Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
on 15 May 2010
After a lengthy development cycle I was expecting great things from Alan Wake, but unfortunately Remedy were unable to deliver.
For a game that relies so heavily on it's storyline and characters I found both lacking. The eponymous protagonist isn't really a likeable chap, and his wife is as annoying as Alan is dull. As for the story, it's a pretty clichéd affair, elements clearly lifted from books and movies, but the game doesn't consider the player intelligent enough to get them (Alan exclaiming "just like Nicholson in The Shining" when one of the Taken attempts to cut through a door with an axe). I found Alan's constant narration distracting from the atmosphere of the game, which is largely successful due to some fancy lighting and visual effects.
Visually, the game is something of a mixed bag, much of the game takes place in a dark forest, and much of it looks the same, out of the forest there are some attractive locations, but the textures aren't as good as they could have been, also the facial animations are creepy (a patch to address this has been announced). Also, the cut scenes are pre rendered using completely different lighting and use a different colour pallet entirely, this really disturbs the atmosphere the game is trying to create.
My biggest criticism is with combat, while having to use light to weaken enemies with light is an interesting mechanic at first, it quickly becomes repetitive and more of a chore than an enjoyable experience. In addition, you're frequently you're attacked from behind, and the game slows down (in an attempt to be cinematic) initially it's not too much of a problem, but when you combine this with the game using a similar effect whenever you avoid an enemies attack you may as well be playing the game in slow motion, but since Remedy also developed Max Payne this shouldn't come as a surprise. Another problem rears it's ugly head when you're outnumbered or have low ammo and you try to run to a safe haven, alan can only sprint for a very short distance, and the taken are able to quickly make up ground and kill you before you're able to reach the safety of light. Avoiding combat sometimes seems impossible, which is especially frustrating if you're low on ammo.
I really wanted to like Alan Wake, and when your'e not talking to people or shooting things the game is quite successful. I'm sure many people will buy the game and enjoy it, but unfortunately for me I wasn't one of them.