"It was Tuesday morning, my hands still slightly numb from the cold May air that had jolted me into consciousness on my morning commute to work. I stared at a blank Word document, the black cursor flashing on and off the page. I could feel the pressure mounting. It was only 20 hours until my review for Alan Wake would need to be published, yet my thoughts were all over the place. No doubt, the Xbox 360 exclusive survival horror game I'd finished the week before would rank as one of my favourites of the year, yet its flaws were weighing heavy on my mind. The clock ticked on to 9:38am. 9.39am. 9.40am. If only I'd already written about writing this review."

Alan Wake is a writer, a hugely famous one at that. When he and his wife Alice arrive in the small town of Bright Falls, their location for an idyllic retreat, he's treated as you might imagine Cheryl Cole would be during an appearance at the Croydon branch of Topshop. He's a celeb, with posters advertising his latest book all over the place and his agent on the phone every other minute. The waitress at the local diner can barely string two words together, she's so star struck. After a slightly bizarre encounter with two ageing rockers, Alan and Alice head to a lovely island cabin where they intend to have a relaxing few days together. Things, expectedly, don't go to plan.

Remedy's finely-crafted story is unquestionably one of the game's biggest assets, and revealing more than the bare essentials would significantly reduce your enjoyment of the title. All you really need to know is that Alice goes missing, Alan's work plays a huge part in the events that unfold and that darkness is very bad when you're wandering around the heavily wooded Bright Falls. Things don't necessarily go bump in the night, but they certainly like carrying chainsaws.

Light really is the backbone of Alan Wake's gameplay and storyline. In the sunlight the town is as picturesque as a postcard, with sweeping vistas and gorgeous yellow beams piercing the tree lines. Once night falls, however, the darkness quite literally takes over. Alan, understandably goes on the hunt for his wife, but stumbles across an evil presence that is hell-bent on using Alan for its own wicked means. Bright Falls residents, possessed by the darkness, are just one of the many enemies Alan has to overcome.

These 'Taken' appear like black ghosts, but thankfully they don't take kindly to light. Alan almost always has a torch in his hand (with various stronger versions collected as your progress), and shining this at a Taken will slowly rip the darkness out of them. This is important as conventional weapons do nothing to stop foes until they've been completely drained of the darkness. Initially the combat seems a little tricky, with the left trigger used for shining the torch and the right for firing your weapon, but within moments you'll be draining Taken and dispatching them with a shotgun in one fluid, explosive sequence.

New stuff to check out

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ rbevanx

The DLC is free? I assumed they'd tie up the story but leave enough ambiguity and intrigue to sustain further storytelling that isn't directly related to that story-arc. I certainly hope it's free but I'd probably pay a little bit for them.
Posted 18:43 on 15 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

I think everyone knows how much I ADORED Mass Effect 2;
but I agree with El-Dev, the stuff contributed very little to the main story.
I still think the Theif mission was very cool, but it wasn't necessary.
The firewalker stuff was a bit boring as well, and they really mucked up with releasing new weapons after most people had already played through it multiple times, and would never really use them.
Still, it hasn't soiled my fond memories of that incredible game.

Back to Alan Wake, I can't wait for the DLC with this. It might be some of the best use of DLC since Episodes of Liberty City (and Fallout 3 in many respects)
Posted 17:17 on 15 May 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ El-Dev

I'm sure people who even loved ME2 would agree the DLC for it has added little to the game it self.
The idea of a "season" DLC has actually made me consider buying DLC in the future, for this game anyway.
Posted 15:19 on 15 May 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ rbevanx

You really didn't like Mass Effect 2 bevan did you?
Posted 15:14 on 15 May 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Woffls

Yeah but there is gonna be DLC soon, which is free with the game and is meant to work like a new television season. So it could be another 3-5 on top of the 10-12 hours, unlike ME 2 (for example) which are just extras in the already finished story.
Posted 15:09 on 15 May 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

I might be inclined to say it's only worth a rental just because it's a short-ish game for this genre. Probably only 10-12 hours or so, but they're an exciting few hours.

Might just be my preference, but I'd like a subtitle where the critical part of the review starts. I don't need to read that Alan's holiday has gone a bit squiffy, just that the player is likely to be as on edge as Alan is, for example.

The audio is possibly the best thing about this game, if only because audio is so often overlooked by developers. The music is wonderfully eerie and appropriate because of it, and the general use of surround sound to hear your enemies rustling through bushes before you see them was clearly a focal point of the experience.
Posted 14:57 on 15 May 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ guyderman

How come your not a fan of it then guyderman?

I'm really suprised some have found it boring or not worth their time etc, as I haven't been bored once yet which is rare for me in this gen of games.
Posted 13:28 on 15 May 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ pblive

It's a 100% rental PB - I thought it was great when I started playing but by the end of Episode 3 and more running through a misty forest I was getting quite bored of it. Don't get me wrong it's a good game to play once but there is nothing here that will make me want to play it through again - I'm hoping that The second half of the game will change my mind and make me feel like I haven't just wasted £40!
Posted 12:04 on 15 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Yeah, it's definitely so much more than a rental isn't it
Posted 09:43 on 15 May 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx

Take out a loan lol.
Posted 21:44 on 14 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Lmao, I just watched the video review
"I love lamp"
I watched Anchor Man last Saturday as well! :D
Posted 20:46 on 14 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

That sucks man,
it feels so much more worthy than a rental.
Posted 20:40 on 14 May 2010
pblive's Avatar

pblive

I'm thinking this will be a rental title for me at the moment. I really want to play it but can't afford it at the moment.
Posted 13:46 on 14 May 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ Karlius

I'm very suprised by the lack of marketing on this game, very odd by MS/Remedy.
But hopefully word of mouth will get around and then they will slowly push it more in mags and TV etc.
Posted 16:40 on 13 May 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Metacritic have presented their findings in an article and also Eurogamer have discussed it during their latest podcast but I must give a warning not to listen to it unless you want to be bored sh*teless and struggle to hear what they are saying.
Posted 01:10 on 13 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: 575 109
View Full Site