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Alan Wake review
by Basilio Guzmán Gómez

Alan Wake PC Review (Finished on 08/23/2020)


+Automatic save on every checkpoint accelerate the process of booting up the game on the last checkpoint saved without the needing of save points or the save option and when the saved game is loaded, is loaded pretty fast.
+Combat mechanism is decent. The gameplay is an active third-person shooter game with very responsive controllers where the player use a battery dependant flashlight to remove the darkness from enemies, and weapons to neutralize the enemies with the darkness removed. The movement and physics are on-point, as the smoothness and implementation was well done, there's no delay in switching from the flashlight to to the weapon equipped and the aim of the weapon is basically the direction in which the flashlight is oriented. The camera rotation is also very responsive and does not randomly act like many action games. There's also the ability to sprint which duration is dictated by a stamina bar.

+Good controller and keyboard/mouse combo support, as the two combinations can be used from the start and activated as default, that way players can choose the input that suits better.

+Graphics, UI, and overall visual presentation are good. The 3D models present a decent amount of details in terms of presentation and polygonal anatomy characteristics, the environments showcase a good atmosphere and good visuals that go in par with the character models, detailing every single object with noticeable detail, lightning positioning, correct shadows projection, and good water reflection. The UI is clean, letters are clear and with the right size scaling depending on the resolution chosen and match the theme where the main topic of the game is aimed. The cinematic way of presenting the cutscenes is one of the highlights of the game as it give the players the sense of playing an interactive movie.

+The attention to detail to subtle things such as the ink that can only be visible when pointing the flashlight to certain walls, the psychology behind the topics in every Night Springs program and the way Alan Wake was talking to himself when showed on the TV and the "previously on Alan Wake" at the start of a new episode, similar to the TV series were good additions to further enhance the overall elements of the game.

+The ending is a very interesting one because it leaves players with an open interpretation of the decision as to what was written as the conclusion of "Departure" but if you see carefully, you can see many similarities that went visible with some characters, that other characters are now filling those roles. Ex: The switch roles of the Girl of Light, the puppeteer of Darkness, the similarities between Alan and Thomas Zane & Alice and Barbara Jagger, etc.

+The port is definitely the best compared to the Xbox 360 one. Not only is even able to reach the maximum refresh rate of the monitor in use, but the game did not crash not even once and did not present any issues when switching screens, not graphical or sound issues, it just works and works really fine.

+The sound effects and voice casting is very good. Every single detail in terms of sound effects are crisp and very high detailed whether is from the environment, the narrating portions from Alan, the radio stations or the conversations with the other characters feel like your everyday experience with real life. Also, the OST is one the highest point of the game, not only a decent portion of the musical scores talks about the game, but the quality of the majority of the tracks are mix AAA songs that even people can enjoy without needing to play this title.


-Even with how active and responsive the combat can be, the repetition of the combat scenarios is stale at best, where the majority of the game is basically, light the Takens, shoot them, continue searching for answers when even the interactions with the items of the environments feel very simplistic as to simply press A when prompted and that's it.

-The characters are not that interesting or deep. The protagonist Alan Wake is a short-tempered guy with a very bland personality that on the majority of the cases, prefer things go his way or make a fuzz about the situations around him that he cannot control. His best friend Barry, an overly talkative guy with an "I'm always right" personality that cares a lot about Alan (both as his client and friend) but without any interesting traits to show throughout the game and seemingly in bad terms with Alan's girlfriend Alice, a photographer with a phobia of the dark who servers as Alan right hand and support him with the current block he has as a writer, but nothing special is shown about her not even in the form of backstory. Not much is mentioned about Thomas Zane other than his death on the volcano eruption of the '70s, the open interpretation of killing his beloved Barbara Jagger, again another character without much info to dig proper information about and so on with the rest of the characters. Even the Takens were kind of similar from one to another, except for the clothes they were wearing.

-The collectives through the game only serve a purpose for completionists or Achievements purposes but don't make an impact or reveal more details about the story or the characters. With how the game was developed, the collectives should have explained either the backstory of the characters or at least expand on the events of the game.

-The compass available to direct the players to the target destination greatly helps the player to go directly. The compass should have been removed to further improve the sense of being lost in the darkness trying to make sense of the things around.

-The cutscenes are rendered to lower frames-per-second than gameplay one. EX. If your PC build is able to reach and maintain (or even surpass) the 60 FPS, the cutscenes are rendered lower than that. All cutscenes should have matched the in-game FPS.

-There are mixed opinions regarding the story:

*Good: The way the story is told does not let the player know if everything is happening for real or inside the head of Alan Wake, because the way it changes from one event to another since arriving to Bright Falls and having the first encounter with the Darkness puppeteer. Another highlight to mention is how the story of the game is based on a future novel Alan has not written yet called "Departure" that based on what was shown in the game, is like Alan Wake is living the novel that initially appeared to be a nightmare, only to found that the Dark Presence is forcing Alan to write what is going on with the story.

*Bad: The slow pace of the story. This game basically revolves around reaching a spot, kill the number of Takens coming at the protagonist, search for an answer, repeat the process and in it, as it takes a while for one part of the plot proceed to the other. Another point against is the way how Alan Wake react to his environment when engulfed in the dark environments concealed by the Dark Presence, like if it was something he had done it before and not showing even the slightest indication of fear whatsoever. Another negative point to mention is the way there's almost no deep development to any of the characters, while it was explained that basically Thomas Zane created the Dark Presence, as the lake (later ocean) gave life to everything written near it, the game lacks proper information about pretty much all the characters making the ride through the end not that interesting.

-While the game contains three difficulties easy, normal, and nightmare, the nightmare difficulty can only be unlocked once the game has been completed. It should've been unlocked since the start of the game, without needed completion. There's also something confusing Achievement-wise as well, the game does not contain a hard mode, but if you see the Achievements, there's one that is unlocked by completing the game on hard, at least in my experience, it was unlocked when completing the game on normal difficulty, that should have been corrected as well.

Other reviews4

Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
Classic Case of "Since the Release date of 2010 repeatedly met, but always left lying down." The Game always seemed kind of pale and uninteresting to me. Whether it's the Fact that it's set in a Small American town in a Mountainous Landscape Or the Protagonist Alan Wake is a writer with a Flashlight running around in a Tweetsuit or that the Enemy here is an unspecified Darkness, the Shady Shaping is rushing at the Hero. Well-this was a Spontaneous Purchase and I can't even describe how wrong I was in the Game. First of all, "uninteresting" is the Word that least applies to Alan Wake. When you get into it, the Game tells one of the most exciting Stories in Video Game history, ingeniously constructed in Chapters with Cliffhangers. It was no different: The Masterpiece had to be searched over four Exciting Evenings. The Scenario of the Small Town in the Mountains is picturesque and beautiful. From Stephen King To Lynch's Twin Peaks to other mystery classics like Act X, it's teeming with Innuendo without Overloading here. The Protagonist and his Opponents fit in wonderfully. This is about how good Stories work, what makes Fear and hope, how main And Minor Characters become important to you, and how to pack these Things into an innovative Form of a Computer Game. That sounds a little quastised and lifted off again now. But It is not. Promised. Other: Alan Wake is a horror survival action game. Between the individual Stops of Alan'S Journey through the Town of Bright Falls and Surrounding areas to find out why he's Missing a Week, his Wife and holiday Island have disappeared, and the Manuscript of his new Book, which he can't remember and seemingly At the same time exactly describing The real mysterious events, distributed in the Area, the "Darkness" tries to stop/kill him and he then has to defend himself for a Section with Light and Weapon. This is cleverly packaged and fun. Even if, of course, it seems a little repitive and worn out against The End. But then there is always an urgent Desire to experience the Progress of intelligent History. Oh yes: The Game makes you Happy and captivates you to the End, so a clear Buy recommendation. In the End, most of the Questions, but not all, are clarified and that makes for a nerve-wracking Cliffhanger. For People who only understand train Station or People who are simply interested, there are two free Additional Content that makes the End around Alan Wake more extensive and deepens some Of the answers of the Main Game, which only occurred as a Nod. That's nice but not a Must. Not only because the Story in these two Additional Episodes does not undergo far-reaching Further development, but also playfully offers nothing New. They are to be understood as a Referral to the expected Sequel, which will hopefully become just as awesome as this Game here.
Maybe the most poetic game ever released. For book-worms but also for those who enjoy good story and survival horror genre. This game is beautiful indeed and worth to play. Interesting characters, good music (as I remember it) and original combat mechanic. An epic game indeed!
«Blew my mind»
I'm really impressed. This is the best video game story i've ever seen. Speaking about overall quality, 2 years after release the game still looks stunning with great graphics, and the great atmosphere, music and gameplay are all there. (Thanks, devs, for the good port for PC.) There’s only one question I have. Why the hell console exclusives are way better than any multiplatform games?
«Blew my mind»