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 [Official] Alan Wake

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ndoto

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Posts : 79
Join date : 2010-04-13
Age : 35
Location : Germantown, MD

PostSubject: [Official] Alan Wake   Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:18 pm



Genre: Psychological Action
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: JPN - Microsoft Games Studios
Players: 1
Release Date: EU - May 14, 2010
NA - May 18, 2010
AUS - May 20, 2010

Launch Trailer:


OVERVIEW

First announced by Remedy (creators of the Max Payne series) at E3 2005, Alan Wake had already been in pre-production for a number of years before that. The following year, it was formally announced for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Windows platforms, but following that, no more was heard about the game for years. At that point, there was no more information on the project, and speculation began on whether it had been cancelled or on the road to becoming vaporware. In 2008, a much different trailer was shown at E3, indicative of the number of changes the game had been going through during the previous years since its initial reveal. Microsoft then announced that the game would in fact be exclusive to the Xbox 360.

The game puts the player in the role of the title character, Alan Wake, a successful but troubled writer who has struggled with both writer's block as well as the fame his novels have brought him. It has been 2 years since his last book, and at the behest of his wife Alice, he has agreed to some time away from their home in New York City by traveling to the quiet Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls, WA. On the way there, Alan is troubled by strange nightmares: a figure shrouded in living darkness - a hitchhiker from a story he himself wrote - chases him through the forest at night. A strange light from the sky guides Alan to the safety of a lighthouse, and instructs him that it is only with light that the dark figure pursuing him can be stopped. Shining a flashlight at the shadow-figure causes it to writhe in pain, rendering it vulnerable to gunshots.

Roused from his dark dreams, Alice informs him that the ferry they're traveling on has almost arrived at the town. Attempting to shake off the troubling nightmare, Alan begins to look forward to spending some quiet time in Bright Falls with his wife, free from the stress and pressure of not knowing how to start his next novel. It isn't long, however, before Alan realizes that something sinister lurks beneath the idyllic town of Bright Falls, and the landscape around him begins to take on the twisted form in his nightmares. With his flashlight in hand, Alan struggles not only to survive, but to save his wife and solve the mystery of the scattered manuscript pages he finds throughout the town - pages from a book he has yet to write, which seem to foretell events before they happen.



The game comes in both a standard version a well as a Limited Edition Collector's version. The collector's version comes in a box that mimics the look of a hardcover book, and contains the game, a partial soundtrack to the game, a special bonus content disc containing interviews, picture galleries, trailers and an exclusive NXE Dashboard theme as well as an exclusive Avatar item for your Xbox 360. The Limited Edition also comes with a voucher for the first DLC episode for free, as well as a book called "The Alan Wake Files", a fictional book (presented as nonfiction and set AFTER the events of the game) that provides more background on the characters, the events of the game and the town of Bright Falls.

Further proving Remedy's commitment to the game and its intricate mythology, a 6 part prequel miniseries simply called "Bright Falls" is available both online as well as on Xbox Live, and gives viewers a different look at (and raises additional questions about) the strange secrets of the small town.

REVIEW

Remedy brands Alan Wake as a "Psychological Action game", and I think that's an important distinction to make right off the bat - it is not, strictly speaking, a "Survival Horror" game in the vein of Silent Hill or Resident Evil. Can it be scary? Oh yes, it certainly can be - especially when playing alone in the dark at night. Are you constantly fighting for your life with ammunition at a premium? Most certainly not. And while the game certainly can be scary, it isn't always. Sometimes it's downright funny.

This is not a bad thing.

People who go into the game expecting "Survival Horror" (and everything that genre entails) seem to be disappointed by Alan Wake - but that's not the type of game Alan Wake ever claimed to be. What it IS, though, is a third-person shooter action game presented with a strong, psychological thriller narrative - and that narrative is key. Alan Wake is presented in the format of a television show, divided into six "episodes". Each episode chronicles more of Alan's journey to the heart of the bizarre occurrences in Bright Falls. During the day, Alan meets with townspeople and struggles to make sense of the situation he's found himself in; at night, he struggles against dark forces and the shadowy figures he comes to know as "the Taken". The writing is very strong, and it's key from the beginning that the story is paramount in this game. Although the plot itself is presented seriously, there is just enough comic relief present in the game that it maintains a nice balance of not being TOO scary, while never having so much humor that it disrupts the storytelling.

Combat in the game is twofold: because the Taken cannot be damaged normally, you must first use your flashlight to weaken their defenses. Pointing yourself and your flashlight at a Taken with the right analog stick will begin to wear it down, while "focusing" your beam with the left trigger will wear it down faster and cause it to stagger. Boosting your beam with this focus will cause your flashlight's battery to drain, however; you can find batteries scattered around at times, and in addition, the flashlight will slowly recover a small amount of battery power over time. After a Taken has had enough light on it, the shadows surrounding it will dissipate, and you will be able to damage it with your gun. In addition to a pistol, you can find shotguns, hunting rifles, flareguns, road flares and flashbang grenades to help you combat the forces of darkness. Using the right bumper, you can dodge enemies' attacks at the right moment, and you can sprint for limited periods of time with the right bumper. One of the nicest touches of the combat system is the brief "cinematic" slow-motion moments you'll sometimes encounter. It can happen as you dodge an enemy attack at just the right moment (giving you a moment to celebrate a slick maneuver) or also as a Taken sneaks up from behind for a potential ambush (giving you a moment to react and ready your flashlight).

The graphics look top-notch, and the characters themselves are very believable. The only aspect of the graphics which could've been refined are the facial movements in the game, particularly mouth movements when speaking. It can be distracting - nothing on the level of a bad Godzilla dub - but is disconcerting given the amount of detail put into the graphics and animations everywhere else.

Also amazing is the music in the game - with a gorgeous score composed by the accomplished Petri Alanko, as well as a marvelous selection of fitting licensed music (usually heard on the various radios in the game or as each episode's unique "ending theme"). I'm grateful to have gotten the Limited Edition which came with the partial soundtrack to the game, as the included songs are really wonderful, and I only wish they'd included a full soundtrack with the complete score and licensed tracks!

I've played through the game to completion on the Normal difficulty, and I genuinely felt that it was an amazing experience. The mythos and background of the setting and characters is fascinating, and the Alan Wake Files book and Bright Falls miniseries go a long way to show Remedy has something big in mind for Alan Wake as a whole. With inspiration from things like David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" and the writings of Stephen King, Alan Wake crafts a brilliant thriller that keeps players both on the edge of their seat and wanting to press onward to see what happens next.

9/10 - Highly Recommended
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