Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Shining a light on Remedy's Alan Wake

12:00 PM on 02.18.2010 // Ben Perlee

Alan Wake has been a long time coming. Back in 2005, we were shown a game featuring a guy who looked like Johnny Depp in the film Secret Window. Which would make sense -- both are both about male writers dealing with writer's block, and its effect on how they deal with the important events in their lives.

But after years of development, Alan Wake, is finally nearing release. The game is basically done, actually, with only some minor tweaking left to make sure the experience is perfect. It's obvious that Remedy is working hard to make Alan Wake an awesome experience, and having spent some time with the game, I'm a believer. I didn't want to put it down.

Follow the jump for more.

Alan Wake (Xbox 360)
Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
To be released: May 18, 2010

Alan Wake is heavily inspired by the works of Stephen King and the TV shows Twin Peaks and The X-Files. Wake is with his wife visiting the small, idyllic woodland community of Bright Falls. It's a good resting place for him and his wife to work on their relationship, and maybe for resuming his writing career. After all, it has been two years since his last novel, and the writer's block is getting to him.

Of course, crazy things start happening. Alan's wife disappears, and the weirdest thing of all, sheets of paper from a novel -- as if written by him -- are showing up wherever he goes. Alan will find them as they tell what has happened, or what will happen. The effect is a little trippy, thanks in part to the level design and how events are played out. For example, Alan will find a page of this novel, and it will describe his friend and the local sheriff crashing in a helicopter... just as he walks up to the wreckage, moments after it has happened.

Now, a lot has been said about how Alan Wake is a survival horror game. I'm going to have to qualify these statements people have made, because I don't think Alan Wake is a horror game at all. It's thrilling and spooky, and maybe even startling, but I never got the impression that it is a scary game per se. Hell, Remedy is aiming for a Teen rating, so don't even expect much blood in Alan Wake.

But thrilling it certainly is. From decrepit dams and silos to helicopter crashes, from spooky old women to the psychological creepiness of uncovering the truth through the pages of a novel, every element of Alan Wake has a certain uneasiness to it. You never know what's around the corner, though from my hands-on time with the game, you know that whatever it is, it'll be thrilling and exciting.

The game is broken up in an episodic fashion, so after each chapter, you'll be shown a “Previously on Alan Wake...” cut-scene. While I wouldn't say it means much, it is a fun and neat little touch that makes the game feel more cinematic than you would initially believe.

Before I had a chance to play, I was shown the introductory area of the game. Alan had just come to Bright Falls with his wife, and they entered the local cafe. Alan was able to walk through the cafe and interact with almost everything and everyone there. He headed to the back, and encountered a creepy old woman who handed him his key to the island lake cabin. This initial scene does a great job of setting up the game, and illustrates the contrast between the perceived normalcy of Bright Falls, and the insanity that goes on at night.

My playthrough began with Alan waking up in his car, perched on the edge of a cliff. It's totaled, and to top it off, his wife is gone. He climbs out, grabs a flashlight, and notices a nearby gas station that should offer some safety. For the next twenty minutes, I worked Alan through the dark and foggy northwestern wilderness, witnessed the car plummet off the cliff, was attacked by ghostly lumberjacks and possessed earth movers, and was generally assaulted from all sides. Of course, it's only once you get to the gas station do you discover the first of what I'm sure will be many startling truths. I'll leave that for you to experience yourself.

Now, other than running around trying to not get killed, you have a few offensive options. The enemies of Alan Wake are ghostly humans, shadowy birds, and large possessed items -- like massive coils of wire and vehicles. The only way to deal with them in Alan Wake is with light. Using a focused flashlight, Alan can freeze these shadows, and once weakened, they can be shot and killed. Should you and any NPCs you're fighting with have a problem, a flare can be fired for some momentary defense. A flare gun, in contrast, is purely offensive, obliterating any of these baddies with a well placed shot. Contextual lamps and spotlights work in a pinch, too.

In a stressful way, this two-part system of taking out bad guys is actually pretty fun. Since you have to juggle batteries for your flashlight, ammo for your gun, and flares -- and make sure you don't die -- ammo management is really important. Reload speeds, too, tend to run on the long side, cementing the fact that Alan Wake isn't exactly your typical third-person shooter.

Alan Wake is one of the most impressive looking games I have ever seen on the 360. I'm sure the fog and darkness helps out in some of the graphical trickery, but beyond that, it's a beautiful game. The textures are stunning, and the levels themselves are gorgeous. Being assaulted by a pile of two-ton logs has never looked so damn good.

I'm really interested in what Remedy hopes to do with the game as a franchise. I asked about sequels, selling the game episodically, and the future of Alan Wake. I'm talking movies, TV shows, and even novels written from the perspective of Alan Wake. Crazy, but certainly a strong vision for the franchise.

Alan Wake is very, very cool. From what I've played, I can say that the game is like nothing we have seen in a videogame before, especially with the themes and Remedy's cinematic approach. There is some really cool stuff going on here, and I, for one, cannot wait for May 18.

Photo Gallery: (5 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Ben Perlee,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
I swear, it makes sense in context..... Kinda. Hmmm. Okay, not so much. [img][/img]
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Almost done with my Waifu wars blog. pretty happy with how it turned out.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Time to scream and shout. It's Nanako cosplaying as her big bro! <3
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump is like Gandalf the White vs. Handsome Jack.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Skellige is so cool! It's like the land of Valhalla Rising.
Shinta avatarShinta
God damn, Bernie Sanders is just killing it with this speech. Hitting basically every point. He even used the word "oligarchy." Probably the first time I've ever heard that word uttered on CNN. I think a lot of people in power are shitting their pants
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
In my haste to finally factory reset my tablet, I erased a blog I had worked on. Thankfully, it's fresh in my mind. It's another MGS blog, but it goes the opposite way of my last MGS blog. Pray this guy is not your husbando, for he is shit.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Just ate a disgusting amount of sugary wonders in a Fat Tuesday blowout. Chocolate (birthday) cake, Oreos, brownies, cookie dough, and some creme brule thing. Satiation by way of eat-'til-you-puke is what Shenanigans says!
LaTerry avatarLaTerry
Is there any real difference between the PS3 and the PS4 versions of Valkyria Chronicles?
Shinta avatarShinta
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Say whaaaaaat?
Gundy avatarGundy
Voting for Broforce made me think of the most American person that could ever exist. President Michael Wilson!
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
By the way, that IGPX collection is a new release. It's the first time the show is available in a complete package, and the first time it's been available in any format in about 10 years. [url][/url]
gajknight avatargajknight
This is your daily reminder that Taxi Driver is the best movie ever and if you disagree then all I can say is: God, you're square.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
I love when someone at work tries to claim you screwed up on something and it completely backfires on them. I try to help them save face afterwards, but secretly I'm like...
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I still love Tearaway Unfolded despite the shit pacing and hell yeah I'm going for that plat. It'll be my 2nd plat, first since Sly 2 Remastered back in 2012. So it's been a while. gotta beat the game first tho :P
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Tearaway Unfolded's final level is my least favorite kind. Life is Strange-esque linear path (through a void) of moments from the game. Bleh.
Shinta avatarShinta
Gravity Rush Remastered looks reallllllyyyyyy nice. Video and screenshots didn't quite do it justice. Seeing it in person is much better.
Virtua Kazama avatarVirtua Kazama
We are T-7 days until the release of Street Fighter V! There will be a blog released on the February 15, only one day before the release. This blog is about reflecting on Street Fighter IV.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -