the Andrew Bailey

Alan Wake

A recent Humble Weekly Bundle had Alan Wake in it. Seemed like a good deal at the time, so I picked it up. I have been playing it over the last week, and I have a few words.

Alan Wake speaking to Dr. Hartman.

The story is about a writer (named Alan Wake) who goes on vacation, but starts writing a book when he, his wife, and his manuscript get caught up in the local ghost story. The whole thing is filled with bad choices from the start. I have to wonder why didn't he just write himself a deus ex machina, but that would collapse disbelief. Pages of the manuscript are scattered around the game world, and most eerily foretell what will happen in a few moments. Others are exposition about characters that I don't give a crap about, that is if I can remember who is who.

Alan Wake is a game that doesn't know what it wants to be. It tries to be a horror game, but totally fails at it, since it totally shows you when something is coming up from behind. It tries to be a shooter, but isn't quite there. Combat is more frustrating that scary. The enemies, "The Taken", are essentially zombies that die in the light. Each encounter gives you a few options when it comes to dispatching them. There's the flashlight to shine on them to wear them down, then shoot them to finish them off. You might be able to throw a flashbang grenade. You might have to start a generator to turn on an overhead light, or you can run like hell to the next one that's already on.

Once upon a time, this game was widely promoted as part of the Games For Windows thing Microsoft had going on when Vista came out. A few years later, it would stumble out on Xbox 360, only later to limp to PC. I recalled a time back there when episodic gaming was going to save the world. Unfortunately, Remedy sort of drank that kool-aid, and this game is six "episodes" back to back like a TV series marathon; complete with recaps of what just happened.

The bottom line is that Alan Wake is mediocre as games get. Get it on sale if you're interested. If not, I don't blame you.

Posted under Gaming.

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