Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Review No. 115 Alan Wake - PC (16+)

Strong Points
Graphics - Great looking and focused to fit the game's atmosphere
Story - Amazing!
Story-telling - Beautiful combined with great voice-actors, narrating, cut-scenes and more
Voice-Actors and their characters - Fits the characters just perfectly, and the characters themselves are more than likable
Game-play - The game-play is a one-of-a-kind, yet it isn't. When you combine all of these (and more) it gets very addicting and fun.
Light/Darkness - Plays a BIG role in this game and its story! And hey, who doesn't like to use a flashlight as weapon?

Weak Points:
Story - While the story is amazing, it CAN and WILL get confusing at times (not necessarily a bad thing)
Facial-Animations and faces - When it's not one of those "real-looking" cut-scenes the faces look good, don't get me wrong on that, but they do also look a bit... weird, ya know?
Difficulty - Even on the normal difficulty setting it can be hard and you might have to restart from your previous save point a few times.
Lagging - If your computer isn't "good" it most likely will lag a lot just like it did for me, will not destroy the game's top-score, though.
Ammunition - This is one of those games where you'll rarely have only a few shots left in your pistol or shotgun or whatever it might be. At least I myself faced this "problem" myself.

In-depth Review:

Release Dates:
PC Edition:
North America: February 16, 2012
Australia: February 16, 2012
Europe: March 2, 2012


Alan Wake is a game that heavily focuses on story-telling and the story over-all throughout the entire game. It’s a linear Third-Person, Action-packed Survival-Horror game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Game Studios.

The story follows the famous writer Alan Wake as he and his wife, Alice Wake, go to Bright Falls on vacation. They are shown the way to the place where they are going to stay, which is a cabin called the Bird Leg Cabin, on a small island on Cauldron Lake. After they have settled in, Alice tells Wake to come upstairs for a surprise. The surprise is revealed to be a type writer as well as pages for Alan to write something since he hasn’t written anything in two years. Alan storms off out toward the woods full of rage, only to hear his wife scream. As he comes back into the house he hears something that fell into the lake. He runs out and jumps in after. He wakes up in a car, alone, as he had apparently driven off the road. Now he has to battle “The Darkness” and its minions, “The Taken” (human-like maniacs with darkness as their life-force), to save his presumably dead wife who just might still be alive.

The Darkness is a presence either created or awakened by Thomas Zane (a writer who lived in Bright Falls long ago back in the 70’s) when he wrote his wife, Barbara Jagger, back to life after she had mysteriously drowned in Cauldron Lake. Something that Thomas did not at first notice is that the Barbara that had come back was not HIS Barbara. He slowly noticed, though, and ended up cutting her heart out as he found out that this was the dark presence, The Darkness that had taken the shape of his former wife.

All this builds up to an AMAZING and unforgivable story of plot-twists and “WOW! Really?!” moments. The game is not just really focusing on the story-telling, though. What is a very story-driven game without great atmosphere? The atmosphere of the game makes you feel as if you really were in danger (which in-game, you are most of the time). At any place, at any given time there could pop up The Taken always having you on your guard as you run through the different environments of Bright Falls.

While the graphics aren’t “Next Generation” or really advanced, you can see that the creators of this game really knew how to make things scary and dark. Pretty much everything has details in this game ranging from big to small objects of all kinds. There’s fog and shadows, all looking great. Character models might sometimes make you think “Couldn’t they have focused some more on making them look more real?” but this is something you can easily look by. What the creators REALLY wanted to “show off” with in this game though, was the lightning and its effects. Since the game’s theme is “light and darkness” you can see why they focused so much on this in Alan Wake.

The way you defeat enemies is a bit unusual too, where you must use any type of light-source against them to either weaken them so you can blast them away with your guns, or use any stronger type of light-source such as the Flash-Bangs to instantly kill them without the need to use your fire-arms. This gives the player some interesting battles that keeps you on edge all the time. You must be focused, quick and react as soon as you see a Taken running towards you. You must also be aware of those who throw weapons. So far I have only played one game before I played Alan Wake which somewhat uses the same type of game-style when it comes to the use of flashlights. ObsCure, a game that plays like the famous Silent-Hill games.

Something that maybe not many know is how long it took to create this game. The story alone (if I remember correctly) actually took about 5 years to finish. And it did pay off. Voice-actors are also great in every way possible, making all the characters feel real (most of them/most of the time). It’s a great game and I simply love it. Not even counting the prequel web-series, “Bright Falls”, nor the two DLCs or the spin-off “Alan Wake’s American Nightmare”

Overall, this game has one of the BEST stories AND story-telling I have ever seen. And how they combined great story and story-telling with this type of game-play which is sometimes calm and chill while other times fast-paced action is just outstanding if you ask me. I truly recommend this to anyone who loves a great story driven game.

Rating: 90%

Erik Frö - Guest Reviewer

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