Alan Wake: Review

Hello everyone and happy Labour Day to all my American readers! I recently finished Alan Wake and will be discussing the game in this review.

The game itself was released 2010 for Xbox and 2012 for PC, so I will be posting spoilers willy-nilly throughout.

Background

Alan Wake is a fun, third-person story-driven game written by Sam Lake, that was developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Studios. The game itself is set up like a TV series with six episodes, cliff-hangers, and plot twists. While the game itself is self-contained, there are two additional DLC chapters called “The Writer” and “The Signal”, which I’ll not be mentioning since I haven’t played either. There is also a six-episode live-action web series called Bright Falls, which is a type of prequel to the game, if you want to watch that.

With the body of an action game and the mind of a psychological thriller, Alan Wake is a pulse-pounding thrill ride. – Alan Wake website

Plot

The story follows a best-selling author named Alan Wake, who has gone to a small lakeside town called Bright Falls with his wife to try and overcome his writer’s block. He receives a key from a mysterious old woman who claims its their cabin key. Once there, that hag kidnaps his wife, dragging her into the dark depths and he blacks out, waking up a week later without any memory of what happened.

The player then has to figure out the mystery of the wife’s disappearance while experiencing events from the plot of Wake’s newest novel — written in that missing week — which is slowly revealing the secrets of the cosmic horror living in the black waters. Ultimately, it culminates in Wake confronting the evil beneath the lake.

Overall

The plot was fantastic! Just awesome. The cliff-hangers kept me wanting more and I loved as the secrets slowly revealed themselves to me through the gameplay.

The gameplay was also very smooth and I liked the mechanic of weakening enemies with a flashlight before being able to shoot them dead. Flash bombs quickly became my favourite thing in the game. Otherwise, I feel like there’s not much I can say about the gameplay as it was simple enough that it didn’t take away from the story, but also that there wasn’t much in the way of strategy. Just point, light ‘em up, and shoot.

The game had a great mix of action and story, so that you never got bored. I will say, the final “boss” was a little disappointing. At the very end, you have to face down a giant tornado of darkness with a flare gun. I never felt in danger of losing, it was a quick battle, and then the last ten minutes are just a linear journey to the conclusion of the story.

Another epic aspect: the soundtrack. Even if you never play the game, check out the Alan Wake soundtrack on Spotify. Just do it. It’s so epic.

The game itself had a lot of little details that were fun to discover – like pryamids of tin cans you could shoot and episodes of a Twilight Zone-esque show called Dark Springs that you can watch on various TVs randomly throughout the game. The characters were all unique so it was easy to get into the story and get attached to the characters, giving the game more power.

8/10

I did love the plot a lot, though the ending left me wanting a bit more. I read online that people said the DLC helped explain things further, but I hate relying on outside sources to tell a story that should have been told in the game itself. This was an amazing game for sure, though, and if you haven’t played it then I would recommend it!

x P.L. McMillan

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