic is that? Do I walk down the street with a desire to be pissed on or showered with flowers? Unlike you I do not put on clothes according to the latest fashion but because it's cold outside.

Why didn't you store your terrible opinion on my opinion on your computer? Why did you share it with us?

I didn't expect anything more intelligent from a person who arguments his statement "your terrible opinion" by stooping down to slander of character.

Hello newbie. Post anything on a forum and you make yourself vulnerable to criticism. That's simply how it works. Makes things more interesting. You'll have to find a way to deal with it, because you cannot make people leave.

veloper:

Hello newbie. Post anything on a forum and you make yourself vulnerable to criticism. That's simply how it works. Makes things more interesting. You'll have to find a way to deal with it, because you cannot make people leave.

Sigh...and how does your comment have anything to do with the topic? If it's not people commenting the OP it's people giving advice, being the savior, the wise old fart.

It's as if you're telling your wife how lovely and beautiful she is and she then proceeds to talk about the weather. It's not interesting, it's annoying, meaningless and rude.

Amarganth:

Unlike you I do not put on clothes according to the latest fashion but because it's cold outside.

Why didn't you store your terrible opinion on my opinion on your computer? Why did you share it with us?

I didn't expect anything more intelligent from a person who arguments his statement "your terrible opinion" by stooping down to slander of character.

Ok, lets break this thread down in chronological order.

That you want to share a review is fine, that you spent time and effort in writing it is also fine. But you fail as a reviewer as soon as anyone reads yours because not only do you manage to offend people who like this game calling them people with no more than two brain cells, but you also offend serious reviewers who do it for a living calling them brainless.

Then Raven's Nest and scnj posts decent posts saying what you did wrong, something you should be thankful for because its an opportunity for you to learn. But instead of learning from it you dont listen, don't accept criticism, and attack people for voicing their opinion. This tells me that reviewing is a cul de sac for you. Because you are obviously indifferent to whether people like your work or not. It also tells me you get offended by constructive criticism, and have no sense of producer-customer relationships. Because thats what reviewers are, they are producing a product for consumers. so if you disagree with peoples opinion, why are you writing reviews?

Its fine that you dont like Alan Wake, but you do a poor job at explaining why. Your whole review could be summed up by very few words. Something like this : "alan wank sucks and anyone who disagree are idiots".

Guy from the 80's:

Amarganth:

Unlike you I do not put on clothes according to the latest fashion but because it's cold outside.

Why didn't you store your terrible opinion on my opinion on your computer? Why did you share it with us?

I didn't expect anything more intelligent from a person who arguments his statement "your terrible opinion" by stooping down to slander of character.

Ok, lets break this thread down in chronological order.

That you want to share a review is fine, that you spent time and effort in writing it is also fine. But you fail as a reviewer as soon as anyone reads yours because not only do you manage to offend people who like this game calling them people with no more than two brain cells, but you also offend serious reviewers who do it for a living calling them brainless.

Then Raven's Nest and scnj posts decent posts saying what you did wrong, something you should be thankful for because its an opportunity for you to learn. But instead of learning from it you dont listen, don't accept criticism, and attack people for voicing their opinion. This tells me that reviewing is a cul de sac for you. Because you are obviously indifferent to whether people like your work or not. It also tells me you get offended by constructive criticism, and have no sense of producer-customer relationships. Because thats what reviewers are, they are producing a product for consumers. so if you disagree with peoples opinion, why are you writing reviews?

Its fine that you dont like Alan Wake, but you do a poor job at explaining why. Your whole review could be summed up by very few words. Something like this : "alan wank sucks and anyone who disagree are idiots".

Ok, lets break this response down in chronological order.

I don't care whether I offend people or not. Those people who are actually surprised with the ending aren't particularly intelligent. That's a fact. That's not the point of the review and the fact you point that out first shows a lot. Btw did you ask Yahtzee to stop "offending people?"

There is no such thing as a serious reviewer, just people who get payed to do exactly the stuff we all do from time to time. I never called "serious" reviewers brainless. I've yet to see a logical argument to support the numbers speaking in favour of Alan Wake, hence the reviewers fail. You can only be so much "serious." As such, people who claim this or that without any arguments other than "I like/don't like" are brainless. The world is filled with them. Just ask your neighbour 15 year old why she likes Justin Bieber. She wont have any logical arguments but she'll be offended if you argument Bieber being a (insert favourite noun). Besides, I couldn't care less who gets offended, it's not like world-hunger isn't an issue. Oh dear, someone got offended? Heavens, whatever shall we do?!

I have nothing to learn when it comes to writing reviews. You might disagree but that's just your opinion. I don't think I did anything wrong. Everyone is a critic nowadays and everyone knows better. The point is a) I didn't ask for anyone's advice, opinion or criticism, and b) if you know better than don't waste time telling me how it should be done and do it yourself.

Opinions are like bellybuttons.

Of course I'm indifferent to whether people like my work or not. All that matters to me is that I do. I do.

Producer-costumer relationship is exactly the crap which spawned Twilight, Harry Potter, Stephen King, pop music, religion, reality tv...etc etc etc.

I am writing reviews because I like writing reviews...from time to time. You might disagree with my opinion stated in the above review. If you do than feel free to state your own opinion and back it up with arguments just like I did. I don't care about your opinion of style or form of writing.

Once again you fail at exactly those things I've mentioned many times before. "You do a poor job at explaining why." Proof? Arguments? That's just your opinion. I've explicitly stated why I think the game sucks, from game mechanics to game content. You're that 15 year old Justin Bieber fan who can't deal with someone having sound arguments against your favourite pop icon and than stoop to commenting how the person looks, talks, walks, speaks rather than addressing your own inability to deal with criticism (projecting much?). K thanks

Amarganth:

Btw did you ask Yahtzee to stop "offending people?"

Yahtzee is funny, he has talent. You are neither funny nor talented. Good bye.

 

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