Review: Alan Wake: The Signal

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I have to respectfully disagree on most, if not all, points. The DLC was never intended to advance the main story. Sure it's a cotinuation of sorts, but that's all it was meant to be. After all, if there is a sequel, why should people have to have played the DLC in order to understand how it starts? The whole point of the 'Specials' is that they will occur between Season 1 and Season 2 but won't be necessary in order to understand the plot of either. I don't really understand why anyone would have been expecting some kind of story revelations from that.

Gameplay-wise, I agree that it was harder and more hectic than the earlier episodes, but that's kinda the point. It is completely in keeping with the setting and the story that such a scenario would play out in such a way. Man it's hard to write this without spoilers. Basically, it's hard but it's not THAT hard, and the pacing is not all that different from some of the longer sections where the original game throws lots of enemies at you in a row. In the signal, at least that same kind of pacing is framed with some very satisfying surreal imagery and level progression. TVs scattered throughout The Signal do the same kind of job as the manuscript pages did in the original game, only this time that storytelling device is used in a much more visceral and immediately threatening way. We literally get to witness a violently insane force doing everything it can to tear Alan apart both physically and mentally. Sure it's a change of pace, and there is hardly any breathing room, but it's a welcome change. Anyone who wanted the original game to be a little more freaky and genuinely scary will be pretty happy with the DLC so far.

And if you think about a few plot elements (not neccessarily just what you see in the cutscenes), there are a good few subtle clues regarding the main story.

Personally, although The Signal is a little story-lite in terms of the main story and the cutscenes, I would still give it a solid 8 or 9 out of ten. In my opinion (and that of a good few reviewers, as you'll notice if you google it), The Signal is an excellent add-on and an example of how all DLC should be done.

No offense to Susan, but I implore anyone who is sitting on the fence about the DLC to ignore this review and make their own mind up.

SFJ:

in the case of a game that's so story-driven, leaving us on a cliffhanger at the end of the actual campaign and giving us no real resolution strikes me as an unjustified cash-in, especially when the game took so long to produce.

If there had been 2 'specials' aired between the first and second seasons of 'Lost', would you expect them to sit there and carefully explain the first season? Even if there were any significant story revelations involved, would you really expect them in the first of the two episodes? Besides, the main ending is not really a cliffhanger. It resolves the main story of that game, and it leaves a lot of questions unanswered. A cliffhanger would mean ending the main story right in the middle of something. The DLC ends on a cliffhanger, but the main game just leaves the story set up for a sequel. There's a huge difference between the two things.

Again, it can't be a cash-in if it's free, and seeing as neither MS or Remedy get a single penny from what you paid for the game second hand, the price of the DLC hardly sends them soaring into profit.

The Signal is an absolute disappointment to Alan Wake. I personally loved the game, and I couldn't wait for the DLC after I beat it. However, from the moment I got it, I started to hate it.

I used the code to get the free DLC and of course, it wasn't. I had to pay 540 microsoft points regardless of whether or not I got the code. This is the second time I've been ripped off by "Free" DLC that was supposed to be included with the game itself.

As for gameplay, the combat was the (Second) weakest part in my opinion (the first being the lip syncing, which most people know is awful) which really set me off. The only actual story part of the content is that you get Zane telling you where to go. Nothing is known about Allice or any of the other Bright Falls members, which is how I thought The Signal would be. Instead, you're stuck with fight after fight (as explained) and absolutely awful achievements. Tractors being tossed in front of doors so you can't get in, monster trucks that drive at you while you get ambushed from behind by taken, and the part that I'm currently at that I absolutely refuse to do anymore, points where Alan just can't seem to climb onto one simple stack of wood, but can apparently jump from a box onto it as he slips and slides and is more than likely out of breath by the time you want to jump.

Had I gotten this DLC free like I should have, it wouldn't be so bad. Since I had to pay with my Microsoft points, it makes me feel like I've been stabbed in the back by possibly one of the greatest games I had ever played.

Well I played trought the DLC and I must say I liked it. There might be some spoilers for some.

In my opinion this was a bridge section to other episode. Why it was so combat based? In my opinion because Alan is in bottom of that dark lake and surrounded by it and starts writing more and more darkness to script and that means more enemies and wierd stuff. Alan that you play was just trying to get rid of that and all that darkness by fighting trought it.

And yes it contained lots of combat but I loved it because there were new ways of using light. Like in that basement with those furnances in there that you can blow up just using your light or that part when u needed to be careful where you point your light or more enemies comes at you.

So again, in my opinion it fits right in with the plot.

I kind of agree. The combat was all over the place with the Signal. But in story terms, it amounts to filler. Alan Wake was scary because not just because of the atmosphere, but because of the shifting and dynamic story that always kept you on your toes. The Signal is still just as creepy as the main game, but the static story (Your objective for 90% of the episode is "follow the GPS Signal") makes it less meaningful. There are some interesting sequences (The 'bad words' sequence springs to mind). The manuscript pages foretelling what is about to happen to Alan are replaced with TVs that portray an insane Alan, rambling narration of Alan's death ahead. It's interesting and creepy at first, but quickly loses it's creep factor; and comes off mostly as annoying.

I personally liked it. As with the rest of Alan Wake when I started it I couldn't stop until I got to the end. While the combat is a lot harder, that's because this is Alan's nightmare which is explained if you follow the plot. And I agree, the plot is lacking, but I felt it advanced quicker than the regular game, where it was: 1.You are here 2.You need to go here 3.Your mode of transport won't work so you have to walk 4.Fight tons of Taken, those damn ravens, and possessed objects 5.Arrive and receive next plot point and awesome song. It's supposed to be a quicker plot, because both of the 2 DLC's have to breach the gap between Alan Wake, and the possible sequel (which, just going off sales and ratings for the game, is likely that they will make one. Plus they already have the story written).

Ok, so there's my semi-rant done. Anyways, whether or not you enjoy this is based on your mindset. Sometimes that happens for people, where something is unliked by one person with a review show and everyone follows behind them in droves. Don't take Susan's opinion of this to heart! Go and buy it for yourself! Then decide whether or not you like it! (No offense to you Susan, you guys all do pretty enjoyable reviews).

So a two to three hour chapter is your idea of "short, really really short?" What exactly do you expect out of $7 DLC for a game whose on-disc chapters were 1-3 hours long?

I loved it. Sure the plot of the DLC has an "interquel" feel to it, but I wasn't really expecting much more than that. I'm sure Remedy is still hoping that the game will sell enough to warrant a full-fledged sequel, so the story can be resolved in full retail fashion.

Grimcicle:
So a two to three hour chapter is your idea of "short, really really short?" What exactly do you expect out of $7 DLC for a game whose on-disc chapters were 1-3 hours long?

I loved it. Sure the plot of the DLC has an "interquel" feel to it, but I wasn't really expecting much more than that. I'm sure Remedy is still hoping that the game will sell enough to warrant a full-fledged sequel, so the story can be resolved in full retail fashion.

I consider two hours to be too little meat for $7 - that said, this is free to folks who bought the game, and I certainly understand the point of view that the length of the DLC is in keeping with an individual chapter of the game.

I also happen to hope that Remedy comes through with a complete sequel, as I very much enjoyed the main game.

The game has supposedly sold over 600,000 copies at this point, so hopefully it will hit a million in the coming months. I'm not so sure what kind of numbers the game needs to sell to justify a sequel, especially after a five year multimillion dollar development cycle.

I didn't have much faith in a sequel after the abysmal May NPD figures, but it seems that people are actually giving this game a shot now that they're all done with Red Dead Redemption.

This is a disappointment for me, I hated the combat in Alan Wake.

Too many cheap attacks from enemies who spawn behind you, no variety in enemies and those incredibly annoying crows are back too? Damn.

Not to mention Microsoft's epic fail that means many of the people who bought the game new still haven't gotten their code for free download yet.

MiracleOfSound:

Not to mention Microsoft's epic fail that means many of the people who bought the game new still haven't gotten their code for free download yet.

Actually, that's not really MS's fault. It's entirely the fault of the people who redeemed the code when it states quite clearly that the DLC is not out yet. Sure, people who bought if later may have been confused, but if it's not available on Marketplace why would they think it's a good idea to redeem the code. They should apparently recieve their code by email within the next 24 hours or so. That's not a long time to wait for MS to fix what is essentially a user error.

So we're reviewing DLC now? Odd, seems like there is something else that could be reviewed...

Cyan.:
Well screw this.

I loved the DLC.

This an everything else you said. It was awesome and the reactions just show how hard it is to please everyone at the same time.

Mako SOLDIER:

MiracleOfSound:

Not to mention Microsoft's epic fail that means many of the people who bought the game new still haven't gotten their code for free download yet.

Actually, that's not really MS's fault. It's entirely the fault of the people who redeemed the code when it states quite clearly that the DLC is not out yet. Sure, people who bought if later may have been confused, but if it's not available on Marketplace why would they think it's a good idea to redeem the code. They should apparently recieve their code by email within the next 24 hours or so. That's not a long time to wait for MS to fix what is essentially a user error.

The instructions were not clear at all.

People thought it was going to be like Cerberus Network, in that putting in the code unlocked the abilty to get free stuff later. Nowhere on the card did it tell you to wait. Also, when you redeemed it it told you that you would soon get some free shit.

If that many people were confused by it, it was a fail on thier behalf.

Good-a review, I mostly agree.
There is a lot more emphasis on combat, and the combat is also harder, but that's ok since the main game was kind of easy (on Normal difficulty anyway). There are some new elements such as the furnaces, lampposts, possessed cars and the field of 'bad words', but it would have been nice to have a little more story development or combat-free sections such as in the main game. Still, it's worth the money I paid for it! (Haha.)
I'm already looking forward to The Writer, I'll probably get it even if it's another "combat"-DLC, I'm kind of hooked on the world of Alan Wake...

Oh, and finally, about Barry... I didn't like the DLC Barry so much. The real Barry was kind of goofy and sometimes dim but he was a good guy and one of the few really reliable people in the world of Alan Wake. The DLC Barry, however, is too smartass, and I don't trust him either... I kept expecting him to suddenly appear behind me, say something like "IT'S ALWAYS WHO YOU LEAST EXPECT, ISN'T IT AL?" in a distorted voice, and proceed to split my skull open with an axe or something. I hope Alan escapes the nightmare world again in The Writer. I also wanna know what's going on in the town.

i dont get the narrators speak patterns..who talks like that?

It's a DLC episode, what did you expect? That it would be keeping you busy for four hours in one go?

I played through it as soon as i got home. Confusing, uey epic stuff! I can't wait for more!

Also, its much harder than i thought and the achievments are kinda hard too

Sniper Team 4:
Barry is the greatest sidekick ever. "It's my flaming eye of Mordor" is my new catch phrase.

How many opportunities does one really have to use that line? Or would we be better off not knowing?

Honestly, I quite enjoyed the DLC. The lack of resolution was a little frustrating, but considering it was free I can't complain too much. It was a fun two hours wasted, although if the next DLC, 'The Writer' is more of the same, I'll be pretty disappointed.

Didn't this game *just* come out? Why wasn't the DLC part of the main game itself?

Ugh.

I ddn't enjoy this DLC at all.

The visuals were fantastic and all but the combat was just horrendous... throwing tonnes of enemies at you at once felt like a cheap and irritating way to raise the difficulty.

Who at Remedy though having enemies spawn behind the player was a good idea??

And those stupid ravens again...

Plus there was pretty much nothing but combat all the way through.

Still, at least it was free. If I had paid for this I'd be mighty pissed off.

Depressingly enough, I haven't played the DLC yet. However, Barry is one of my favorite characters in recent memory.

I really enjoyed the DLC.

I can forgive the seemingly endless combat because the TV's and ending imply that Alan is going through some sort of 'Self-Loathing', forcing himself to battle his way through his own psyche, personified by the Dark Place and its twisted version of Bright Falls. Defeating the final boss, basically his own brain rebelling against him, will hopefully snap him out of it in time for "The Writer"

And, as DLC, it worked! I'm so hyped to see what will come next for Alan.

Alan Wake is one of the reasons I want a 360, even if this DLC isn't much, I really want to play it.

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