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Alan Wake (Xbox 360)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Description

Alan Wake is an intense cinematic action game with strong survival horror elements, told in successive episodes. The player controls the actions of the eponymous Alan Wake, a popular detective writer who tries to escape the pressure of creative expectations in a fictional town called Bright Falls. Pretty soon however, Alan's wife disappears and he will be facing weird happenings forcing him to pick up a weapon and a flashlight. While Alan tries to uncover the mystery he just got pulled into, the story is told in six episodes, each ending with a title screen and starting with a recap of the recent happenings - just like a TV episode.

The key element in the game is light. During the game's daylight passages Alan explores and discovers Bright Falls with its town life and woods, including an in-game radio station and different TV channels. The game's dramatic and action-oriented elements start at nightfall. People and animals in the game turn into most harmful beings at night. They are engulfed by a darkness that transforms them. Called Taken, they are extremely vulnerable when exposed to light and that is how to fight them. Alan's main tools for survival are a gun and a flashlight. Throughout the game both tools vary and Alan will find better weapons and stronger flashlights. Flashlights require batteries and these can be drained, especially when he focuses the light into a stronger beam to remove the dark influence surrounding people and creatures quicker. Enemies can only be shot after the veil of darkness surrounding them has been removed with light.

In-game Alan is controlled from a third-person perspective and although he carries a gun the game does not use cross-hairs. The main focus in combat is the use of light and therefore Alan points at enemies with his flashlight while the game provides aim assistance at the very target. He can pick up additional ammo and batteries and there are also a few puzzle elements where he needs to interact with the environment to restore electricity for instance. Healing is done automatically by not taking damage for a while and there are also locations with lots of light where the creatures cannot enter, called safe havens. There health is restored even more quickly. Many of the story elements are told in different, scattered pieces from a general timeline. The player will for instance return to an apartment prior to the departure to learn more about his wife's phobia of the dark. Much of the time is spent exploring and there are also a few driving sequences. Other parts of the story are gathered through pages of a book's manuscript Alan has yet to write. These are stored and often provide more information about past and upcoming events. There are also many cinematic, scripted events and conversations with the town people. Similar camera angles are provided when shooting or dodging, with slowed-down time for cinematic effect.

Screenshots

Alan Wake Xbox 360 The lighthouse, the safest place on Earth.
Alan Wake Xbox 360 The police and FBI are hunting you... too bad for them they don't know what they're up against.
Alan Wake Xbox 360 In the sheriff's office, the sheriff has agreed to help you look for your wife.
Alan Wake Xbox 360 Some obstacles can be kicked down.

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Top-class storytelling wrapping up a very fine game Hammerlore (982) 4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars
I continued to narrate to myself, hoping the player would pick up on my hints. Adzuken (702) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

The Press Says

Gaming Target May 12, 2010 9.3 out of 10 93
XboxAddict May 04, 2010 9.3 out of 10 93
GamingLives May 25, 2010 9 out of 10 90
Gamezone (Germany) May 05, 2010 9 out of 10 90
Level Jul, 2010 8.6 out of 10 86
Jeuxvideo.com May 05, 2010 17 out of 20 85
GamersGlobal May 12, 2010 8.5 out of 10 85
GameCola.net Feb 01, 2011 8 out of 10 80
Blend Games May 04, 2010 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Gamekult May 05, 2010 8 out of 10 80

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
First impressions... 1 MasterMegid (897)
May 19, 2010

Trivia

PC version

In February 2010 Microsoft announced that the game would become an Xbox 360 exclusive. Initially it had been announced as a PC title as well. Oskari Häkkinen, head of franchise at development studio Remedy Entertainment, clarified that the company of about 50 people could only devote its resources to work on a single platform. He left the option of a later PC version open, stating that it would require a "sit down" with Microsoft to see where the title went. Remedy has a long history in PC development and Alan Wake would be its first game not to appear on the platform. In December 2011 it was revealed there would be a PC release after all. It was eventually released in February 2012.

References: Max Payne

  • Note that some of Alan Wake's novels have names similar to chapters from Max Payne and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. These titles include The Things I Want and Late Goodbye among others.
  • During one of the game's flashbacks you see that New York city is having a very harsh blizzard. The radio plays a warning very much like the one heard in Max Payne.
  • James McCaffrey (voice of Max Payne) makes a vocal cameo at the beginning of Act 2. Alan can pick up two pages of a manuscript in his office for a story written in the style of Max's monologues ("I'd lain here in the snow while the lurid chain of scenes that had led me here kept playing in my head, a rerun of my own private snuff movie, a memory of my corpse...") Instead of Matthew Porretta (voice of Alan Wake) reading these manuscripts, as is usually the case, it's the gravelly voice of Det. Max Payne.
  • This and other Max Payne references serves to suggest that Alan Wake wrote a story similar or identical to Payne's under the title character "Casey Lynch."

References

  • When Wake is being pursued by Agent Nightingale, he calls Wake various famous writers, including: Dan Brown, Bret Easton Ellis, Raymond Chandler, and H. P. Lovecraft.
  • In the game, there is a TV show called Night Springs. Not only is this a clear parody of The Twilight Zone, but it is also the opposite of the name of the town in which the game takes place: Bright Falls.
  • Alan Wake regularly encounters a woman by the name of Cynthia Weaver, for example in the diner at the start of the game. She appears as a weird woman cradling a lamp. Her manners are identical to the "Log-lady" in Twin Peaks, who cradles a log in the exact same manner.
  • The game references Stephen King and his novels such as The Shining.
  • Wake's editor cautions him to not upset the natives or "it'll be Deliverance all over". This is a reference to the 1972 film Deliverance in which vacationers are raped and attacked by locals.
  • Awards

    • IGN
      • 2010 - Best Xbox 360 Horror Game (Editors' Choice)

    Information also contributed by Big John WV, BurningStickMan, kent c. koopa and MasterMegid

    Related Web Sites

    Hammerlore (982) added Alan Wake (Xbox 360) on May 06, 2010