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Step into the light with Alan Wake

Remedy Entertainment’s latest game ‚ Alan Wake is part action and part psychological thriller. SEAN BACHER gives the game a try and believes that it is guaranteed to keep you glued to your screen until the wee-hours of the morning.

When I first heard of Remedy Entertainment’s latest game ‚ Alan Wake – I must say I was not exactly impressed. The same company was responsible for developing Max Payne 1 and 2 and these two titles did not impress me much at all.

It was for this reason that when I slid the game into my Xbox 360, it was with much trepidation. There are a few reasons for this:

Firstly, I have never been a fan of third-person shooters. Secondly, I have never enjoyed fighting against goblins, monsters and the like and thirdly, I loath wandering around aimlessly looking for ammunition, treasures and amulets.

However, when I first started the game I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get into ‚ no long story lines and no reading. Furthermore, controlling Alan Wake was dead easy. It was easy to move him around and at the same time change camera angles. Furthermore, there are no complex button sequences at all.

The story

Before I go on however, I think it is best to give you a bit of background to what the game’s story is about. Alan Wake is a best selling author and after his wife goes missing on a holiday in Bright Falls, he has to search for her ‚ along the way picking up manuscript pages of a thriller he doesn’t remember writing. Through his search for his wife and the pages he encounters the Taken ‚ or members from the town where he was having his holiday that have been possessed. He also has to deal with possessed trains, coaches and bulldozers.

The storyline is enthralling from the word go ‚ and the way the game employs episodes, which could be assimilated to levels, keeps you riveted all the way through. At the beginning of a new chapter crucial scenes from the beginning of the game up until where you last left off are played to keep you up to date on what is happening. ‚The Previously On Alan Wake‚ recap reminds me of the Nip Tuck series that brought you up to date before moving forward. The only problem with TV series such as Nip Tuck is that you had to wait until the next week to see what happens next ‚ with Alan Wake you just need to play quicker. Further more, you can catch up with what is happening in the game by turning on radios and TVs located throughout the game. Wake’s thoughts also give you a good idea as to what is happening.

Game play

Wake’s best weapon is light ‚ whether it comes in the form of his trusty torch, a flash-bang or from a flare. Wake first has to burn the evil away from the Taken before he can kill them with bullets from his shotgun, rifle or revolver. Light coming from buildings also gives Wake the ability to heal himself and the light sources also act as checkpoints thought the game. Wake will also use his light sources to expel the possessed trains and bulldozers.

Earlier on I mentioned that I don’t like walking around aimlessly to find hidden treasures, and although you have to navigate Wake around the terrain to find manuscript pages, bullets, flash-bangs and the like, it is seemingly easy. After playing the game for around three hours I had not got lost once and I managed to collect most of the items I needed along the way.

Apart from killing the Taken, Alan Wake does include some very basic puzzles. I found them rather easy to get though and move on to the next action scene. There are also a few driving scenes ‚ but not really worth mentioning.

In closing

As far as third-person shooter game goes ‚ this ranks as one of my best. The music at the end of each chapter was great and the picturesque game views of Bright Waters were absolutely astounding. I did however find that the character’s movements were a little stiff and awkward at times. Furthermore, the lip-synching was absolutely abysmal. But, with all this said, I still rate this game as one that belongs on your shelves as you will be sure to want to play it again in a few months time.

View the Alan Wake YouTube trailer here:

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