Friday, February 24, 2012

Wakey Wakey....

Gameplay - 7/10
Storyline - 10/10
Graphics - 7/10
Game Score : 24/30

Alan Wake is a psychological thriller action game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released for the Xbox 360 in May 18, 2010 and Microsoft Windows in February 16, 2012. The story follows bestselling thriller novelist Alan Wake, as he tries to uncover the mystery behind his wife's disappearance during a vacation in the small town of Bright Falls, Washington. All while experiencing events from the plot in his latest novel, which he cannot remember writing, coming to life. The game itself consists of six episodes, and the fiction is continued by two special episodes, titled "The Signal" and "The Writer", that were made available as downloadable content (DLC) within the same year of the game's release, released for free with the PC's Collector's Edition. Alan Wake took over five years to create and this care shows in the pacing and structure, Alan Wake is similar to a thriller television series, with episodes that contain plot twists and cliffhangers.

Alan Wake is one of those games that comes along ever so often and manages to successfully bring something new and thought provoking to the industry. In the game, a "darkness" is taking over humans, animals and objects. Humans possessed by the darkness, called the "Taken", are murderous enemies that attack Wake, wielding weapons of their own, such as mallets and chainsaws. They vary by speed, size, and the amount of damage they can take, and some can even teleport between short distances. Besides the Taken, the player has to combat flocks of ravens, and animated poltergeist objects. This introduces the central dynamic of the game which  is the importance of "light", as it is the counter agent that will help you in your journey through the game. As the enemies are protected by a shield of darkness, light plays a significant role in fighting them, while controlling the protagonist in the dark. For example, Taken are initially impervious to attack, and can only be killed or injured with a firearm when exposed to light, which burns away the darkness. Therefore, there is significant emphasis on flashlights and other hand-held lights being used in conjunction with conventional weapons, such as a revolver or a shotgun. The beam of these lights acts as a recticle. Due to the finite nature of both the light available and the potential for ammunition one has to be aware and make the most of ones environment and resources.

Another major element of gameplay is the optional discovery and collection of manuscript pages from Alan Wake's latest "novel" — Departure. Wake does not remember writing this book, but it seems that its storyline is coming to life around him. These readable manuscript pages are scattered around the game world, out of chronological order; therefore, they often describe scenes that have yet to occur and act as warning and instructions for proceeding through upcoming challenges. I really enjoyed playing this game; partly i think because it reminded me so much of this movie I watched a while back called Darkness Falls, check it out if you can its so awesome. Anywhore besides that this game has a big factor of appeal for me because it is so well written and story driven that I could not help but fall in love with this game. More games need to focus on epic storytelling and stop putting all their hopes in online multi-player and DLC (Downloadable Content); get it right the first time and your game will speak volumes for itself in years to come. However nothing can be free of fault and as such my biggest complain is the dodging system; the implementation of this seems haphazard most times and doesn't quite work out the way you hope most times. Nevertheless if you are looking for an thought provoking game to pass the time then look no further than Alan Wake...

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