Sunday, February 23, 2014
I recall being intrigued by Alan Wake when it was first released due to its theme: "A psychological action thriller". Now that I think about it, I have no idea what that is... but sounds good I guess.
In reality, the game aims to provide a similar experience to reading one of Stephen King's novels. And for the most part, it works!
On the plus side the atmosphere is well captured. It's essentially a survival horror (surprise encounters, little ammo, vulnerable player) pivoting on the combat system (fairly fresh), some basic puzzles (too simple to me), lots of collectibles (too many, I think), scary scripted events, minibosses (not particularly impressive) and some pointless driving. There are also some storytelling sections in which you simply need to go from A to B and talk to people, which I personally enjoy.
On the minus side, the story was confusing to me: I spent most of that game saying 'Ok, whatever, at some point it'll be clearly explained' and although at the end it sort of does, there are multiple loose ends for me. The player interaction with the world sucks: The team physicallized most of the props in the levels, they can be kicked down but the player locomotion doesn't adapt well to these obstacles and jittering is common. You could also mention the character models are too PS2 for a 2010 game.
Anyway, although it could be a little repetitive at times, the game is enjoyable. It was structured as a tv series: Each level is an 'episode' with a final cliffhanger. These are the little details that make the game slightly fresh in many aspects. And I like people who dare to do something new! I don't think they really made a 5-stars game, but they came close.