By far the best thing about Alan Wake is how well it sold on PC

I played through Alan Wake back in 2010 when it was released exclusively for the Xbox 360, and I honestly didn't think very highly of Remedy's long-awaited new action adventure. On the plus side, in creating the little town of Bright Falls with its surrounding deep woods the studio completely nailed the Lynchian atmosphere they were so clearly aiming for, and the settings themselves remain by far the game's greatest asset. However, the endless and relentlessly linear traversal through familiar-looking dark forests quickly became repetitive and the rather basic combat - while not without its share of visceral thrills - likewise grew stale within just a few hours of gameplay. This might all have been excusable if the story was any good, but the needlessly convoluted narrative gets so mired down in the details of its supernatural backstory that by the (annoyingly amiguous) end its reasonably compelling "man loses wife and sanity" premise has almost completely fallen by the wayside. As a game Alan Wake significantly overstayed its welcome, and it was thus a real relief for me to finally put it back on the shelf for good.

Given my less than enthusiastic reaction to the original version of Alan Wake it might seem surprising that I picked up the PC version as soon as it was released, but this was purely a case of wanting to support the platform rather than being particularly interested in actually playing the game itself again. If nothing else, there's some symbolic value in this belated PC port considering how Remedy's contractual obligations surrounding the 360 release of Alan Wake seemed to mark a drastic shift away from PC gaming for the developer in question. Indeed, that this agreeably priced PC port reached #1 on Steam and became profitable in just 48 hours - despite the game having received a somewhat mixed reaction and been out for two years on another system - speaks volumes about the personal computer's renewed commercial viability as a serious platform on the market.

As for the extra bells and whistles added for the PC version, the increased resolution does wonders to the already quite respectable art assets (especially compared with the 360 version's somewhat controversial sub-HD graphics), but the promised NVIDIA 3D Vision support is sadly quite lacking at the moment and will have to be patched extensively. Also, for the keyboard/mouse purists out there it's worth adding that AW works best with a gamepad plugged in.

7 Comments
7 Comments
Posted by Egge

I played through Alan Wake back in 2010 when it was released exclusively for the Xbox 360, and I honestly didn't think very highly of Remedy's long-awaited new action adventure. On the plus side, in creating the little town of Bright Falls with its surrounding deep woods the studio completely nailed the Lynchian atmosphere they were so clearly aiming for, and the settings themselves remain by far the game's greatest asset. However, the endless and relentlessly linear traversal through familiar-looking dark forests quickly became repetitive and the rather basic combat - while not without its share of visceral thrills - likewise grew stale within just a few hours of gameplay. This might all have been excusable if the story was any good, but the needlessly convoluted narrative gets so mired down in the details of its supernatural backstory that by the (annoyingly amiguous) end its reasonably compelling "man loses wife and sanity" premise has almost completely fallen by the wayside. As a game Alan Wake significantly overstayed its welcome, and it was thus a real relief for me to finally put it back on the shelf for good.

Given my less than enthusiastic reaction to the original version of Alan Wake it might seem surprising that I picked up the PC version as soon as it was released, but this was purely a case of wanting to support the platform rather than being particularly interested in actually playing the game itself again. If nothing else, there's some symbolic value in this belated PC port considering how Remedy's contractual obligations surrounding the 360 release of Alan Wake seemed to mark a drastic shift away from PC gaming for the developer in question. Indeed, that this agreeably priced PC port reached #1 on Steam and became profitable in just 48 hours - despite the game having received a somewhat mixed reaction and been out for two years on another system - speaks volumes about the personal computer's renewed commercial viability as a serious platform on the market.

As for the extra bells and whistles added for the PC version, the increased resolution does wonders to the already quite respectable art assets (especially compared with the 360 version's somewhat controversial sub-HD graphics), but the promised NVIDIA 3D Vision support is sadly quite lacking at the moment and will have to be patched extensively. Also, for the keyboard/mouse purists out there it's worth adding that AW works best with a gamepad plugged in.

Posted by AndrewB

Yeah, sometimes I wish Microsoft would remember that the PC is their other platform, for the time being. Locking up 360 exclusivity was obviously a detriment to the game in the long run. It may not have turned out to be the amazing open-world story we expected, but the final product is still great and it deserves more than it initially got.

And yet, Remedy must not think the same. After all, the XBLA release of American Nightmare is exclusive for the moment, though all signs point to a PC release later (with evidence conclusive enough for me to say it will happen).

Alan Wake for the PC also comes in at an opportunistic period. The PC, as a platform, is at another high point due to the age of current consoles. It will take a dip back down again when the next generation hits, and we all have to once again put up with talks of PC gaming being dead.

Posted by Egge

@AndrewB: I'm not too sure that nextgen cycle is going to continue forever (hardware-intense boxes you put by the television set as well as expensive personal computers might both belong to the past in this brave new streaming world of ours), but it's sure nice to see the effects of the PC's superior distribution channels (i.e. Steam) combined with the sheer purchasing power of PC gamers (many of which grew up playing Max Payne and are now old and enough that they don't have to think twice about getting a cheap copy of Alan Wake).

Posted by fullmetal5550

Hopefully the success of Alan Wake selling well on the PC will allow Remedy to make a sequel that will be on the PC at launch instead of two years later.

Posted by probablytuna

I bought my copy a few days ago, only played half an hour of it and so far I'm liking the atmosphere although it's pretty laggy on my system.

Posted by spazmaster666

I'm glad that Remedy is demonstrating what a proper PC port should be like (as they themselves have said, the PC version is a port of the 360 build), something that larger development houses have not seemed to manage on a consistent basis.

Posted by Savage

Even though I don't currently have any plans to replay Alan Wake after playing and enjoying it on the 360 two years ago, I also bought the PC version the moment it went on sale. I'm happy to support the PC platform, Steam, Remedy, and good PC ports.