I found Alan Wake to be a mixed bag. I loved the gameplay and mystery introduced in the very first episode. I liked exploring Bright Falls and meeting the colourful characters. The only minor issue I had at the time was Alice Wake's lip syncing; it was slightly off compared to everyone else.
Unfortunately, I found that the other episodes simply didn't match the excitement and awe I felt in the very first episode.
The gameplay became stagnant very quickly. In every episode, Alan loses his guns and flashlights at least once. I was hoping for varied weapons and chances for the player to be creative with the different light sources. I tend to stockpile the flares and grenades I receive for harder enemies or getting rushed by large mobs, so it's bit annoying to keep losing them.
This leads me onto my next issue - the enemies were not particularly challenging. As mentioned before, I didn't use my flares and grenades as much since it was fairly easy to take them down. Even the Taken vehicles require the same amount of light to defeat as a Taken person. After a while, killing huge swathes of Taken became a little repetitive, especially since there wasn't a great variety of enemies or methods to take them out.
Picking up the manuscripts seemed like a good idea at first, since it gave an insight into the other characters’ thoughts and motivations. However, it ruined any tension built in a cut scene or during gameplay since I knew what was going to happen next. I also feel that the writing for those manuscripts could have been improved. For example, I really enjoyed reading Karim’s dreams from Lost Odyssey. The translator did a great job in making them sound like genuine short, descriptive stories.
There were no memorable gameplay moments for me. Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes is a very plot heavy game, but there are a lot of vivid gameplay moments I can remember – for example, hiding in a locker as the camera switches to first person view so you can see the soldiers looking for Snake through the slats. I think a lot of my disappointment stems from the game not delivering the scares or having enough unique and challenging puzzles. The final boss was also a bit of a let-down, it wasn't quite as difficult as I thought it was going to be.
However, I did like final part of the game when Alan has to go to the Dark Place. I liked seeing the words Alan was typing floating in the air and using the flashlight to create the objects being described. I thought it was very creative and creepy.
Despite not being overly enthused with the gameplay, I still enjoyed the storyline and exploring Bright Falls. I found the ending very confusing however. It seemed rushed and was a very abrupt finish. My copy of Alan Wake does not have The Writer DLC, which seems to explain the ending. It’s a shame really, because I saw the trailer for Alan Wake’s American Nightmare and thought the premise was interesting. However I don’t think I'll be playing that soon. I just wish the rest of the game was as intriguing as the very first episode.