Alan Wake (2010/2012)

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    Alan Wake (2010)

    Steam, what is this game about?

    When the wife of the best-selling writer Alan Wake disappears on their vacation, his search turns up pages from a thriller he doesn’t even remember writing. A Dark Presence stalks the small town of Bright Falls, pushing Wake to the brink of sanity in his fight to unravel the mystery and save his love.

    Presented in the style of a TV series, Alan Wake features the trademark Remedy storytelling and pulse-pounding action sequences. As players dive deeper and deeper into the mystery, they’ll face overwhelming odds, plot twists, and cliffhangers. It’s only by mastering the Fight With Light combat mechanic that they can stay one step ahead of the darkness that spreads across Bright Falls.

    With the body of an action game and the mind of a psychological thriller, Alan Wake’s intense atmosphere, deep and multilayered story, and exceptionally tense combat sequences provide players with an entertaining and original gaming experience.

    NOTE: This game was withdrawn from sale on May 15th, 2017 due to expiring music licenses. The sequel, Alan Wake: American Nightmare, is still for sale as of this writing.

    Released in May, 2010 for the XBox 360 and then in February, 2012 for the Windows computer, Alan Wake is a good “psychological action thriller” game. You play the role of Alan Wake, a horror writer (in the vein of Stephen King) who has a two-year writer’s block. Along with his photographer wife, Alice Wake, they travel to Bright Falls (presumably in Washington state) for a cabin vacation. While in town, Alan picks up the keys to the cabin in Cauldron Lake from a strange old lady. They get to the cabin, but the lights are working. Did I mention that your wife is nyctophobia, thus fears the dark? And then she disappears under mysterious circumstances.

    And, that, folks, opens up Episode 1 of this game.

    I like how this game is structured is structured as a six-episode mini-series as if it were a television show (not to mention the two-part DLC special). This made it easy for me to play this game over a series of nights in chunks. The side effect, however, is that each episode has our protagonist starting out with nothing. Another aspect is that our protagonist is not a super-athlete or super-soldier by any means, and is by all means a “normal” person, albiet with a healthy imagination.

    Another aspect is how meta the references get in this game. This game admits that it drew heavily from the Twin Peaks series from 1990-1991, and it shows. The fictional town of Bright Falls was modeled after the real-life small town of Detroit, Oregon near Detroit Lake. At some points in the game, Alan is watching a television show Night Springs, which is a thinly distinguished version of the Twilight Zone. Unfortunately, two product placements detracted from this meta, namely the Energizer batteries and the Verizon Wireless.

    Gameplay mechanics interesting. Your most powerful weapon isn’t the revolver, rifles, or the flare gun, but light. That’s right, your most commonly used item and weapon is your flashlight to fight the manifestations of darkness in the game. I know, sounds weird, but it works here. And, the game does allow for some exploration.

    Storywise, it’s a very good story. Although it is a bit linear, it makes for a good yarn and time well spent. The ending was a bit drawn out in episode six, but it was not a disappointing ending. The two “specials” in the DLC talk builds upon the aftermath of episode six.

    Graphics is very good, but was designed for release on the lower-resolution systems of 2010-2012. The age does show a little bit running at the 2K resolution of my system, but I had very good framerates during the game (85-100 FPS). No complaints here.

    Would I recommend this game? HIGHLY, and it’s a shame that this game wasn’t more popular. Although a Alan Wake 2 was in the planning stages, it was cancelled and replaced with Quantum Break.

    Be sure to check out the Alan Wake Wiki after you completed the game as well as the bonus material.

    “You can not operate in this room unless you believe that you are Superman, and whatever happens, you’re capable of solving the problem.” – Gene Kranz

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