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OXCGN’s Alan Wake Review: A Waking Nightmare?

OXCGN: "So. Alan Wake. The story of the game’s development is almost as interesting as the game itself – a twisting tale of extended production, major design changes, exclusivity deals, removal of the PC version and numerous E3 showings that each displayed a seemingly different game.

Developer Remedy has certainly been through the wringer in bring their ambitious vision to our screens, from being one of the first games announced for the 360 to releasing when most other games are already on their second or third iteration on the current generation.

In a way it’s similar to Splinter Cell Conviction’s development tale in switching from sandbox to linear when so many franchises are heading the other way.

But does it pay off? Have we been handed a disjointed, confused mess of a game or a diamond in the desert?"

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gaminoz2648d ago

Glad this game has finally seen a release! It seems that any game that is a bit different like this one and Heavy Rain will have different opinions about it.

I still don't have it, but one day might get to play and see for myself.

HammockGames2648d ago (Edited 2648d ago )

Like a lot of people, I was skeptical about AW given the long road that it took to even get here.

But color me impressed. This is a legitimately great game. Impressive visuals, creepy atmosphere, solid gameplay, well told story, etc. My only gripe is the plastic-like faces in some cut scenes - otherwise really top notch.

IMHO, AW is the best survival horror game since Dead Space, although it doesn't quite reach DS's level. I think AW is considerably better than RE5 as a survival horror game. And AW blows Alone in the Dark out of the water (I was truly afraid that AW was going to turn out exactly like AitD - a muddled mess of a game that went absolutely nowhere and impressed no one - glad I was wrong!).

Give it a spin (or at least a rent).

Inside_out2647d ago (Edited 2647d ago )

I think when people ACTUALY get their hands on the game, the truth will start to spread...An AMAZING game that brings great graphics, game play and story together in an incredible presentation...

The story will keep you guessing...Check out some of the SPOILER threads like at NeoGaf...you will want to play many areas over and over trying to figure out what is real and what is urban legend...

***SPOILERS****Is Alan dreaming?...is Alan real?...who is Thomas Zane?...is he real or urban MYTH?...What happen to Alice?...is she alive or dead?...is she good or bad?...is bright falls real?...who is Dr.Emil Hartman?...Who is Mott?....Whats their role in this?...Sheriff Sarah Breaker...what does she REALLY know?...FBI Nightengale is a shoot first ask questions later type of guy...WHY...Is the Darkness real or representing something?...

Easily one of the best titles this gen...you will want to play this over and over till the free DLC in July...which is rumored to be played from a different perspective...WTF does THAT mean...Who's perspective and why...lol...

Imperator2647d ago (Edited 2647d ago )

I've just got one question

**SPOILER**

What was up with the ending? I mean, I kind of get it but it was a bit too crazy. Did he remain a prisoner? What happened to nightingale? Who's Mr. Scratch? They left way too many unanswered questions.

@above, so the DLC is going to continue the story or serve as a prequel? Does anyone know?

Elven62647d ago

To answer your question,

********SPOILER ALERT************

It's assumed Alan sacrificed himself to save Bright Falls, the people who were taken were returned from what I could gather since you see Rusty (the park ranger) in the window and the diner waitress was back to normal.

********END SPOILER ALERT************

XboxOZ3602648d ago

Probably one of the best game out thus far this year on the 360. It would be great to share this on the PS3 as well, for those that loved games like Uncharted 1-2, Heavy Rain, this would be right up their alley.

While Heavy Rain is not so much an action game, but a mind game (if one can call it a 'game') it still have a solid storyline, as does Alan Wake.

I watched ppl play it, and they all react in the same way. They become immersed in it rapidly, yet as an observer, it can look sort of - mehhh okayish. It's when you involve yourself in the game that all the things mentioned in the review become apparent.

Well worth the buy in my opinion.

TenSteps2648d ago (Edited 2648d ago )

It wasn't until curiosity got the best of me that I decided to try it out for myself. The episodic progression off the game made it satisfying and fun to finish. I love games with more emphasis on on Story or Charaacter Development or both.

The only problem I had with it was the fact that my friend said it was one scary thriller which it was not. At least not for me.

Most epic part of Alan Wake was fighting the Taken at the Anderson brothers ranch while Children of the Elder Gods was playing at the background. It was oddly appropriate and equally awesome.

Arnon2648d ago

1. You play it alone.
2. You play it on something harder than bitch mode.
3. You turn out the lights and crank up the sound.

Then it becomes a thriller.

mrv3212648d ago

Surely the fear would come from having to replay certain areas? I was scared on FOM (on easy) because of the sounds in the canary level.

lh_swe2648d ago

But I made sure that it was dark the sound was turned way up, sitting close to the screen. I almost shat my pants when the Jagger lady popped up for the first time, I had to pause and take a breather :)

But I agree on the point that this has to be played and not watched as it is soo much about immersion.

I hope this game is at least nominated for best score as the soundtrack for this game is just fantastic.

XboxOZ3602648d ago

Definately, that's the whole thing, cut yourself off from external stimulus, such as wear some great surround headphones etc, and you will hear a great deal more, even more than a room setup can do.

When talking with the MD of Remedy games while he was here, you could see and hear the passion these guys put into this game over the last 5 - 6 yrs. It is in the finer details, the nessecity to have the environment move and be part of the gameplay by adding that element of additional sound, such as the carnny level, or the flapping of the birds, or the creeking of the iron bridges, the splintering of the door when the axe comes through it.

Okay, some will say, hey, it took them 5-6 yrs to do this, how come the next one will be hear in say 18 months.

Simple, because the groundwork is set, and now they can polish things further, extend the storyline, and twists and turns, much like a Stephen King novel does.

The game is more a Phycological suspense thriller than a horror action game. and, once you have played it, you'll understand why.

I kid you not with what I said earlier about how ppl reacted when playing the game, dragging even game jurno vets away was like drawing teeth fron a chicken . . work that one out. I sat in the room the day before with them playing Halo Reach, then Alan Wake the next day, and they sat upright and at full alert with Alan Wake, and there were a few 'squeals and shrills' coming from their chairs - I kid you not.

That in its self speaks a great deal for the game.

MS should have spent more on it's promotion, they were very stingy with the whole affair really, even Remedy's own Community site had difficulty in getting retail copies to use for promotional stuff. As MS was the publisher, and they handle those things, not Remedy.

Remember, the developer makes the code and the game, not produces and publishes it. So getting actual copies of finished product falls into the hands of the publisher.

Who, in this case, spent very little in promoting it. Hopefully it will sell more over time, as it certainly deserves to be up there with the best sellers, that is for sure.

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REALgamer2648d ago

That's probably why the review says to play it alone.

It's kind of like trying to show someone an RPG like Oblivion - it's impossible to get them to see how much you've invested in it or why you're so connected to the world. All Oblivion would look like is some boring hitting stuff with a sword, lots of walking and speaking to repetitive characters.

But that's not what it's like when you play it.

gaffyh2648d ago

Nope, I'd say Mass Effect 2 is BY FAR the best game out for 360 this year. I had high hopes for both Alan Wake and Splinter Cell, but they both have some issues that affect the games. ME2 was near perfect on the other hand, with my only complaint being the element scanning thing, which wasn't too bad.

lowcarb2647d ago

That's your opinion! I do however agree.

REALgamer2648d ago

Sort of like a mix between the action of RE5, the creepy isolation of Silent Hill and the story of a Stephen King novel.

Shame it came out the same time as Modnation Racers and RD:R, given it a bit of competition for sales, especially with RD:R getting such high reviews.

Sort of like asking people to choose between a great game and a really great game, when the great game would have had much more attention if the really great one wasn't around at the same time.

SilverSlug2648d ago

hasn't ran a single ad for this game. Sadly, the low sales reports don't really surprise me. MS spent all their advertising money on FFXIII.

poopface12647d ago (Edited 2647d ago )

There were VG charts numbers for ONE DAY of AW sales in ONLY the OTHERS region.

Those numbers came out one the 15th, before the game was released in America, and after only one day of sales in the Others region. So about 88K for 1 day, in only one region, is pretty good for a game like AW.

XboxOZ3602648d ago

When playing it at a Alan Wake function in Sydney, I found that I was dodging left and right when being attacked, or dodging out of the way when hatchets were being thrown at me.. I was backing off in the chair and other similar antics.

I thought, pffft I'm a bit of a pussy . . then sitting back down to have some food at the place that the event was held at, others helped themselves to the 10 360's that had been set up with nice large HDTV and headphones through out the venue.

To my surprise, almost everyone else was doing the exact same thing while playing the game. One or two that had said, mehh, looks okay, not too fussed about it, were the ones going back for seconds, and not the food, but the game . . . .

The game is truly one to play with a set of great surround sound headphones on, and in a nice dark room, as that's when the atmosphere of the whole thing takes over.

You can almost feel the fog and mist, and some will say, nahh, it's too dark, you can't see stuff . . well hello . . . light-switch -moment here, you're NOT supposed to . . So don't crank up the brightness just so you can see, find a flare, look for light sources etc.

That will get the adrenaline pumping.

They are currently working hard on Alan Wake 2 already, started that around 6 - 8 months ago actually, so expect another fully fledged game in about 18 months, and some DLC extensions to this before then of course.

To those who are sceptical, bite the bullet, grab a a copy, do as suggested, and basically you WILL enjoy yourself - and that IS a fact!.

lowcarb2647d ago

Your are 100 percent correct. This game really pulls you into the world of Wake. I hope the sales really go well for it because this is really one of the greatest games ever.

IcarusOne2647d ago

And somewhere toward the middle it started to lose me. Can't put my finger on why but the ending definitely left me wanting more.

As for the atmosphere, it was indeed top-notch. Haven't played it with surround phones, but I can attest to the awesome experience on a solid surround system. I'm rocking a THX 6.1 system and with the volume cranked it's incredible. The dynamic range is phenomenal.

One section in particular scared the shit out of me: the darkness was sweeping in and the environment was shifting and wind was blowing. I was tracking one of the many hidden chests and the forest around me was literally BREATHING. Creepy as hell. As I'm straining to hear what I think are words on the wind, a ginormous train car suddenly falls from the sky and lands 5 feet in front of me. The sound and bass literally shook my glass of water Jurassic Park style and I felt like I'd been thrown backwards into my couch.

It's these experiences that were truly memorable. Looking forward to going through on nightmare difficulty.

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