Finally A.Wake!

May 19, 2010

A game that’s been in development since 2005. A game I have been personally craving since I first heard about it at E3 2006. Alan Wake is FINALLY here! Dark, spooky, and excellent! With an atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife, Alan Wake is EVERYTHING I hoped it could be. Finally a creepy game, with an excellent story, that doesn’t involve zombies. A psychological thrill ride who’s story isn’t bogged down with obtuse plot strands involving huge scientific umbrella corporations with evil intentions.

A welcome breathe of chilling air breathing life into a stagnating genre, Alan Wake successfully brings unique camera and game play elements to the 360. Using light as a weapon and safe haven from characters entangled and controlled by a malevolent shadow force. Cleverly providing the player with just enough conventional ammo to make it to the next check point while forcing them to think outside the box enough to stretch that ammo.

Perhaps describing a common moment from the game would better illustrate it’s appeal:

I’m in a thick north western forest. It’s dark, the moon does little to light my way. If I don’t find a way to reach (insert objective here) I’m a dead man. I have my trusty flashlight, a revolver, and a handful of bullets. Should I stay on the hiking trail, with it’s illusion of safety, and pray I find a few bullets and flashlight batteries on my way? Or should I venture out into the underbrush in hopes of finding a hidden ammo cache and maybe a manuscript page if I’m lucky? If I go out there and get surrounded, my 6 bullets won’t be enough. The flares will buy me some breathing room sure, but if it comes down to that the shadowy creatures can outrun me. Heart racing I curse, bite my bottom lip, and wade into the darkness. I manage to find a thermos by an abandoned tent, but no ammo. Shit, what was that? I thought I heard something… The camera pans out in slow motion to reveal a shadowy figure lurking in the trees behind me. The axe in his hands says he isn’t interested in making smores. I turn around quickly and discover he brought two friends. I wait for them to get a bit closer before lighting a flare and dropping it at my feet. The light hurts them, burns away the darkness. I release the breath I didn’t know I was holding, focus my flashlight on the closest guy, and fire a couple of rounds into his torso. He drops to the ground, then a second one. I turn the flashlight to the final guy, and pull the pistol’s trigger only to realize that I’m out of ammo. Panicking now, I strike my last flare and hold it over my head as I fumble desperately towards the next checkpoint beacon. I can hear it’s crazy grumblings close in on me as I run. I don’t dare look behind me, I don’t want to know how close he is as my last flare sputters and dies out. Still running, I see a flash of light through the trees. Salvation! If only I can reach it before that cursed, shadowy THING reaches me…

If that scenario gets your heart racing, then Alan Wake is DEFINITELY a game you should pick up.

~Penguin out


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