Making the Case: Alan Wake

It’s time for another addition of Making the Case, where I present the facts and you make the decision. Up this week: Alan Wake for the Xbox 360.

The long await for Remedy Entertainment’s next game, Alan Wake, was finally over last May. Coming out on the same day as the juggernaut, Red Dead Redemption, many gamers seemed to miss out on this wonderful action thrill ride from the folks that brought us the Max Payne series. I’m here to show you the light (pun intended).

Alan Wake

At its core, Alan Wake is a third person action game.  The part that pulls you in is the gameplay and the story.  Set in a rural town in the pacific northwest, Alan Wake, who is a famous writer, travels there on vacation with his wife.  He’s suffering from writer’s block on his next book and believes getting away will help him overcome that.  Soon, Alan is pulled into a nightmare as his wife is kidnapped and the events in his unwritten book are starting to come true.

Light is your weapon in this game.  Your enemies are possessed by shadow and you use light to weaken them and finish them off with conventional weapons.  You’ll have access to all sorts of tools like flashlights, floodlights, flashbangs, flares, flare guns, revolvers, and even car headlights will do the job. 

The game at times can be a bit unnerving and uses the environment to heighten the tension.  Shadows can move past windows, ambient noises make you question what’s lurking, and you’re always wondering what’s around the corner.  The world and story pull you in as you try to help Alan figure out what’s going on.  As an added bonus, Microsoft is providing every new copy with a download code for the first DLC ‘The Signal’ for free.  It’s a short but sweet chapter that continues the story from the main game.   You’ll meet a wonderful cast of characters such as Barry Wheeler, Alan’s stocky and outspoken agent, and the Anderson brothers, retired “rock legends” who think they’re Norse Gods.  It’s really great stuff.

The graphics are fantastic.  Remedy did a great job crafting a believable little town, with great supporting characters and scary as hell enemies.  The voice acting is top-notch but for whatever reason, Remedy didn’t do a great job syncing up the mouth movements to the words.  It’s by no means terrible, just a little baffling as to why it’s not better.  There are a few driving sections in the game, and those aren’t great either, but they’re by no means deal-breakers.  They’re short enough that it’s not a huge deal.

Finally, Alan Wake has a ton of collectables in it.  In my eyes, it’s not a negative or a positive.  I’ll leave that up to you guys as everyone has different opinions on them.  They don’t add anything significant to the game, but the manuscript pages can give you a sneak peek at what may be lying ahead for you.  Other than that you have hidden chests, coffee thermos, stacked cans, alarm clocks, and finding tvs to turn on.

Alan Wake provides a unique experience with its ‘light as a weapon’ gameplay.  The world Remedy created is beautiful and terrifying.  The story and characters are also solid reasons why you should check this game out.  Believe me, it’ll pull you in and never let go.  Just make sure you play with the lights on.

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