After debating on whether I should get this game for the last two years I finally went out and played Alan Wake. For some reason I just never could get excited about this game although the story sounded really interesting. Now that I have finally played it with little expectations what did I think about the game?
As soon as I started Alan Wake you are on a boat with your wife Alice. You two are going on vacation on a small island and hope that Alan can possibly get away from his writer's block. See the thing is Alan use to be a great writer but he hasn't written a book in years so he is a little moody at the beginning. You go on to meet a few people on the island who all have their own personalities and own animations. I have to say that the animations in Alan Wake are top notch. Another cool thing that you notice in the beginning is the atmosphere is amazing. It is rich and beautiful, but at the same time eerie and startling. You really do feel like you are in a small town and that is not something that is easy to pull off, making both the town feels populated with great atmosphere but actually give a realistic approach of a small town. This is aided by radio stations that you can listen to throughout the game which in return gives more personality to this small town. As Alan and Alice find there cabin to stay in things take a twist and this wonderful peaceful story quickly turns into a psychological thriller. This is where things get interesting. While at the cabin Alice falls or gets pushed into the lake and disappears. You really don't know what happens to her. All you know is that the next morning you wake up in a crash with a head injury. When did you get in a car? Why are you in the woods alone? Where is Alice? The questions are crazy and interesting. As you start walking around in the dark questioning things you start noticing pages that has been dropped on the ground. The weird and haunting thing is that these papers were all written by Alan Wake but he has no recollection of ever writing them. Not only that, but the story that he has written is now coming to life. It is a psychological thriller that has Alice drowning in a lake and now darkness is everywhere. The darkness that is inside people who now wants to kill you which I will get to in a moment. The rest of the game will have you meeting other memorable characters like your agent best friend Berri and trying to find the missing Alice who fell in the lake or went missing after the wreck. To make things even more exciting I will just say that the police are heavily involved in this game and that because of his head injury things are possibly a little too unbelievable for them. The story plays out much like a movie and in ways is a movie. I could easily say that as cinematic as this game with its superb story this could easily be turned into a movie for the big screen with no issues.
Continuing on with the darkness inside of people, this is what the gameplay is centered around. These enemies will come out at night or in any dark place to kill your or other people. This Psychological thriller turns into a horror quickly as the darkness gets stronger. You are no longer in danger just at night but also the day because the darkness can completely take over. Now even though there are a lot of different enemies to keep things at different paces the gameplay is Alan Wake’s biggest flaw. While it is fun, it is a little repetitive with not much substance. Don't get me wrong though, it is still very enjoyable and over all solid. Mostly you just point a flashlight at an enemy to release the darkness and then finish them off with your gun whether it be a revolver, shotgun, or hunting rifle. Other more powerful weapons include Flash bangs and the amazing flare gun. These items are rarer to find but when you do save your ammo for big groups of these dark seekers to kill multiple enemies at once. You also get to drive on a few occasions which shows how big this island can be but the driving is a little strange. The driving is overall boring and shows little substance but does bring great variety. Overall the gameplay is solid but not the main draw of this game.
The voice acting and characters was also done with great measures. You will try and get into people's heads and figure out a mystery in Psychological thrillers so it is important to have a great cast with great voice acting. The voice acting is nothing less than top notch and as I've said before the animations really aids this.
Lastly the atmosphere and graphics are superb. Whether it be the phenomenal animations that may very well be some of the best animations I’ve seen on any game. Even kissing that I can barely stand on other games came out as not being weird and cheesy on Alan Wake. The graphics are good but not amazing but the atmosphere is original, haunting, and beautiful which puts it in a one of a kind game. Not only is the atmosphere original but their story is as well and I can say that it is one of the most cinematic games I have played.
Final thoughts is that this game is superb in most categories and if you want a great story this is a must have game. If you are more about gameplay though this is a good game but with little substance. After playing this game I can't wait to see what Remedy has in store for us next generation.
Gameplay - 8.0
Story - 9.5
Graphics/Atmosphere - 8.5
Voice Acting - 9.0
Overall - 8.8