Alan Wake Review – XBOX 360

Alan Wake is one of the most eagerly anticipated games of 2010, the developers (Remedy – The creators of Max Payne) have been creating this Xbox exclusive since 2001, but has all the hard work paid off?

Alan Wake has a lot to live up to, the creators have been talking about a new style of storytelling in games, with complex character interactions all wrapped up in the guise of a psychological thriller, now usually when a developer makes such elaborate claims they tend to miss the point, but Alan Wake is the exception to that rule, delivering a riveting tale all set around the foggy mountains of Bright Falls.

Alan’s tale could be straight out of a Stephen King novella (and there are some nice nods toward the fiction master along the way) the plot follows the suspense-thriller writer in uncovering the mystery behind his wife’s disappearance shortly after arriving in the small town of Bright Falls and why pages from his latest novel which he hasn’t written yet are coming to life.

Plus Points
Batteries & Ammo
The concept of having to first illuminate the “taken” before despatching them is a new one meaning you not only have to keep an eye out for ammo, but also for batteries and upgrades to your torch, it really adds a whole new dimension to the game, with Alan occasionally being able to use searchlights, flash bangs and flares to despatch with some troubling bad guys.

Toward The Light
light isn’t only used as a means of attack it is also your only means of salvation, various lights, generators and petrol stations scatter the darkened landscape and give you a point to run towards when being chased by the countless taken.

Having An Episode
Alan Wake is set up like a TV show and features six bite size episodes complete with there own “previously” recaps each of which gives you a brief rest from the action and a chance to catch up on something you might have forgotten along the way.

Scary
Alan Wake is a scary game, play it in a dark room with the surround sound on and you will know what I mean – the “taken” (towns folk ensnared by the darkness) appear from nowhere, one minute you are walking through a forest clearing the next four men surround you armed with axes ready to throw at your head, the game really uses the story to build the scares not just relying on haunted house-esc dummies jumping out of wardrobes

Characters

The cast in Bright Falls all add to the fantastic story that is Alan Wake, you really get attached to certain characters, and when those final credits roll you really feel the need to get back in there and see what else you can discover in the town.

Bad Points
Length
Alan Wake is a fantastic game, that much is shown by it only really having one major flaw, and that flaw is the length of the main storyline, I went through the game exploring quite a lot of the countryside and trying to find various collectables along the way, but some people just want to get a game and get through it to see how it ends and for those people Alan Wake will be a very short experience, that said if you really want to max out all those achievements and watch every TV show etc the game is lengthened somewhat.

Overall
Alan Wake is engaging, and emotional. It scares you but also makes you care about the characters in the game, and since we are talking about a game and not a movie, Remedy have really delivered something special, Alan Wake is a must buy for any Xbox 360 owner.

We played Alan Wake through to completion on normal mode

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