Monday, June 14, 2010

Alan Wake

Alan Wake is a fantastic game. I ended up playing through the game 3 times since I bought it. I ran through the first time just playing to enjoy the game. Ran through it again to collect all of the collectibles that I had missed, and the third time was to play it on Nightmare. The second run through was probably the most tedious, but I never got bored with the game. If you decide to use a guide to get all of the collectibles on your first run through, I’ll let you know now, it won’t ruin the game. It’s rare to find a game that you don’t wear out on too quickly. I’m talking half way through a game and you feel like you’re just grinding stuff out to finish it off to be done with it. I never once got that feeling with this game.

The main reason I got this game was because I was able to get it real cheap and it was part of the bonus scenario for the STEI. It also helped that my wife had expressed an interest in it and wanted to experience the game with me. That’s a huge bonus for me as that’s rare. The reason why is even though I’m playing a game, the game is pretty much like a book or mini series. It is delivered in well portioned episodes. The story in this game is great. It’s what pulls you in and makes you want more. . You just can’t put it down. That’s how this game will be when you start playing it. So whether you are the one playing or watching, it’s still enjoyable. My kids were getting into it as well, telling me which way to go, watch out for the bad guys, and just enjoying it as well since I was doing what they said to do.

The Story

The main character is a writer in the game and an accident happens to his wife in which the real story begins and you dive into the darkness of the game. You will jump from present to past, to light then dark, from accidents to dreams, and be trying to figure out the story for yourself as you’re going through the game. It’s very intriguing and at one point, I started thinking it was going to be like the Shutter Island movie. If you’ve seen that movie and liked the twist, you’ll enjoy this game even more. As you’re going through, you’ll be collecting manuscripts of a book written by your character, but have no recollection of writing. The story presented in these manuscripts immerses you even more into the game if you read them all. I’m sure some will just collect the manuscripts to get the achievement and move on. You don’t have to worry as it will not take away what the game offers in the least. The manuscripts just help add more to the story to the game.

Game Play

The game play is pretty intriguing as light is your weapon. You use a flash light to drain the darkness off your enemies and then at that point you can use your weapons to take them out. Throughout the game, you’ll get to use a revolver, shotgun, double barrel shotgun, hunting rifle, flare gun, flares and flash bangs to kill the enemies. The flash bangs can really come in handy and you’ll actually run through a section where that’s all you have for a weapon. You’ll also go through some spots where you don’t have a flash light to help you out. The game does a really good job mixing it up the game play tactics. Also, at the beginning of each chapter in the game, you’ll lose everything you had from the previous chapter. So when playing normal mode, you’re going to have plenty of left over ammo. Your nightmare run however, you’re going to pray you have enough to even make it to the end of each chapter.


Normal mode isn’t that hard but you do hit hard spots, it does progressively get harder and you will more than likely die a few times. The spots you find that are hard on the normal run, becomes even harder on nightmare and getting through those sections is not going to be easy. I will give you a tip though: No matter what, if you know a safe haven light is semi close by, flare it up, flash the enemy with the flash light if needed and run. Most of the sections I got through on nightmare I literally flared it up, did not even fire a shot and ran through the massive amount of enemies just to get to the safe haven light. Once you reach the light, they all go away and you will regain any lost health. It is your biggest life saver in the game on nightmare. A good practice run before you start nightmare would be when you do that 30 min run achievement. You literally just run through the board as fast as you can which involves a lot of running and not fighting if possible. That would be a good place to get into a routine before your nightmare run.

Graphics and Sound

The graphics of the game are done very well. They do a wonderful job setting a mood and atmosphere with the stark contrast between the daylight and nighttime settings. They daytime is bright and colorful, but not blinding. The night is dark and gloomy, but not washed out from the overkill of black. The characters themselves looked good, but could have been rendered better. The sound turned out really good and they did a great job on that. The wind howls in just the right way for a horror setting. The rustling of the trees is just enough to hear it in the background, but not screechingly annoying. The voices and voice-overs sounded great, but they really missed the mark on the lip sync. It is rather jarring to be really submersed into the story, just to be thrown back by bad lip sync.

The End

Just like a book, there is always an end but there are already two DLC’s scheduled to come out for this game. The first one isn’t too far off in the future but no date on the second one at all.
For the most part, I was satisfied with the ending of the game. I do however wish they left out one section that was kind of cheesy to me. You can tell me your own opinion when you get to that point.

Overall I think everyone that plays this game, except a few who might critique anything off in a game, are going to really enjoy this game. It is well worth the purchase and I don’t expect anyone to be disappointed.