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on March 13, 2012
I went in expecting something similar to a silent hill resident evil clone/mix; what i got however was an excellent game that perfectly melds the craft of writing and video games for something that (to me at least) is a wholly new and unique experience; moreover being a somewhat avid reader I caught tons of allusions to other works (notably Stephen King, and H.P Lovecraft). I can easily say that this is amongst my top 5 favorite games of all time. The graphics are immaculate (though i must say the animation leaves a little to be desired (everyone talks as if they got a little excited with the Botox injections)) but ignoring that small fault the game is In my opinion, perfect.
If you like horror novels, believe me when i say this game is not something you'll regret spending money on.
but be warned, this is not similar to most games, in the sense that most of the story is left up to the player to discover, and if you're not ready to spend time deciphering the clues, then the game (the ending in particular) will only serve to annoy you.

in short 10/10 easily, much more deep compared to other games in the genre, doesn't rely on cheap thrills.
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on July 5, 2014
Phenomenal plot, smooth control, and better-than-expected graphics. Finally a "survival-horror game" in which from time to time the focus IS to SURVIVE and not annihilate all the zombies... Plenty of cut scenes that I didn't find excessive at all, but rather augment the story telling.
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on April 12, 2012
The Good: Graphical upgrade looks great, memorable story and characters, great pacing, interesting gun play mechanics, included DLC is a bonus

The Bad: Gun play gets repetitive after awhile, can be tough in spots, driving isn't any fun, a little on the short side

Even after 2 years Alan Wake is still an excellent game. With updated visuals for PC, and the inclusion of both DLC, the PC version is worth the buy. Even 360 players should come back for another shot just to see the sweet new looks. Alan Wake was my favorite story of 2010 and is still great today. You play as Alan Wake, a famous New York author who takes a vacation to the Northwest in Bright Falls. He ends up renting a cabin, and before you know it his wife jumps into the lake. He then wakes up from a car accident and so your adventure begins. I can't give away anything except he is writing what is happening to him. The story is very novel like and has a great pace. The narrative is delivered with likeable characters and great voice acting.

You walk around collecting manuscript pages that will tell you kind of what's going to happen in the next scene. You can also find coffee thermoses as collectibles, but I wonder why thermoses? Is this a jab at the hot coffee mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, or a little sign that the guys at Remedy were up long nights trying to complete this? Who knows, but it is an interesting thing. There is also a strange phone barcode tag that has a strange stab at Max Payne. I think back when Alan Wake was released it was a hint at Max Payne 3.

The whole game is wrapped around light and dark gameplay, literally. You use your flashlight to burn away darkness from The Taken and then shoot them until they disappear. The gunplay is challenging and can be fun. There are various tools for burning away darkness like the flare gun, which does major area damage, flashbangs, and flares give you distance from enemies. You can also get bigger flashlights later on which burn away darkness faster. Most enemies will throw weapons at you or attack you directly with scythes, axes, and bats. The whole game is set in the countryside so The Taken look like farmers, sheriffs, loggers, and various other occupations in those areas. The Taken are pretty creepy because they spurt out lines about their occupation in mixed normal talk and deep creepy voices.

There are some environmental light sources you can use like giant spotlights, and some smaller ones to help you fight the darkness. The combat overall is fun and challenging, but never changes which means repetition sets in quickly. Thankfully the game is paced nicely so you aren't constantly fighting. A lot of the time you are running from the darkness and it can possess objects and throw them at you. Of course you have to burn it away so that stops. Large vehicles like tractors, bulldozers, and trucks act as bosses. A lot of the fighting is also broken up with cut scenes and in-game dialog.

This is pretty much all there is to it except the lame attempts at puzzles. There are a few spread out, but they really aren't puzzles at all. I think the game could have used some better ones, but what is here works well enough. There are some fun set pieces that are memorable, but there is one issue I don't understand. Why do survival horrors have crappy driving mechanics? First it was Alone in the Dark, then Deadly Premonition, and now Alan Wake. The cars drive like you're on ice, and despite boosting the lights to run Taken over, they damage the car real quick.

Anyways, the game looks gorgeous with nice DirectX 10 effects that are actually noticeable. The lighting is better, the effects are better, and the higher resolution textures are a sight for sore eyes. The Xbox 360 version, even when it was released, didn't look too hot with blurry textures which made it look ugly in spots. If you have the rig to run this game you are in for a visual treat. The nice effects like lens flare from the flares that blind your vision, and overall lighting effects look fantastic here.

Overall, for the $30 Alan Wake is a steal for PC gamers and a nice price for 360 owners so maybe traded in their game long ago and want another go. This game is memorable and so is the story. This is a game you will talk about amongst friends. From the Night Springs mini-shows you can watch, to the radio station commentary, there is a lot of ambiance and atmosphere that horror games need to learn from.
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on May 23, 2012
I didn't know what to expect with this game. It has good reviews and it was only about $15 for download to PC. Plus, the setting is the Pacific Northwest which is where I live, so that peaked my interest. It's important to note that I played this on a 120 inch projector screen, in a dark room and late at night. Sound was coming through a nice set of Bose computer speakers. I found the Story to be interesting right away. However, the eerie atmosphere and freaky environments is what made this game really fun for me. My large screen made this a very good experience. I also really enjoyed the way this game plays like an interactive movie/TV show. The only thing I didn't like was that the story seem to get a little confusing towards the end.
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on May 15, 2012
First I would like to say thank you to who ever made the decision to bring alan wake to the PC in the end.

This was an awesome game and I had a lot of fun playing it. Gameplay was hella fun. Using the light to unmask the creatures of darkness yielding them to gun fire for final obliteration is plain simple fun. Besides the manuscripts the other collectables are pointless and I felt they didn't add anything to the game. I felt the urge to collect the coffee therms when I saw them but dreaded it every time. Must be an OCD thing. Interesting and dark storyline help motivate you to continue the game and adds to the overall gameplay. I found the story to drag a little bit towards the end but overall was still a fun "read". The graphics were very good. I played on high with my PC and only noticed a few slow downs during scenes with companions that also had light sources moving around the environment.

I would highly recommend this game in the $15-$20 price range. I played comfortably through the game (on normal mode) without rushing and had about 12 hours game time.
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on January 16, 2013
I really enjoyed Alan Wake. It had great production values from the Soundtrack which contained quite a few alternative gems, to the voice acting which was superb. Great combat mechanic, though the difficulty ramps up quite early, if that bothers you. Fairly liner, something I really don't mind (not every game needs to be an open world sandbox). As far as negatives go: The over the sholder perspective feels a bit off like you have to run in a slight diagonal all the time, you get used to it, but it made the infrequent platforming sections more frustrating. Also the addional dlc included in the pc version isn't really anything worth mentioning. The first one is downright bad, with many overly difficult sections (not the good kind of difficult, think more overly crowding rooms with enemies, infrequent checkpoints, and a very poorly implemented Destruction derby. The second one is much better, but still feels more like a carrot held in front of you for more parts of the story.
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on April 29, 2012
pros: Excellent story line! Keeps you guessing every step. Very scarey! The woods just terrify me!
cons: the puzzles you have to solve are WAY to simple. Better to leave them out. They do not make the game bad. They are just a few short tedious spots and then you are on with it.
Very very good! 5 Star for the scary game!
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on April 20, 2012
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this game. The graphics are good and the story is really good. I could complain about the end, but I guess with a strange new story, you have to expect a different type of ending than usual. The bulk of the game is mostly escaping the dark creatures, but you never get bored with that. It reminding me quite a bit of Stephen King's "The Dark Half" because of the content, though the story itself is not related.
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on April 6, 2014
This game is phenomenal. It's not quite Survival Horror. Indeed, it was marketed as a Thriller and along those lines it satisfies. I've played it seven times now, mostly for the combat and atmosphere but I also lose myself in the story pretty easily. So let me elaborate a bit on one of MY top ten games of all time: Alan Wake.

Much better than I expected. I can't think of a survival horror game in which I actually cared what happened to the characters. To me, I just focused on the gameplay and staying alive, going through the motions. But Alan Wake is a very story-centered game. Whether it's in cut scenes, in the narration, in the manuscripts, or wherever, you remain in tune with the narrative and trying to figure everything out. Alan Wake is a famous author of crime fiction who's been suffering with a bad case of writer's block. He and his wife take a trip to a small town in the Pacific Northwest presumably to just leave their problems all behind them. But then Alan's wife goes missing, and the cold eerie nights of this small town present to Alan a problem far bigger than his writer's block!

I won't spoil anything for you, but the plot will keep you guessing right up to (and in fact BEYOND) the end, which of course is what you would expect from horror/thriller. Just know that the plot gets deep, and it never lets go of you!

Bar none! The game goes for a sort of TV series feel and it's easy to see. Each level is not called a level but an "Episode". Events are narrated as you play, in between action sequences. The camera lets you move it so you can see behind Alan as he's running forward, stuff like that. And I like how in the main menu you can access tons of content you've unlocked. You can read pages of the manuscript (a book you start writing near the beginning of the game), listen to songs that have played in the game, even listen to radio interviews you've stumbled across while playing. It's nice.

Superb! Even critics have little bad to say about it. The scenery is gorgeous, in and out of cut scenes. Textures are everywhere you want them to be, and the lighting is right on the money. Now I will admit there is one graphics-related flaw, and that's the facial animations of these characters! They could use some serious work. Still, this is a very small part of the game and therefore didn't hinder my enjoyment of it in the slightest. For the most part, this game is beautiful.

Alan Wake has one of the best video game soundtracks I've ever heard. I immediately went and got a hold of every song I heard in the game, including some very inspired tracks by Poets of the Fall. Good stuff! The sound effects are spot on. Everything sounds as it should WHEN it should, and the audio when you're outside at night is thrilling!

Though the focus in this sort of game is never on the combat, Remedy did pretty well with it in Alan Wake. What the combat entails, usually, is driving a sort of shield'o'darkness off of your enemies so they become vulnerable to your main weapon (e.g., a revolver, shotgun). You can also dodge enemies when they get too close (which can happen very quickly if you drop your guard!) and you get some other goodies later on as well. The appearances of your enemies and their defeat are satisfying, without any blood or gore which was a welcome change for me.

You don't get an endless variety of enemies or weapons. What you get are changes in Alan's SITUATIONS (usually via inventory changes and environmental tools, traps, etc.) and then later some pretty surprising changes in the environments you end up in as well. You start the game expecting the gameplay to be mostly stuck in the woods, but you'll end up in a variety of interesting locations the more you play. As in most shooters, enemy models and ways you'll mostly be taking them down do repeat. But the game does a great job of mixing it up most of the time so you're never fighting the same enemies the same way for too long.

Especially for the price it's going for now, this is a great game! The story and atmosphere alone are a must-experience for any psychological thriller fan. The combat is satisfying though not on par with full-on action shooters. It won't scare the hell out of you like Survival Horror games, but it keeps you on the edge of your seat and keeps you wondering who's who, what's what, why and everything in between!
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on September 25, 2013
I bought this game because it was on sale and well rated critically, but I didn't really think I would like it that much. I'm not a huge fan of shooters and I had never played a horror game in my life, so I was honestly a little nervous even to try the game. Overall, I'd say Alan Wake absolutely won me over, and I'd list it as one of my 15 or 20 favorite games of all time.

Alan Wake is layed out as if it were a playable TV series, split into 6 "episodes" and 2 special "episodes". I found this format extremely enjoyable, and each episode was the perfect length for a solid long evening of gameplay without dragging on TOO long for a single sitting. (Of course, you don't have to finish the episodes in a sitting, but that's what I found myself doing)

The story is nothing revolutionary, but I was satisfied with the narrative. It paces everything about right, first dropping you in a mystery with no clear leads, only more questions. The first hour or two of the game are more about surviving the evil forces emanating from the dark lake than actually solving the mystery, but soon you start picking up clues that legitimately move you towards your goal of finding your missing wife. You do feel the danger of the dark forces attacking you - I never rolled my eyes upon appearance of new enemies as one might with a less intense game; it was always cause to brace for a tough battle.

That moves us on to the combat system. And maybe it was just my inexperience with shooters, but the combat in this game was pretty difficult for me (not that that is a BAD thing). Okay, sure, at its heart it's a simple system - basically every enemy in the game can be defeated with the one-two punch of light followed by bullets - but it's no quick task to break enemies' darkness shields with your flashlight, so when you're dealing with multiple baddies it's a bad idea to try to finish off the first before starting on the second. Towards the end of the game I finally mastered the dance of simultaneously keeping enemies at bay and destroying them, but I certainly took more deaths along the way than it's cool to admit. At any rate, though it was tough, combat was never TOO frustrating, nor was it ever boring (the difficulty kept me invested here - if you're better at it than me the lack of diverse enemies might wear on you though). You'll pick up a few extra light-based weaponry options as you go, as well as the occasional chance to use surroundings to help you out, but combat never strays too far from a light-em-up/mow-em-down core.

I wouldn't call this game "scary" as much as "extremely tense", which was perfect for me. If you're a bit stronger-minded then me in the horror regard and find the early levels lacking, I will note that Special 1: The Signal is a standout in that regard. No, still no jumpscares or gruesome creatures, but being hounded and harassed by a demented version of the main character was a dark, somewhat terrifying experience that will probably be what I think of when I think of this game in 10 years.

The game's ending before the specials is very confusing. The Specials clean it up a bit but it can still be a little hard to piece together. But as a whole the journey mattered more than the destination and I still thought the story was good.

Overall, I'd say give it a shot regardless of how this game's genre relates to what you normally play or like.
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