Zero Punctuation: Alan Wake

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Monshroud:
I was wondering how Yahtzee was going to view this game. Sounds like the difficulty is dialed down for the mass-audience. Maybe I'll wait for it to drop to the 30 dollar range before buying it.

I don't think these kind of games (this and Heavy Rain) that want to be movies should retail for more than $30 to begin with. You get one or two playthroughs of it and have seen everything making $60 an incredibly bad value.

I liked the review, but was expecting hint of Silent Hill 1 which was released 10 years ago and stars a writer running around in a spooky town, searching for a loved one after he seemingly lost her in a car crash. But I guess the game literally begs to explore the Stephen King parallells, which are also plentiful. And of course, Silent Hill 1 is a SD PSX title from long ago, a small while before Remedy started patching Alan Wake together. Played and finished Alan Wake, by the way, nice atmospheric game nonetheless. Will certainly finish Nightmare to complete the Achievements, but first I'm going to take Red Dead Redemption for a spin, I think.

@dmcc85: Don't worry about punctuation, there isn't supposed to be any in this review anyway :). Slightly more seriously though, in the "anglo-german" World of Spelling(r) which has been with us for quite some time now, "ü" is meant to be replaced by "u" in order to enable phrasing such as "my uber-wit" or "blimey, am I uber today or what" :)?

Bad combat, bad voice acting and good atmosphere?

Funny that you can describe Alan wake and Silent Hill the exact same way.

Except Yahtzee liked Silent Hill. I call bullshit.

For some reason I laughed most at the "ibblebibblebibble" running gag. I really have no idea why it amuses me so, but it does.

Sorta surprised he didn't mention how nonthreatening the shadow-thrown-objects seemed to be. Figured that statement was going to be something along the lines of, "blahblah good mechanic until I realized that Alan can take a train car to the face and barely stumble." Then again the Stephen King remark probably caused more chuckles. Tricky thing balancing critique with humor.

Hah, Yahtzee just described Pie in the Sky, a British crime drama in which the detective can only think when he's around pastry, so each week the crime has to conveniently take place in a bakery or within walking distance of a pie shop. Yes.

MeatSpace:
Bad combat, bad voice acting and good atmosphere?

Funny that you can describe Alan wake and Silent Hill the exact same way.

Except Yahtzee liked Silent Hill. I call bullshit.

Seriously, you could replace "Alan Wake" with "Silent Hill 2" and this review would still work. Don't forget characters constantly making awful decisions!

"Anyway, Alan and his pet monster..."

That's the only thing I can take away from this review, because it's just too funny to remember anything else.

Yahtzee had his work cut out for him... one can't help but feel that Alan Wake made a mockery enough of itself before he came along.

This is better! Funnier!

I bought Alan Wake the other day and whilst the story looks decent, the gameplay is really boring and repetitive! Haha Yahtzee was bang on about the lip synching everyone has a weird smile stuck on their face like they're being rectally probed for the whole game.

I quite enjoyed the voice acting though, it wasn't half as bad as some games I've seen.

Playing through Alan Wake makes me wonder at what difficulty level reviewers play through their games. It makes me want to make a game with different and unique experiences on each of the difficulty levels, distribute review copies, and see how many people get in on the joke.

Back to A. Wake, I played through Hard incidentally, and then went back to Normal to collect more stuff - and the game's combat is much more appealing on hard mode, I must say. All enemies take an additional shot or two to kill, so ammo and the other weapons become much more valuable - 42 shots in your revolver is suddenly not so much when it takes 3 to take out a normal guy and a whole cylinder to take out one of the big guys looming at you - which means you can easily go through 20 or more shots in one fight with just the basic revolver. The big guys also survive a flashbang at their feet, take forever to strip of darkness-protection, and occasionally charge you when you try to stunlock them - they become monstrous foes indeed. Not to mention the REALLY big guys with CHAINSAWS - it's much easier to run away when you're facing down two of those and their buddies, and when it becomes easier to run away, you get less ammo stashes and have to manage your flares better.

That isn't to say it's without its problems. The enemies (especially the little guys) love to flank you, and that can feel cheap since it's easy to lose them in the darkness.

The slow-mo chase camera is also kind of necessary since it alerts you of enemies outside of your normal field of view; otherwise the first sign of taken might be an axe to the back of the head, which as we all know may be fatal. I know it saved my ass more than once, and when the game starts piling on enemies and you're running low on health it can be quite unnerving.

Obscure, Silent Hill, and Alone in the Dark.
Every aspect of Wake can be found in one of those three games.

On the other hand the lighting is really really good.
On the other other hand Wake NEVER SHUTS THE HELL UP.

Personally I loved this game and thought the story was phenomenal..Yahtzee kinda just gave the simplified version of it, but if he didn't he'd have a huuuuuge video on his hands.

Still, this review was hilarious..especially the sexually repressed bear with his "gentle ben" hahaha

Sum up: respectfully disagree, try it before basing decisions on others =D

Blue-State:
Nuts. I saw a play through online and it didn't look so bad. But if the plot and pacing is half as bad as he says it is then I won't bother.

I wouldn't take anything Yahtzee says seriously. Yeah he's funny, but he doesn't exactly 'review' games. Alan Wake is fantastic, everyone with a 360 should try it.

I bet this game is still good fun despite what yathzee said. 10 year development time though. And no one thought about working on models? The game looks good but doesn't feel like someone has been working on it for a decade.

Blue-State:
But if the plot and pacing is half as bad as he says it is then I won't bother.

It's not. There's nothing wrong with the pacing whatsoever. Sure the basic gameplay is a case of 'get from point A to point B', but what linear game is really any different? The combat system is actually massively deep when played on the hardest difficulty (ok, so you have to play through the game once to unlock that, but that's not really a chore). Frankly, if Yahtzee really claims to have got through the whole game using only his pistol then either he's straight out lying or the adaptive difficulty decided he was some kind of mutant with stumps for thumbs and only 2 fingers and proceeded to shower him with enough ammo to choke a basking shark.

Yes the story references Stephen King a lot, but the whole 'dark presence' idea is a theme common in many horror scenarios other than that. The character is an author, and Stephen King wrote arguably the most highly prized book on writing that exists to this day. It's pretty reasonable for an author to reference King. You'd have thought that a supposed fellow author would have realised that. Besides, looking at Yahtzee's peculiar disdain for possibly the most respected horror author on the planet, I can only assume that Stephen King ran over his dog. And then slept with his mum.

The narration and manuscript pages work pretty well as a device to drip feed the player with information, and it's the most original storytelling device that gaming has seen in a good while.

So hang on a gosh darned minute here. A game finally comes along that cares primarily about telling the story and makes the effort to change the gameplay up a bit(removal of weapons and/or torch at key points, giving you just enough ammo on harder difficulty levels that you often end up running for the next light source or desperately trying to fire up a generator before the enemies catch up, etc.) in order to create genuine tension throughout, and Yahtzee hates it. So what exactly DOES he want in a game?

Oh, and by the way, you can quit out of the game at the end of an episode, but it involves that little known trick of pressing start and selecting 'quit to menu'. Sure it's not explicitly stated, but for someone who complains when a game holds the player's hand too much that's a pretty petty complaint. And of course it's not diy-urine-puddle scary, it's a thriller, not a horror. Sure it has horror elements, but frankly dismissing it for not being scary (when in fact on higher difficulty levels it actually is, but because of the extremely well balanced gameplay rather than through OTT gore or wierdness for it's own sake) is like dismissing an RPG with character customisation elements for not being The Sims.

The supporting character that yahtzee hates so much is actually much loved by the fans. but then, Yahtzee apparently only wants human characters with real quirks and personality until they're actually given to him.

One thing I do agree on is that the lip synching is bad. And yes, Alan's wife does look like Miss Uncanny Valley 2010 at times. The latter issue is only noticable in a very small portion of the game, and the former isn't always the case at all, due to multiple facial animation techniques being employed. When it's bad it's really bad, but when it's good it's similiarly excellent.

Yahtzee also neglected to mention the gorgeously realised environments, the fact that the lighting effects are literally second to none, and that the story is generally excellent. Ignore any nonsense about the 'cliffhanger' ending (Yahtzee didn't mention it, but I doubt he completed the whole game anyway). The main story is resoved but some threads are left unanswered and more questions are raised. Did anyone complain when the final episode of Lost season 1 ended in a similiar manner? No, they just got excited about season 2. The fact of the matter is that Alan Wake is the first game to really pull off the TV show format, and the result is a truly multi-media entity.

If you have any interest in story driven gaming then you'd be doing yourself a massive favour to ignore this 'review' and give it a shot. If MS had bothered to advertise Alan Wake properly, we should have been looking at a contender for Game of the Year. That's how good this game is.

So many of you aren't going to get this game just because Yahtzee gave it a shitty review? Isn't that kind of what he gets paid to do?

It was a funny review and I enjoyed it, but I thought Alan Wake was one of the best written games I've ever played. It might be second only to Call of Cthulhu.

oktalist:
Hah, Yahtzee just described Pie in the Sky, a British crime drama in which the detective can only think when he's around pastry, so each week the crime has to conveniently take place in a bakery or within walking distance of a pie shop. Yes.

Seriously? I thought he was making a satrical pun on how crime dramas make shitty gimmicks to set themselves apaprt from other crime dramas.

If you have any interest in story driven gaming then you'd be doing yourself a massive favour to ignore this 'review' and give it a shot. If MS had bothered to advertise Alan Wake properly, we should have been looking at a contender for Game of the Year. That's how good this game is.

But... the stories a typical Lovecraftian plot. If you're any kind of horror/horror game fan this game hasn't really got much going on you haven't seen/read a hundred times before. I'm frankly flabbergasted this thing's 'story' is getting such rave reviews. I didn't think it was very good and it's far from original.

Funniest Review I've seen from you in a while. I actually laughed out loud which is rare for myself. Good work sir.

MrDead:
But... the stories a typical Lovecraftian plot. If you're any kind of horror/horror game fan this game hasn't really got much going on you haven't seen/read a hundred times before. I'm frankly flabbergasted this thing's 'story' is getting such rave reviews. I didn't think it was very good and it's far from original.

You clearly don't understand how story telling works. There's nothing wrong with drawing from other sources. There are no original stories my friend.

gmanyo:

MeatSpace:
Bad combat, bad voice acting and good atmosphere?

Funny that you can describe Alan wake and Silent Hill the exact same way.

Except Yahtzee liked Silent Hill. I call bullshit.

Seriously, you could replace "Alan Wake" with "Silent Hill 2" and this review would still work. Don't forget characters constantly making awful decisions!

lol, totally. "Hey look, a big weird looking hole in the floor, I think I'll jump down it" is considerably more retarded than "Hey, this person's acting a bit weird, but since I'm not sure what's going on generally and they've seemed trustworthy and harmless up until now, not to mention that I'm pretty stressed and distracted, I'll think nothing of it".

Not to mention, the combat is excellent if you play on anything other than the easiest difficulty level, and the voice acting is only occasionally ropey and excellent the whole rest of the time. Better than SH2 by a country mile, and that's one of my favourite games. I still love SH2 to bits, but there's something in this world called objectivity that prevents me from shitting all over any game that dares to not contain Pyramid Head. Agree on atmosphere though, that's excellent the whole way through :D

SamElliot'sMustache:

With those recaps and the narration, and the fact that the plot sounds incredibly bad, I'd have probably avoided it, even if it came out for the PS3 or Wii (don't have a 360, I just like watching the reviews).

I'm the same, but I don't even have 1 of the three current gen consoles I just love watching games being told off for being shit

Quote without html follows:

MrDead:
But... the stories a typical Lovecraftian plot. If you're any kind of horror/horror game fan this game hasn't really got much going on you haven't seen/read a hundred times before. I'm frankly flabbergasted this thing's 'story' is getting such rave reviews. I didn't think it was very good and it's far from original.

You clearly don't understand how story telling works. There's nothing wrong with drawing from other sources. There are no original stories my friend.

This.

The themes have been done before, but the nuances of the story are original.

MeatSpace:

MrDead:
But... the stories a typical Lovecraftian plot. If you're any kind of horror/horror game fan this game hasn't really got much going on you haven't seen/read a hundred times before. I'm frankly flabbergasted this thing's 'story' is getting such rave reviews. I didn't think it was very good and it's far from original.

You clearly don't understand how story telling works. There's nothing wrong with drawing from other sources. There are no original stories my friend.

Oh I concur.. however, again.. it wasn't a very good story.

Very funny review, I didn't break out laughing like I have with some of the others but it's probably because I disagree with most of the things he said. I'm glad I skipped normal mode and went straight for hard, it kept the combat tense even with all the slow-motion being shot around.

Also, I didn't pay attention to Alan's monologues as I did the manuscript pages which were much more interesting. To me, at least. Alan seems to be pretty unflappable in the "I'm reading a story I wrote about events that are currently happening to me" department. Though I would hate to be playing as myself in this situation in which case I would read a few of the manuscript pages, panic for a while and shoot myself. The lip synching didn't bother me too much as I was too busy listening to what was being said instead being distracted by almost insignificant detals.

Finally, don't look at Alan Wake like a horror game. Just because scary stuff is going on doesn't mean that the developers are trying to scare you. The box said "psychological action thriller" not "survival horror".

Phlopsy:
So many of you aren't going to get this game just because Yahtzee gave it a shitty review? Isn't that kind of what he gets paid to do?

It was a funny review and I enjoyed it, but I thought Alan Wake was one of the best written games I've ever played. It might be second only to Call of Cthulhu.

Too many people who don't understand that Yahtzee's reviews, while entertaining, are essentially professional trolling. Alan Wake is easily one of the best story-driven games of the last 10 years. Anyone who thinks the story was bad probably just got pissed because they had to actually think about the ending rather than having it explained to them slowly.

I was hoping Yahtzee would cover this one, Great review.
I personaly liked the game judging from what I have played so far but it's starting to get repetitive and seems like it will stay that way.

Swifteye:

oktalist:
Hah, Yahtzee just described Pie in the Sky, a British crime drama in which the detective can only think when he's around pastry, so each week the crime has to conveniently take place in a bakery or within walking distance of a pie shop. Yes.

Seriously? I thought he was making a satrical pun on how crime dramas make shitty gimmicks to set themselves apaprt from other crime dramas.

He was. I don't think the reference to PITS was intentional.

And it's not quite as bad as I made it sound. It's just that the detective is also a part-time chef and owns a resaurant, so the action alternates between crime-solving and pie-making.

Hardcore_gamer:
It was not as fun as I hoped it was. He spent most of his time talking about how he gets stuck in the forest all the time.

How does it come Yahtzee never reviews grand strategy games like Hearts of Iron 3? That would be pretty awesome.

Or not. He would just say something along the line of "I would have had as much fun fucking around in Windows Excel". He already mentioned his dislike for Total War series and they have some graphics, while Harts of Iron is all about strategy so it doesn't seem he would be too thrilled. (I like it btw)

Anyway good enough episode, standard Yahtzee.

Nevermind, only pressed the 'quote' button once. Crazy of me to think that would result in a poste actually being quoted :D

Personally I think Alan Wake is a great game so there. I bought it played it and loved it.

TheGamerist:
I played a demo of the game, and from that I didn't want to buy it. Good to see that I didn't waste my money

There's a demo? Cool, I'll check it out.

Funny review there, Yahtzee, now go and do Red Dead Redemption.

I enjoyed that a review a lot been waiting for yahtzee to review it for a while, sounds like the game is similar to alone in the dark, potential to be good but sadly misses the mark, rather like finaly fatasy 13, although I'm suprised it took nine bloody years to make it, took that long for the world to beat germany twice.

Too many people who don't understand that Yahtzee's reviews, while entertaining, are essentially professional trolling. Alan Wake is easily one of the best story-driven games of the last 10 years. Anyone who thinks the story was bad probably just got pissed because they had to actually think about the ending rather than having it explained to them slowly.

Or because it was fairly standard with a couple gimmicks. Though the actual last 2 minutes of the game was pretty good.

And just for the sake of correcting people about minor, basicaly unimportant mistakes (because i just love to do that):
It's "Episode Eins" not "Episode Ein"
although i can forgive your for not wasting time by finding out how you to correctly put the "ü" in "Fünf"

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