Alan Wake – impressions
This was one of the big name games to be announced when the XBOX 360 first came out, and with a development time of several years, many thought that Remedy, the same guys behind the famed Max Payne series had stumbled along the way. Originally hyped as an open world survival horror / thriller following the story of a writer who travels to Bright Falls with his wife after suffering writer’s block, then finds his new book beginning to write itself as his wife disappears and possessed locals try to kill him. The final game though has done away with the open world (to a degree – it can still be traversed and explored in some places), and focused on a TV episode approach not dissimilar to the much maligned Alone In The Dark reboot.
What Remedy have achieved here is delivering a game that is partly the Silent Hill game that never was, and part Stephen King novel meets David Lynch surrealism. It’s a formula that works wonderfully, and playing it I found it both graphically stunning, very atmospheric and creepy as hell. The core mechanics of the action is shining a torch on the Taken – towns folk that are possessed by darkness - and once you have taken the darkness away, you are free to shoot them and watch them explode in stylish slow motion. As expected from the makers of Max Payne the gunplay and the various unholy encounters and cinematics are brilliantly done – and surrounding the action is a compelling story told with a mixture of cut scenes, playable flashbacks and brilliantly done NPC interaction to rival even the likes of Half-Life.
I feel I have only touched the surface of this one though, and there’s plenty more to discover – but so far, this looks to be another superb XBOX 360 exclusive.