Alan Wake was supposed to be a 360 exclusive that would shame PS3 titles with its graphics and original ideas, and if it came out before Heavy Rain, Uncharted 2 and God of War it could of easily do it! But i won’t go in any console war bullshit, but tell you that Alan Wake is an excellent game in itself.
The story is paranormal, and it draws inspiration from the novels of Steven King and many TV shows off the Sci-Fi/Horror genre. You are Alan Wake, a writer that has come to chill in a small town called Bright Falls, but chilling is soon ruined and your vacation is turned into a nightmare! When its night, paranormal creatures come out of the shadows, known as the taken, which really starts playing with Alan’s imagination and the story for an adventure is set! The base of the game is playing with your mind, and an excellent atmosphere!
All of this has something to do with some dark force which turns people in these creatures, but it can also affect objects. The artistic style is first class, and the creatures constantly flicker as if they are in some strange way flickering from reality and non-reality, this is no graphical bug however! They modulate the color of their voice and seem real creepy!
However, Alan Wake is not a classic survival horror game Silent Hill style, because the focus is on the feel of loneliness and the feeling of being lost. Alan spends most of his time navigating through forests where he is being preyed on by monsters. He finds help in light. When he gets to a lamp or a light post the demons perish and you can have a moment of peace.
Also, your main weapon is a battery flashlight! The demons are completely invincible until you use the light to destroy their dark spirit, and then you can shoot them. Ammo is very scarce, and there is a perfect recipe for a perfect battle system that will make your skin crawl.
In many situations you will be outnumbered and you will have to escape to the next light source, and seeing how Alan gets tired while running, you will get that feeling like something is there, and it wants to kill you.
When it come to the graphics, it’s obvious that the game has been in development for a long time. Daytime textures sometimes suffer from smudgy textures, and you can see the lack of polygons on the faces. So this is no Uncharted 2, but when it’s nighttime you will enjoy in perhaps the best lighting system you ever seen.
The game has many other details, like watching a fictive TV series that reminds of the Twilight Zone. Alan also collects paper from his not yet published novel, turns on generators etc.
Sometimes you will sit behind the wheel of a car, and use its lights to destroy the evil spirits, but this is something that isn’t used very often in the game. Unfortunately AW is extremely short, and it only contains 6 chapters, which can be done in around 2 more intense gaming afternoons!
But while it lasts its incredible atmosphere, and loads of fun, it will keep you tied to your chair!