29 September 2013 | ARTaylor
One of the Best Games Ever Made
Alan Wake is a third-person shooter where you fight darkness with light. You have to burn off the darkness (basically a shield) before you can kill them. Enemies will pop out of nowhere and sometimes surround you easily. You're not some invincible soldier with unlimited ammo, but a simple guy scrounging what you can find.
The story is fairly straightforward. You've lost your wife and a week of your life. You search the Washington wilderness encountered people, objects, and even animals possessed by a dark force. Meanwhile, you find pages to a book you haven't written but is coming true around you. As you go on, you learn that there is an evil force in Cauldron Lake that takes control of creative people. You battle this ancient evil using only the tools you have.
I really enjoyed the story. I'm a big fan of Stephen King books, horror movies, and suspenseful shows. I very much appreciated the media references, almost like a video game Scream. One of the big things about the story is that it is quite scary. And not just a pop-out and say boo kind of way. There were times when the dark fog would roll in and I'd almost be too afraid to move ahead.
I play a lot of shooters (Halo, Gears of War, etc), but I enjoyed playing a game with a different kind of mechanic. It's not just point and shoot. There's a lot more thinking involved. One enemy can easily overwhelm, so being surrounded is a big problem. They also don't drop ammo so you have to be mindful of how you fight. On the other hand, there's only so many enemies in an area (none of that annoying unlimited enemies other games use) and then you can explore without harassment. There's several collectibles (cans, manuscript pages, caches), though only the pages contribute anything to the story.
The thing I like is that this feels like a real place with real people. The women aren't all bustling supermodels (Alice Wake aside). The town seems like it's living and breathing, or what little you experience is. The characters are all written well with believable dialogue. The voice acting is really good, not just the same five voice actors that are in every other game. Alan is amazing, and his narration never gets dull. Barry is funny and is dynamic enough to be more than mere comedy relief. The amount of detail in the levels is amazing. I know it was originally supposed to be open world, and I kind of wish it was since there seems like so much to look around. Though, I really like the structure of the game as it is.
If I have any complaints, it's just two. First, while the animation is generally fantastic the mouths sometimes move like they're made of rubber. Second, there are times when enemies can be too overwhelming and others when ammo is too scarce. The level where you first run from the cops, I had to play several times cause I kept running out of flashbangs. There were some big battles where I seemed to be burning through all my flares and ammo cause there was simply too many enemies or too many tough enemies.
Alan Wake is drastically underrated with audiences. I recommend any gamer to try it out. I also played through the two DLC and American Nightmare. All of it was fun and exciting and makes me wish Alan Wake 2 was on the horizon.