Alan Wake

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The thrilling game by the developers of Max Payne available exclusively on the XBox 360 and powered using the Havok engine. It is the result of 5 years of hard-work by the award winning Remedy.

Alan Wake is one of those games which gets announced and instantly favours a lot of eager anticipation with "jaw-droppingly" good visuals. The problem then comes in the fact that between it's announcement and it's release a few years pass and it gets released at the same time as the critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption. So basically the creators of Alan Wake, who previously made the popular Max Payne series, were up against a game by the creators of Grand Theft Auto. I think because of this the game didn't get nearly as many copies sold in it's first week as it should have because having now played it I understand that it's one of those games which you wish would last longer.

The premise of the game is that you play the titular character, Alan Wake, a massively successful writer who for the past couple of years hasn't been able to write any more novels. To try and cure his writers block Alan and his wife Alice go to the idyllic, seemingly quiet town of Bright Falls - a fictional, old mining town somewhere in North America. When they arrive he is given the key to a cabin on Diver's Island in Cauldron Lake. After a brief argument Alan storms out, but runs back after hearing Alice screaming. When he gets there the balcony is broken and he dives into the water after he thinks he sees Alice underwater. When next we see him he has just awoken from a car crash one week later with no recollection of the past week.

The gameplay then proceeds with teaching you that to kill enemies you must first bathe them in light to weaken the darkness that posses them. To do this you get a torch which has batteries than run out over time, and a pistol. Throughout the game there are other weapons that are made available such as a shotgun, flare gun, flares and flashbangs.

Over the course of the game you're then trying to solve the mystery of the island to try and get Alice back, all the while being pursued by this darkness. The game is split into episodes so that at the end of an episode (usually the end of a day) you then get a re-cap and some intermission music. The soundtrack is actually quite good with some great songs performed by Poets of the Fall (also under the pseudonym of Old Gods of Asgard). Even if you don't manage to complete the game (which I'm sure if you try it you will want to) I totally recommend listening to the song "The Poet and the Muse" which they wrote for this game.

It's a common complaint for games to be too short - this one did feel short though I'm not sure if that is just from how fun the game was as I did feel like I was left wanting more after having played the main game and the DLC for it. Hopefully if they make a sequel the story will be just as compelling with the gameplay to match.

The game is available in two versions, one being just the game, and the collector's edition which includes loads of extras in a book-like presentation box. Inside there is an extra disc containing the first DLC, the soundtrack, and a 144 page book that compiles the story of Bright Falls.

Rating: 4.5/5

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