Review: Alan Wake

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Review: Alan Wake

Part Twin Peaks, part Silent Hill, all brilliant.

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Hmmm, If the story is highly recommended then I may very well have to give this a try. I recently bought and played through Borderlands so I am looking for something with a little more depth.

That said it's fairly expensive for a single player, story driven game (less re-playability) so I may give a it a little while to come down in price before buying.

I still can't get over the fact that huge flying objects just casually bump off Alan.

Although it does look pretty schweet.

Spoilers? Uhh, I'll have to hold off this review for about a week, then.

Damn wish I had a 360.

Very, very tempting. A brilliant review, and mostly spoiler free. I happen to think that anything that happens within the first five minutes or so of a game isn't that spoilerific, like the Normandy getting wrecked in Mass Effect 2.

I know this may sound like a stupid question, but what it the aim-assist like in this game? While its a game I'd like to play, I don't enjoy playing shooters on consoles as I alway find aiming difficult. If its good I'l probably buy on release. If its bad, I'll wait and prey for a PC release.

A review with spoilers? What a brilliant idea. I'll not be watching this then.

EDIT: Based on the above comments I'm gonna risk it

Plinglebob:
I know this may sound like a stupid question, but what it the aim-assist like in this game? While its a game I'd like to play, I don't enjoy playing shooters on consoles as I alway find aiming difficult. If its good I'l probably buy on release. If its bad, I'll wait and prey for a PC release.

Oh, actually, that's a really good question. Your flashlight acts as your aim, so whatever it's beam hits is what you shoot. It works beautifully. Of course, for weapons like the flare gun or the flash bang, you don't have to be nearly so precise.

Also, with regard to spoilers, in the review, I cover only the most basic, basic of plot. If you've read anything about Alan Wake to this point, you most likely already know the few things I mention. As for the video, the spoilers in it are gameplay-related, not story - you see things that don't become available until later in the game. You will also see Episode names. I don't reveal any plot points other than, again, the most basic premise of the game. They're very minor spoilers, in my opinion, but I prefer to over-warn than ruin someone's experience.

I was thinking of picking this up. The plot of the story and the tensions I've seen reviewers describe seem amazing. I've also judged the gameplay and it does look like a preety creepy game.

Now Alan Wake, or Nier? Dammit! I'm so conflicted!

Susan Arendt:

Plinglebob:
I know this may sound like a stupid question, but what it the aim-assist like in this game? While its a game I'd like to play, I don't enjoy playing shooters on consoles as I alway find aiming difficult. If its good I'l probably buy on release. If its bad, I'll wait and prey for a PC release.

Oh, actually, that's a really good question. Your flashlight acts as your aim, so whatever it's beam hits is what you shoot. It works beautifully. Of course, for weapons like the flare gun or the flash bang, you don't have to be nearly so precise.

Also, with regard to spoilers, in the review, I cover only the most basic, basic of plot. If you've read anything about Alan Wake to this point, you most likely already know the few things I mention. As for the video, the spoilers in it are gameplay-related, not story - you see things that don't become available until later in the game. You will also see Episode names. I don't reveal any plot points other than, again, the most basic premise of the game. They're very minor spoilers, in my opinion, but I prefer to over-warn than ruin someone's experience.

May I ask how long it took to complete? Game developers always state how many hours worth of game-play there are, but they always exaggerate.

I like story driven games, but not if they are ridiculously short.

Susan Arendt:

Also, with regard to spoilers, in the review, I cover only the most basic, basic of plot. If you've read anything about Alan Wake to this point, you most likely already know the few things I mention. As for the video, the spoilers in it are gameplay-related, not story - you see things that don't become available until later in the game. You will also see Episode names. I don't reveal any plot points other than, again, the most basic premise of the game. They're very minor spoilers, in my opinion, but I prefer to over-warn than ruin someone's experience.

Thanks for clarifying. I've really been enjoying the Bright Falls mini series. It definitely effs with your head.

Curious though, did you find the story predictable? I've been waiting so long for this game that I'd hate to be disappointed.

Oh man oh man oh man!
I WANT MY COPY NOOOOOW.
It looks so epic.

I've heard that while the story is structured and paced extremely well, that the diologe makes the characters seem stiff and awkward, did you ever have that problem?

Legion:

Susan Arendt:

Plinglebob:
I know this may sound like a stupid question, but what it the aim-assist like in this game? While its a game I'd like to play, I don't enjoy playing shooters on consoles as I alway find aiming difficult. If its good I'l probably buy on release. If its bad, I'll wait and prey for a PC release.

Oh, actually, that's a really good question. Your flashlight acts as your aim, so whatever it's beam hits is what you shoot. It works beautifully. Of course, for weapons like the flare gun or the flash bang, you don't have to be nearly so precise.

Also, with regard to spoilers, in the review, I cover only the most basic, basic of plot. If you've read anything about Alan Wake to this point, you most likely already know the few things I mention. As for the video, the spoilers in it are gameplay-related, not story - you see things that don't become available until later in the game. You will also see Episode names. I don't reveal any plot points other than, again, the most basic premise of the game. They're very minor spoilers, in my opinion, but I prefer to over-warn than ruin someone's experience.

May I ask how long it took to complete? Game developers always state how many hours worth of game-play there are, but they always exaggerate.

I like story driven games, but not if they are ridiculously short.

Well, that depends on whether or not you go looking for everything. You can rush through Episodes fairly quickly by running from fights and just sticking to the path, but it's a far more interesting experience if you take your time. To be perfectly honest with you, though, I have no idea how much total time I spent in the game. All I can tell you is, I would look up and three or four hours would have gone by without me noticing pretty much every time I played. I don't think you'll feel cheated, though.

aaronmcc:

Curious though, did you find the story predictable? I've been waiting so long for this game that I'd hate to be disappointed.

Nope, though I also tend to put that "let me figure this out" part of my brain on hold when I'm really enjoying a story. I had some suspicions along the way, some of which were accurate, some which weren't. If you just let the story take you where it wants to go, I think you'll really enjoy it.

Not G. Ivingname:
I've heard that while the story is structured and paced extremely well, that the diologe makes the characters seem stiff and awkward, did you ever have that problem?

Can't say that I did, no. Well, let me clarify that. In some cases, you'll be near a character who continues to speak to you even after their "necessary" bit of dialogue with you is over. Example (not actually from the game): You walk into a hotel and ask the desk clerk for your room key. All he has to say is "Here you go, Mr. Wake" and give you the key, at which point, gamewise, you're supposed to walk away and go to your room. If instead you stick around, rather than have him standing there mute, he continues to make small talk.

Those situations come up fairly frequently, and can sound a bit forced at times. But it never pulled me out of the experience or broke the immersion for me.

Thank you! My god this game has been bugging me forever. I keep hearing about it, seeing ads and just about everything else you can imagine but I had absolutely no idea what it was or what it was about. It was a bit of ignorance on my part but finally knowing exactly what it is I am very happy to know this is more then worth a nice 5 day rental and a few nights being scared of my cats glowing eyes.

Susan Arendt:

Plinglebob:
I know this may sound like a stupid question, but what it the aim-assist like in this game? While its a game I'd like to play, I don't enjoy playing shooters on consoles as I alway find aiming difficult. If its good I'l probably buy on release. If its bad, I'll wait and prey for a PC release.

Oh, actually, that's a really good question. Your flashlight acts as your aim, so whatever it's beam hits is what you shoot. It works beautifully. Of course, for weapons like the flare gun or the flash bang, you don't have to be nearly so precise.

Thanks Susan, I'll make this my May game purchase then seeing as Ubisoft screwed up the PC release of Splinter Cell.

Well, that looks kind of cool. I might actually buy... wait...

Oh yeah. 360 exclusive.

Screw you Alan Wake.

Interesting. You comment on the sort of out of context minigame/QTEs that pull you out of the experience and this got me thinking of the QTEtastic Heavy Rain. If the QTEs were more well integrated into the game experience, as they supposedly are in HR, would that have helped maintain the immersion or was it more the fact that they were QTEs in the first place?

Hmmm, well I have this on pre-order along with "Red Dead Redemption".

Truthfully this hasn't convinced me to cancel my pre-order, but I found some bits of the review fairly disappointing. I've never been a huge fan of chapter-based resets of equipment and accomplishments and such. What's more I tend to disagree with Steven King's statement quoted by Alan at the end of the review. Part of what impresses me about horror is when they come up with cool concepts and mythology, which by definition mandates explanation. Lovecraft's "Cthulhu Mythos" endures and is constantly drawn from because it's both frightening, but detailed, and more or less consistant in of itself for example. I tend to view writers who argue in favor of keeping things unexplained and ambigious as hacks, looking for an excuse to throw wierd stuff out there willy nilly without having to bother to explain themselves. I *SERIOUSLY* hope that statement doesn't imply that they plan to just make the game randomly Bizzare without any eventual logic or resolution... I'll give it a shot anyway since the ride looks cool, but if they do that I'm certainly not going to rave about it.

Other than that, what the heck is the big deal about "Twin Peaks"? I've seen it, and it was decent for what it was, but it seems like now I've seen TWO games in rapid succession trying to emulate it's vibe (this one and Deadly Premonition). I don't think it was all that, being mostly original because it was done on TV, and used a setting and style more common to books than the screen.

I'm not saying that it's a bad idea, the change of pace is nice, but honestly I tend to look more towards the things that seemed to inspire Twin Peaks (like some of Lovecraft's writing and those he inspired) than that show specifically, especially seeing as even a lot of it's fans tend to talk about how it fell apart especially in the second season.

Thank you, Susan, you have convinced me to buy it. Also, wise words from Alan at the end.

I'm so glad I have the Special Edition pre-ordered now.

I thought I was taking a gamble on this but now after seeing lots of 9/10's and similar I just cant wait to get my hands on it. I love games with a great story and this a game built around a story so it could just be my favourite game of the year, hope so :D.

StriderShinryu:
Interesting. You comment on the sort of out of context minigame/QTEs that pull you out of the experience and this got me thinking of the QTEtastic Heavy Rain. If the QTEs were more well integrated into the game experience, as they supposedly are in HR, would that have helped maintain the immersion or was it more the fact that they were QTEs in the first place?

If they were less of a slap in the face, I don't think I'd have minded them all that much. I appreciate that in places they're in place to create tension or fear - trying to rev up a generator while Taken are in hot pursuit, for example. But the rest of Wake's gameplay is so unobtrusive that to suddenly have a big green "A" staring you in the face is very jarring.

They didn't bother me at all in Heavy Rain, largely, I think, because hitting controller buttons was intrinsic to the gameplay no matter what you were doing, QTE or not. The instruction to hit X didn't feel like it was suddenly coming out of nowhere, because you'd been doing that the whole time.

....Dammit. I need to get a 360 soon. This game certainly sounds very interesting...

Awwh i can't wait much longer for this game! It isn't realised in Sweden until the 14th... And the limited edition looks awesome!

Zhukov:
Oh yeah. 360 exclusive.

*Falls on knees*

Sam Lake!

Why have you forsaken us PC gamers!?!

Heavy Rain, Alan Wake... as a PC gamer, I just don't feel the love anymore...

Hmmm, I can already hear Yahtzee calling this a Silent Hill rip off and condemning it to the ninth circle of hell for it since we all know how much of a SH fanboy he is....lol

That and the game I've heard ends with a cliffhanger...lol

Thank you for the brilliant review, Susan. I would've picked the game up anyway (been waiting 5 years), but it's great to have such an obvious recommendtaion from the magazine that I trust the most.
Can't wait!

Fuck me, is Alan voiced by Carth Onasi?!

I'm glad this turned out really well; I can't wait to pick it up. Lucky me that it's my birthday Tuesday, and it's out on Friday so I'll have some moneyz spare.

My God. This is making my choice harder and harder. Splinter cell is officially out, but now it is between this and Red dead Redemption.

Damn you Susan!

It's already out? And it kicks ass?

Well my worries are gone. I'm going to have to pick this up.

Tdc2182:
My God. This is making my choice harder and harder. Splinter cell is officially out, but now it is between this and Red dead Redemption.

Damn you Susan!

Red Dead seems to have more replay value and longer play, thats what i'm getting at least. Alan Wake will have to be bought another time unfortunatly...

Great review Susan. I feel much more confident in my preorder of the game now, and can't wait to pop it in the machine.

Woodsey:
Fuck me, is Alan voiced by Carth Onasi?!

He's voiced by Mathew Poretta. You know, the guy from Men In Tights.

Carth was a guy called Raphael Sbarge.

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