Alan Wake screenshot
Alan Wake screenshot

It's not just humans who you'll face, either, with the darkness very willing to possess inanimate objects, such as JCBs, trucks and massive wire spindles. At certain points you’ll even face flocks of birds, which come at you in a terrifying swarm of chirping evil. You can vaporize these with some well targeted light from your torch, but at times it pays to use Alan's incredibly useful dodge move. If you're in a bit of a pickle -and you frequently will be - the assortment of extra weapons and light sources comes in handy. Flares can be held aloft or dropped to scare off enemies and give you a moment to breathe or, better still, fired directly into the air or into nasties; a well-placed flare shot into a huge possessed flying boat will quickly end its assault from above.

Generators in the environment can often be powered up (one of the very few uses of QTE-like gameplay you'll come across), turning on high powered lamps that can be used either as safe havens, at checkpoints and recharging health stations, or as a means to blast enemies. Certain beams of light are so intense that you don't need to use a weapon at all, with the light itself being enough to send the nasties back to the darkness from which they came. If you can't get to the light (something you'll regularly be running towards while trying not to scream), a flash bang grenade or two will clear the local area as the white light makes mince meat of any Taken or possessed objects.

The survival horror genre has changed somewhat in recent years, with Resident Evil becoming more of a third-person shooter and Dead Space relying more on shocks than real scares. Alan Wake is a return to the terrifying ways of the genre's past, with the setting, enemies and storyline working in tandem to create a truly unnerving experience. The world is linear, with the path to your objective usually quite obvious, but there are just enough 'off the beaten path' locations to make you believe Bright Falls is a real place. Enemy encounters aren't overused and the stock of bullets and batteries (for your torch) is just enough to make you hesitant to keep your light on full beam, while also not too fearful to use it.

Storylines in games quite often wash over me, merely serving to give reason for the action that's ensuing, but here it's completely engrossing. The plot develops at a perfect pace, with twists and turns that make sense and compel you to continue. At the end of each of the game's six chapters you're treated to an incredibly cool piece of licensed music, followed by brilliant story recaps. I assumed these would be somewhat cheesy, but they've been handled superbly and add so much to the game's cinematic quality.

Alan himself narrates as you play, which could conceivably annoy some players, but it undoubtedly keeps you engaged with the story and showcases the brilliant voice acting. Manuscript pages from Alan's latest book - one he doesn't remember writing - scattered throughout the levels detail events that have happened and, more interestingly, also those yet to occur. They serve as a clever collectable, with some only available to find when the game is played on the hardest difficulty setting. Hidden crates, coffee thermos flasks and tin can pyramids are also hidden in the environment for players who like to explore.

New stuff to check out

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247@ El-Dev

Hmm... it seems to be a bit of a marmite game. I didn't get bored by it at all!

@Kert - Glad you enjoyed it too. I'm guessing you got the same deal I did?
Posted 10:04 on 23 July 2010
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie@ Neon-Soldier32

Think its supposed to be the 27th.
Posted 08:34 on 23 July 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

When's the first DLC out?
Posted 08:06 on 23 July 2010
K3RT's Avatar

K3RT

I'm with Chelski on this one I also recently finished it and I absolutely loved it I cant wait for the future DLC.
Also I got the limited edition which comes with the book the Alan Wake files I also found this book to be a very good read and would recommend any Alan Wake fan to read it as it has more info on the story.
Posted 06:40 on 23 July 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ chelskiboy247

That really wasn't my main thought after the final few hours of tedium, but I'm glad you enjoyed it.

By quite some distance Alan Wake is the worst game I've played this year. Stale and past it's sell by date is my opinion of it.
Posted 02:02 on 23 July 2010
chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247

Finished this today and thought it was brilliant, probably my favourite game of this year (and that's saying something). The ending was good but I did have one problem with it:
Show Spoiler I think that the player should have been able to stab Jagger with the clicker instead of it being a cutscene.
Posted 23:05 on 22 July 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

This review gets a mention,
you should be pretty proud Tom :D
Posted 09:57 on 18 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

I finished it really early this morning,
got all the achievements except the collectable ones and the Nightmare one.
On episode 2 of my Nightmare play through now :D
Posted 18:42 on 16 May 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ SexyJams

The Anderson's Farm with the stage. I'm shocked you didn't remember that as being a rock n roll moment :D
Posted 12:52 on 16 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

What episode and chapter do I get Child of the Elder God achievement?
Posted 11:59 on 16 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

lol, I dunno, it'd be awesome to get quite a lot of extra game in my opinion.
Posted 10:20 on 16 May 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Woffls

Yeah sorry Woffls I must have not made it very clear. I think season 2 is free which I think is the one that came with the game.
I have no idea how many "seasons" there will be, I'm hoping it won't be six like Lost mind :laugh:
Posted 21:41 on 15 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

I believe just the first one
Posted 20:10 on 15 May 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

All episodes? Or just the first one?
Posted 20:09 on 15 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

It's free to those who bought it new.
Posted 20:05 on 15 May 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Alan Wake
9
Out of 10
Alan Wake
  • Combat is brilliant
  • Clever use of narration
  • Atmosphere is incredible
  • Cutscenes look odd
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 14/05/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Remedy
Publisher: Microsoft
Genre: Adventure
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 577 63
View Full Site