It looks harmless now, but wait till darkness falls...
It looks harmless now, but wait till darkness falls...

It looks harmless now, but wait till darkness falls...

There’s more than a touch of Stephen King to the long-awaited Alan Wake. A young author and his wife take a trip to the quiet town of Pride Falls - a name that’s almost as ominous as Silent Hill. Once there, Mr Wake manages to write a novel - ending a long-troubling bout of writer's block. Unfortunately, the good news ends there: Mrs Wake goes missing, and as hubbie sets out to find her he discovers that much of Pride Falls has been possessed by a mysterious, malevolent force. To make matters worse, it seems as if Alan’s latest book is coming true… and he can’t remember any of it.

To be honest, after such a long period of radio silence it was a pleasant surprise to find that Alan Wake had a touch of anything - let alone all the panache and fresh ideas revealed at E3. You may well have seen the game for yourself by now, but if not then know that Wake seems to owe more to the likes of Silent Hill and Alone in the Dark than it does to Max Payne, Remedy’s previous action-adventure hit. That said, there are certainly similarities with MP - notably a tendency towards lush, Hollywood-style production values. Remedy says that it wants Alan Wake to look like a HBO TV show, and their intentions are clear from the appearance of Pride Falls itself: it’s a gloomy and highly atmospheric slice of backwater America, drenched in foreboding and sinister shadow.

Here, for once, it’s a wise move to be scared of the dark, because these shadows are inherently linked to the evil power that’s possessed the whole town. The enemies in Alan Wake take many forms, but all of them have one thing in common: they’re bound together by shadows. Defeating these opponents is a two step process: use your torch or a similar device to drive the darkness from the body, then use your handgun to destroy the host. Well, that’s certainly the process for defeating your human adversaries - the zombie-like locals who come at you with hatchets in their hands. Your other foes are a little… different.

You see, the malevolent spirits of Pride Falls have also started to inhabit inanimate objects. In what was shown at E3, this largely consisted of cars and, in one memorable case, a JCB - but it could potentially be anything. One minute it’s a harmless vehicle, the next it’s a phantom battering ram, rushing forward to crush your puny frame. In survival horror terms this looks to be something of a masterstroke, since you’ll never be completely sure whether you’re safe or not. Indeed, the whole light-and-dark motif has given Remedy the scope for a whole range of set pieces, like the cable car scene shown off during Microsoft’s press conference: here Alan found himself isolated on a suspended platform as it crossed a pitch black ravine, armed with only a flare to stave off the strange bird-like creatures that harangued him from the air.

Frequently Alan will find himself desperately attempting to start up a generator (or another light source) while hoards of enemies bear down on his position. One such moment occurred right before the cable-car episode, as our hero attempts to start up an engine on a balcony overlooking the cliff. As he desperately fumbles with the machinery, the camera slowly pans around to reveal a huge crowd of armed nasties, edging ever closer towards his turned back. Given that I was watching this in a busy room full of journos, I found it to be a surprisingly tense moment - which surely bodes well for the final game.

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User Comments

TURBO_RAD's Avatar


This game sounds AMAZING....really am looking forward to it. I hope its nothing like RE5 it was such a disappointment this looks fresh and exciting though. The enemies in RE5 were stupid pointless and not scary at all. Hopefully these enemies will be wicked and evil and send shivers down your spine it sounds like it just might. Please i want a scary game.....not a wanna be scary game like RE5
Posted 05:00 on 13 June 2009
Wido's Avatar


I'm really liking the sound of Alan Wake. Been interested since word go with Alan Wake, and this is a must for my 360.
Posted 20:21 on 12 June 2009
rbevanx's Avatar


"I might ask for this game as a retirement present instead of a gold watch."

Yeah it might come out the same time as Duke Nukem Forever m8.
Posted 19:33 on 12 June 2009
rico_rico's Avatar


they say it will have the best graphics but what i see in the trailers it have good graphics and remedy can't stop promesing about this games only the time will tell
Posted 19:00 on 12 June 2009
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Karlius

LOL just becuase Assasians Creed looks the better game Karl. Dosen't give you the right,to make fun of my poker skills.
Posted 16:15 on 12 June 2009
CrustyJockStrap's Avatar

CrustyJockStrap@ rbevanx

Give me Alan Wake over AC2 anyday.

The first AC board me sill after half an hour.
Posted 16:02 on 12 June 2009
Karlius's Avatar


Shut up Bevan go play some poker lol!
Posted 15:58 on 12 June 2009
rbevanx's Avatar


I think it’s been overshadowed by Assassins Creed 2, plus this game has been delayed so many times now.
Posted 15:39 on 12 June 2009
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ Rickitis

Lol been walking around with a lob on since E3 for the game it looks amazing. Think it is probably the game of E3 but for some reason isn't getting the press probably as everyone is trying to get over the disbelief that it actually exists lol.
Posted 14:40 on 12 June 2009
Rickitis's Avatar


I guarantee Karlius has a trouser tent reading this :-)
Posted 14:34 on 12 June 2009
guyderman's Avatar


I might ask for this game as a retirement present instead of a gold watch.
Posted 14:24 on 12 June 2009
dav2612's Avatar


I had almost forgot about this game and was enjoying the preview right up until the bit that said "2010". Still, we have waited this long, another 6 months or so won't do any harm.
Posted 14:12 on 12 June 2009

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 14/05/2010
Developer: Remedy
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Adventure
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 416 11
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