Wake Up and Smell The Puns: A Review of Alan Wake

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Boy, I'm torn between wishing my life as a writer was like this or wishing it definitely was not.

You know something? I haven’t done a real review for a new game in quite a while. That’s just odd, but then again we haven’t had all that many new and exciting titles release recently. However, there’s something about this Alan Wake that makes me suspect I should probably give it a review toot sweet. So let’s do that, eh?

Surprisingly, a New Independent Property

I’ll be completely honest with you about something: I had heard about Alan Wake for the past few years, but I didn’t even care enough to look up the most basic concept synopses for the game until last week. Why? Because a title like “Alan Wake” doesn’t inspire anything in me whatsoever other than, “Oh, that’s a guy’s name, right?” Well, now that I’ve done my research, what is this game about?

Alan Wake is about a writer named Alan Wake. Cool. It is a survival horror game. Cool. Well, that about does it for me since I’m sold just enough. But to elaborate, Mr. Wake goes with his wife to some strange town in the wilderness because he’s been having writer’s block and wants to fix that condition. During the day everything seems perfectly fine, but at night crazy things pop out of the darkness and make Silent Hill wet itself. The game takes place in six episodic chapters and resolves the plot without ending the series, meaning we’ll most certainly see more of Alan.

Like a lightsaber, except it's just a flashlight. So nothing like a lightsaber.

It’s probably impossible to avoid thinking Alan Wake is Silent Hill meets Resident Evil. Please don’t though. Alan Wake is definitely its own thing, which is enough to give it a thumbs up since it manages to be a new IP without sucking. Good job Alan!

What I find pretty cool about the game is the way the combat functions. While you’ll get standard evil-fighting weapons like pistols and shotguns, your most useful weapon is a flashlight since enemies can be destroyed by light. Flash bangs are now super weapons. Most of the game leads you through dark environments that many critics feel are excellent with only your flashlight to guide you, meaning the atmosphere the game builds is frequently utilized. Even better, your flashlight uses batteries, so you can’t just use it to attack every enemy you see if you want to use it to find your way around later. This is simple but effective as a game premise. No faults there.

There have been some gripes about characters, though. While the gameplay is solid, characters seem fairly flat, especially Alan and his wife, two characters we expect to be dynamic and fleshed out. I can neither confirm nor deny this, partly because things like that are always relative to the player, not the game. If you thought Resident Evil 5 had great character interactions, Alan Wake will seem awesome. If you judge every game off of the Uncharted 2 interaction scale, Alan Wake may disappoint you. But as I said, it’s all relative.

What you’re really here for is to know whether I recommend this game or not. Do I? Certainly. Alan Wake is a good first title in a definite new series. We’ll be seeing more from this writer, and since the first game is good we can really only expect the sequel will be just as good, if not better. As always, I’m pointing you towards Amazon to preorder this one on the Xbox 360 for $59.99 since you get $10 towards your next Amazon purchase. Basically, if you buy a lot of games, Amazon keeps giving you nice refunds here and there.

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Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

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