Alan Wake is shaping up to be one of the most exciting exclusive games of 2010
Alan Wake is shaping up to be one of the most exciting exclusive games of 2010

Alan Wake is shaping up to be one of the most exciting exclusive games of 2010

Good things come to those who wait, or so they say. It took almost half a decade for Remedy to drag Max Payne through development hell, and now, several years later, Alan Wake seems to have gone through a similarly drawn out process. It's been a long journey, to the extent that some of us started to worry whether it would ever reach its destination. But now, almost five years after its E3 2005 reveal, Alan Wake is finally getting ready to step into the light.

First things first. Alan wake is an action game. True, it has quite a few hallmarks of the survival horror genre, and it most certainly places story at the forefront of its appeal, but it's an action game nonetheless. Max Payne took its cue from countless comic books, film noirs and hard-boiled detective tales; Alan Wake prefers to riff off of Twin Peaks and the likes of Steven King, but there are clear similarities between the two: a male protagonist who's clearly out of his depth, frequent use of voice-over and other cinematic flourishes, and oodles of stylish combat. This is a game that revels in its sinister atmosphere, but it's also one that wants you to enjoy the fight. And when the action kicks into slow-mo to mark an impressive event - as Mr Wake sparks up a flare, perhaps, or as he dodges a falling axe – you'll be more than a tad reminded of a certain trigger-happy cop.

A quick reminder for those of you who may be in the dark about this project: Alan Wake is the tale of an identically-named author who's been suffering from writer's block. Following a suggestion from his wife, Alan decides to take a trip to the quiet Midwestern town of Bright Falls. Unfortunately things don't quite go according to the Thomas Cook itinerary: Mrs Wake promptly disappears in a puff of smoke (well, not exactly – but I'm not allowed to talk about this bit too much) and our suffering scribbler finds himself under attack from The Taken: creepy figures who have been possessed by a mysterious, as-yet-unexplained force.

I've been waiting a long time to get a proper look at Alan Wake, so it was particularly gratifying that I got an extended gander during my visit to Remedy's HQ in Helsinki last month. There's an awful lot for me to cover here, so you'll have to forgive me if I jump around a bit in a bid to paint as full a picture as possible. Perhaps the best place to start is with the combat, since it clearly plays a major role in proceedings. As last year's E3 presentation revealed, Alan's battles against the Taken generally have to be fought along two fronts. Guns are the weapons you'll use to ultimately kill your human foes, but before you can open fire you first have to rid your enemies of the darkness that surrounds and protects them. As you might expect, your basic tool for this job is your torch: if you direct the beam at nearby Taken, it'll slowly start to burn away the inky blackness that surrounds them. If you're feeling impatient, you can also concentrate the beam for a more powerful attack – but this will drain its power quicker. Alan can carry several spare batteries with him, allowing for quick changes mid-combat, but if he completely runs out of juice the last battery will recharge itself, albeit slowly. In short, energy is a resource that has to be spent carefully.

In addition to the torch, Alan can also carry a number of supplementary light-bringing devices. Hand-held flares do an excellent job of cleansing several enemies at once, and keeping large groups at bay, but if you manage to find a flare gun, you'll have what essentially amounts to a rocket launcher. Flashbang grenades also take on a far more destructive quality than what we're used to in standard action titles. It's also worth pointing out that your torch beam doubles up as the aiming reticule for your firearms. There's no over-the-shoulder zoom, and as a result the controls effectively function like a dual-wield setup, with bullet-based weapons on one trigger, and light-based ones on the other.

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User Comments

Hicks10's Avatar

Hicks10

Fingers (and toes) crossed that this turns out to be as good as it sounds (and looks) although if it is will probably wait until the autumn when the nights draw in to buy it for maximum effect!
Posted 10:51 on 21 February 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Karlius

Dead Space for the win :)

It's made me jump a good couple of times and is one of my fav games of the current gen alongsde AC.
A good mix of the first Resident Evil games and Portal in my view.
You can borrow it when I'm done on it mate, I'm nearly finished with it.

That will test your sound system lol.
Posted 16:01 on 19 February 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ rbevanx

Bioshock 2 is supposed to be atmospheric too but atm I'm so tied up with Uni work i've had no chance. Gears of War 2 was awesome using it.

The other reason is cause I want to watch porn and know no nosy neighbors can see me. lol
Posted 15:50 on 19 February 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Karlius

Haha fair play Karl :)
Posted 15:49 on 19 February 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ guyderman

Its one of the main reasons I invested in a Surround Sound System and Blackout Blinds lol. I want an experience.
Posted 15:47 on 19 February 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

Nice vid Karl. Can't wait to get my grubbies on this game - it really looks like it's gonna be one hell of a ride! I'm expecting some great trippy moments in it too. I loved the Dream sequences in the original Max Payne game - it was really haunting!
Posted 15:45 on 19 February 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Well I was kind of expecting It Tom. I'd seen game play footage myself and while I was not playing it I could see it looked amazing. Neon is a guy who's opinion I fully respect so was waiting for his preview to compare to what i'd seen. His preview was awesome.

You can now see the first 5 mins of game play for yourself.

http://gossip565.blogspot.com/2010/0...5-minutes.html
Posted 15:22 on 19 February 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu

I think Karlius cummed.
Posted 15:14 on 19 February 2010
strickers66's Avatar

strickers66

If this year was like last year,I think I'd give my 360 away to the poor and needy but thankfully Alan Wake,ME2,Crackdown 2 all look worth owning.Alan Wake is the best looking game the 360 has produced and even enters PS3 exclusive territory with those visuals.
Posted 17:21 on 18 February 2010
thegreatODEN's Avatar

thegreatODEN

great preview alan wake sounds fricken awesome ,now all i have to do is get a 360
Posted 13:33 on 18 February 2010
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga

This game is one of the reasons my 360 will not be going towards the payment of my PS3. Thanks for the preview, Neon. A must have for 2010.
Posted 13:21 on 18 February 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

Despite the recent increase in quality exclusives for the PS3, I'm still jealous of 360 owners getting this.

Sounds like my type of game.
Posted 13:08 on 18 February 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Buying! :D
Posted 10:57 on 18 February 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Omg,
Alan Wake's actually happening.
It feels real now :p
Posted 10:39 on 18 February 2010
chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247

Aww man. Before, I was thinking 'hmmm looks good, I'll probably pick this up' but after I've read this I'm thinking 'must...play...this...game...'. I've got a couple of long months ahead of me now.
Posted 10:25 on 18 February 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Release Date: 14/05/2010
Developer: Remedy
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Adventure
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 799
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