Review by CheezyPuff

Reviewed: 06/07/10

Let There Be Light!

You're probably wondering, was all the wait worth it? The answer is yes. The Xbox 360 doesn't have much horror/thriller games to offer, so Alan Wake should be a top priority if you're a Resident Evil/Silent Hill fan. You will not be disappointed by Remedy's Psychological Thriller. When playing this game, you will be BEGGING for daylight...sadly, there aren't many.
As soon as the game starts, your Flashlight will be your new best friend.

STORY - 9/10
You are Alan Wake, a best-selling writer. After a few years, Alan is unable to write anything, not even a single word on his typewriter. His wife, hoping to help him with his thoughts, brings him to Bright Falls. Once you drive to your cabin, Alan gets into an argument with his wife and storms out. Darkness consumes the cabin and Alan's wife, Alice Wake, disappears. He runs outside and sees his wife in the lake and jumps in. Afterward, he finds himself in his car with a head injury, with no memory of what happened after he dove in the lake. He then finds pages from a novel he planned on writing, called "The Departure," but he has no memory of even writing it. A dark presence has consumed the town of Bright Falls, pushing Wake to the brink of sanity in his fight to unravel the mystery and save Alice.

Here's how the game works. A Taken shows up. You point your flashlight at it for a few seconds. Shoot. Sounds good right? Throughout the game, random piles of supplies, such as ammo, batteries and flashlights will pop up to help you with your fight against the Taken. At times, there will be obstacles in your way in which you'll have to find a generator and get it running again, then push the switch. Nothing too difficult. There isn't a huge variety of weapons to use. There are only around 5 different weapons that you'll find, not counting the flashlight. There 4 different types of flashlights, each one being more efficient than the last. You get 1 Revolver throughout the game and it's probably the weapon you'll be using the most. There's a pump shotgun, a double barrel shotgun, a hunting rifle, and a flare gun, with the hunting rifle being the strongest. Along the way you'll also get items like flares and flash bangs, which are mainly to be used in a tough situation. There aren't many different types of Takens that you'll see in the game, just the typical regular Taken, a huge Taken with a chainsaw or an axe, and the annoying Taken that can run like Flash. Throughout the game, Alan will narrate on his current situations and what he needs to do, making it much more interesting and better.

Alan Wake has stellar lighting effects and environmental design that creates an atmosphere to make the scares and thrills more affecting. The game is full of shadows and effects that put the mood of the game into good use.

SOUND - 9/10
The voice acting doesn't quiet well fit with the characters' lips during a dialogue, but Alan Wake's tone and the soundtrack have a powerful effect on the game's mood.

It's not a long game. If you like, play through on Nightmare to get a few more details and to get a better sense of the combat. The first play through will take you around 6-10 hours. In total, there are 6 Episodes and each will last from 1-2 hours each. The game offers little replay value and it doesn't innovate you to try the harder difficulties. The only collectibles in the game are Coffee Thermoses and Missing Manuscript Pages. There really isn't any point in finding the manuscript pages. They're usually picked up after an event and just give you a recap of what just happened, but with Alan reading it.

Final Thoughts - 9/10
This game is all about story telling. After all, you do play as a best-selling writer. This Psychological Thriller is probably one of the best that you will ever see on Xbox 360. Remedy has built a world that, despite being a fantastical realm of twisting shadows and realities, is solidly anchored in authenticity. Outstanding environmental design and some brilliant visuals and sound make Bright Falls and its mountainous surroundings look and feel alive. It's a tough game to put down once you've started. Remedy's done a great job of mixing elements of written work, television, and video games to create an experience full of scares, laughs, and thrills that's just as fun to play as it is to watch.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Alan Wake (US, 05/18/10)

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