The Taken are villagers of Bright Falls
who have been overcome by the darkness that threatens the area. During the night they are ferocious monsters, but during the day, they look like normal people, though they will speak in a monotone voice and appear confused or controlled. There is at least one woman in Bright Falls that acknowledges the Taken and the Darkness' omnipresence, the lantern lady!
The Taken are clouded in living darkness that buffers them from all harm until it is burnt away by searing light sources, be they flashbangs
or the occasional spotlight that happens to be lying around. You can usually burn off the darkness by aiming the regular flashlight beam at them so as to conserve batteries unless the circle of health appears orange, in which case only focused light will sear them. When the darkness shielding a Taken is gone, the taken show less fear to light sources, becoming blinded by it less often and can be killed by a sufficient number of bullets. Much to the relief of Jeff Gerstmann
do not work, and will only serve to present a smaller target. Aim for a shot to centre mass as it will also slow them temporarily.
The Taken speak constantly to alert the player to their continuing presence and their voice is circuit-bent and occasionally has double tones which is meant to disconcert the player also. The Taken's usual topic of choice is the wonderful scenery, the best eateries and important safety announcements that Alan Wake
really should consider visiting; because the Famous Dog (known to some as the Famous Durger) is third best.
Taken move sporadically, fast and in a seemingly random pattern with the exception that their singular goal is to ferociously attack anyone who is not Taken. Often times the player will be flanked by enemies as one of their most popular tactics is to leave one Taken straight in the fray as another hangs back and throws projectiles (or whatever is to hand) at the player while a third or fourth slinks around and out of sight to get around the back or sides, aided by the cover of the bush, as they are often found in the forest.
Taken will show up either in predefined positions about the game map or in areas of the map which are not directly story related, where they will spawn indefinitely in groups of three or more to use their basic tactics against the player. You can instantly recognise infinity-spawning areas because the screen will become very foggy and windy very suddenly and the tense music will play. In these areas it is better to accomplish what you need and leave quickly rather than stand and fight, beware though, Taken are faster than you, so run in zig-zags to avoid projectiles and dodge, don't sprint!
You can expect Taken to appear as villagers (loggers, hoodies, big boys) as well as birds (usually ravens, birds known in folklore to be made themselves from darkness) but more frighteningly heavy vehicles
. The only help I can give for vehicles is kill them for the achievements as running don't make them pop!