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    Alan Wake

    Game » consists of 14 releases. Released May 14, 2010

    When famous novelist Alan Wake goes on vacation with his wife Alice, he has no idea that the idyllic town of Bright Falls will soon be the site of a terrible battle between light and dark that could threaten everything, even Wake's own sanity.

    alphazero's Alan Wake (Xbox 360) review

    Avatar image for alphazero

    Action Tweed!

    Alan Wake, the game, is amazing. I'm starting to think it's got the best story, and best use of story, in a game since Bioshock. Aside from some truly amazingly bad product placement I've been loving every minute. 
    The Environment 
    The look is beautiful. There's dense foliage, moody mist, terrific lighting effects as you might expect when the game play focuses so much on the use of light. The art direction and level design are superb. It's linear as all hell, which allows them to pack more things in more tightly, but they take full advantage of it. There's just so much *stuff* in the world. It's almost like they've been working on it for five years.... I also like that although most of the combat takes place at night, it's very rare that you can't more or less see things. The full moon is out. It's still dark and moody, but you're not running blind Doom 3 style.
    The Game Play 
    The Taken -- zombie-ish country-folk filled with The Darkness -- want to cut you with their axes, and you're not down with that. You can't actually eliminate them until you've burned off the Darkness from them, which you can do with your trusty flashlight, flares, flash bang grenades, flare guns, or other lights placed throughout the game. Lamps shining down become your check points in the game, some of which you need to start up generators for on your own. Light and dark is the focus of both the game and the story, and it's fascinating. 
    The Story 
    With elements borrowed from Stephen KingH.P. LovecraftAlfred HitchcockThe X-Files, The Twilight Zone, and more, this game knows horror, but it's horror of a particular bent. It's more on the Evil Dead side of things than Saw XVIII. It has a few jump scares, but it's mostly about mood and tension with some excellent comic relief. Throughout the game you come across named boss Taken. Their minds are almost completely subsumed by The Darkness, but there's still tiny slivers left,  enough for them to mutter hilariously about things they cared about in life. A demon-filled owner of a rental cabin muttering about not getting your deposit back as he tries to axe you to death cracks me up. I love it. 
    Alan Wake also finds manuscript pages from a novel he allegedly wrote, but has no memory of. These pages discuss character details of the others you run across, but are even creepier when they talk about things that haven't happen to you yet, but you know are about to. It's a great narrative trick. Writers seem to love writing about writers, and it doesn't always lead to the best stories, but in this case it works solidly. It's just goofy and self-aware enough to make things move. Be sure to listen to the ranting of the insane game designer in Dr. Hartman's lodge for more about writers. Hilarious. 
    The big plot points and mysteries are all great, with questions answered at a good enough pace to keep things entertaining and looking for more. Breaking the game up into episodes, each a few hours of play, is also a great idea. The TV style intros and cliff hangers drag you further into the story. 
    The Product Placement 
    It didn't bother me until one particular television in one particular haunted house. Oh my lord. It's optional, but still. The fact that I hate Verizon with a burning white hot passion probably didn't help. So out of place. So disruptive to the mood of the sequence it is in. Boo. 
    In terms of the batteries being Energizers and the cars all being Ford, that was fine. Just play it cool guys. Okay? 
    In Summary 
    I loved this game. If you have the means, I highly recommend you pick one up.    

    Other reviews for Alan Wake (Xbox 360)

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