cloud_zehro's Alan Wake (Xbox 360) review

Are you afraid of the dark?

  've only had a brief experience with this game, everything else factual information.

Graphic - 9.2/10
Sound - 9.0/10
GamePlay - 9.2/10
Story Telling - 10/10
Customization - 0/10

Graphics:
This games main focus is making everything look crisp and visuals are about 45% of the game, the clear graphics enhance the feeling of your Shadow-Like adversaries and everything just really plays out to be pretty gritty.

The light effects and shadow texturing of the game is one of the best that i've seen for quite a long time, but seeing as this games whole concept is based around Shadows, It's pretty understandable as to why so much detailing was put into them.

However the bad side to all of this positive, the voice syncing issue has struck me again, I absolutely hate it when games can't get their voices to match the mouth movement. It makes a stunning story feel like a cheesy Godzilla movie, perhaps it has been patched and fixed for others, but for me it wasn't updated and it was pretty off the mark by at least 1-2 seconds.

Another issue is the fog is kind of out of focus and messes with you, you could even say that it makes things even scarier and therefore enhancing the experience instead of breaking it, but it surely shouldn't be so shortly animated! 1080p Brings these kinds of details out that most others wouldn't notice, but I implore you to overlook these short comings.

Sound:
Where the Graphics show flaws, the sound perfectly makes up for it and I was stunned by the level of detail in the weapon sounds, the guns acted perfectly and the light fixtures which you use against the Dark were perfected with real instruments instead of a library of sounds.

The Characters voice acting for the most part is superb and really draws you into this sort of Tv Show kind of experience, you really feel as though you're Alan Wake at times even if just by watching the adventure unfold it really makes for an experience you shouldn't miss, when you're exploring the dark and you hear whispers and voices, It'll make you turn around and look to make sure nobody is actually creeping up on you! And it goes without shame to say that you will jump and be on edge for more than half of the game just because of voices that you hear in the complete darkness.

However there is bad to be said about all of this creeping Epicness, as i've mentioned before the sound-to-video syncing is off by about 1-2 seconds and that can sometimes break your in the moment experience.  

It also has to be said that the some of the voices you hear are actually very cheesy and kind of make you want to laugh instead of cower in fear, so it's very much a hit-miss process, but lucky for us most of the instances are a hit.

Game Play:
I'll start this one off with the Negative, the game becomes extremely repetitive and it doesn't really quite match up with the length of the game, not to say that this should break your experience but it could've used for a bit more diversity, I'm happy to say though that for at least half of the game it actually expands into different genre's while you're busy exploring the world they've set out for you.

The Day-Night effects are pretty much one of the best out there right now and that's because the game specializes in this feature, during the day you're able to explore without much fear and you're able to meet and talk with towns folk to get a better grip on the story at hand and more about the people in general, It makes for a very surreal in the moment kind of atmosphere.

The Night plays out with a bunch of weapon wielding Hill-Billies, an enemy that we don't actually get to see that often surprisingly and to make matters worse for your character, they're over-shielded by your main enemy 'The Darkness'.  

You on the other hand are just some Yankee writer, you have a flash light and some guns and that makes for some very on edge moments when you're battling the baddies, you are the epitome of Average Jo's and you are extremely out numbered and almost completely blind in the dark, so on this grand scale stack set against you.. You have to prove that you can duke it out with the best of them and flash that light over them with your light/flares and take out the darkness before you can even kill the vulnerable hill folk with a buckshot/slug, also a handy trick is a slow motion dodge and sprint that Alan can execute. But he's no Athlete by far!

On the down side to everything positive I've just said, the controls take a bit getting used to and sometimes you'll run out of ammo too fast! Also another deal is the in game advertising, at times this won't seem like such a big deal as it brings some realism to the game by showing some of what we see in our every day, but at times it can be very game breaking with the fact you have these signs in places they should just not be....

For Example: "Oh no the baddies are after me, run, run, run!! Oh shit-hey a cell phone bill board! Oh crap.. -Dead-" That's just one experience you'll have with annoying signs being out in the middle of nowhere, but again there is so much outweighing the bad on this, just give this an overlook and keep on trucking through your adventure.

Story Telling:
If you've ever seen Super Natural, Heroes, Lost... You'll know exactly what kind of atmosphere you're in for, the game plays out in Chapters and even has a 'as previously seen on Alan Wake' feature that you'll come across for every segment, the game is extremely immersive and it's very much story based which is a rare find in all of the mindless violence found today in video games, who knew that trying to find your missing wife would be so fun?

I respect the amount of detail put into Alan's past and the characters around them as you find out about their past and how they react in progressing your own story during the present, absolutely nothing bad to say here that I can think of.

Customization:
I didn't come across any customization, but this game isn't Sandbox driven and therefore doesn't really need alternate costumes and such, but again I don't know if there is any unlockables and such. So absolutely no customization in a semi-linear story based game is not game breaking by any means.

Overall Value:
You owe it to yourself to play this game, there is some minor flaws that I stated above... But the game really shines light over all the little things stated and comes out to be one of the best story based games on this Current-Gen.

2 Comments
Posted by arab_prince

Interesting review. I'm thinking of getting this game, the review helped out a bit, thanks :) I wonder why you included customization in your scale? I've never seen someone use that as a basis to judge a game.

Posted by Cloud_Zehro
@arab_prince said:
" Interesting review. I'm thinking of getting this game, the review helped out a bit, thanks :) I wonder why you included customization in your scale? I've never seen someone use that as a basis to judge a game. "
Some people are driven by customization, or the fact you can wear different items on your character to make yourself feel unique.
 
So it's not to judge the game per' say, but I like to cover all grounds for every type of gamer out there, glad this review helped!

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