Try to remember the most horrible nightmare you’ve ever had. Remember the sense of relief that you got when you woke up and realized that it was all in your head, that none of it never even happened? Well Alan Wake does not have that luxury. Alan is in a living nightmare that he’s created, and the only way out, is through the light.
In Alan Wake, you fill the shoes of the titular character, who is a writer famous for a series of crime novels. Alan has hit a bit of writers block though, and hasn’t been able to write anything for the past two years. His wife, Alice, suggests that they take a vacation, so they head to the small town of Bright Falls, Washington. After meeting the locals, and receiving their cabin key from one particularly ominous lady, they arrive at their cabin. The cabin is in the middle of Cauldron Lake, which houses a dormant volcano. After settling in, Alan walks upstairs and discovers a typewriter in one of the rooms. Alice suggests that maybe he could write while they are on vacation, and Alan angrily storms out of the cabin. After hearing his wife scream, Alan rushes back towards the cabin just in time to see his wife being pulled off the back deck and into the lake by some invisible force. It is here that Alan has to figure out who took his wife, and how to get her back. It is here that Alan learns the savageness of the darkness, and the power of light.
In Alan Wake, light is your greatest weapon. Don’t worry, you won’t be running through the game with candles and sparklers, you are given access to a variety of weapons; like handguns, shotguns, rifles, flashbangs, road flares, and vehicles. You are also given a variety of flashlights, each one more powerful than the next. The reason light is so important is because all of the enemies are covered with a shroud of darkness that acts like a shield. You use light to break the darkness, then finish them off with the gun. This clever twist on eliminating enemies makes each of the fights in Alan Wake feel unique, as well as tense. Alan Wake controls nicely as well. The only thing that might irk some gamers is using the LB button for sprinting, but trust me, you quickly get over this. The only problem is that Alan can’t seem to run ten feet without stopping for a breather, making running from the enemy a bit bothersome, especially on the higher difficulties. One interesting thing, there is no easy. Your only options are Normal, Hard and Nightmare. By the way, Nightmare, is aptly named. Another interesting thing, how Alan Wake handles its story progression.
The game takes an television like episodic approach to the story. There are six episodes in all, with each episode recapping the previous one. They even do the ‘Last time on…’ tag line! It’s a cool little feature that helps you catch up on the story if you haven’t played in a while. Each episode also has it’s own song that plays at the end, my favorite being Up Jumped the Devil, as well as an orchestral score that is very well done.
Alan Wake is a great game for those who like dark, twisted mysteries. Walking through a dark forest has never been scarier, unless your local dark forests also include maniacs that like to throw butchers knives and hand scythes at you, in which case I pity you. So pack plenty of flares and batteries, as well as some shotgun shells and revolver rounds, because this is going to be one long night.
- Great Story
- Clever Gameplay
- Awesome Music
- Some collectibles are only available on the hardest difficulty
- Alan can’t run very far