Review: Alan Wake

Having only been in gaming for a year, I seem to have hit a purple patch with regard to what games have come along in the past 12 months. Sure, there's been some really crappy stuff, but amongst the bad brickbats have been some bouquets, such as Darksiders, Modern Warfare 2, BioShock 2 and now add to that list, Alan Wake.

Alan Wake is a psychological thriller, first-person shooter, mystery and horror rolled into one. Alan Wake is an Stephen King-inspired author with writer's block who heads to the forested mountain-side community of Bright Falls with his wife, to try and get his mojo back.

In no time at all, Wake is thrown into turmoil as his wife disappears and he sets out to find her only to run into the “Darkness”, a sinister force that not only seems to know his every move, but appears to be writing a new novel for him as he goes.

Set mostly at night, you could be forgiven before viewing the game that the graphics are bound to be average at best. You'd be wrong – the setting is outstanding, with wilderness trails, cabins, hotels, snow-peaked mountains and infrastructure providing a scenic and scary backdrop.

Some of the townsfolk (well, you assume they are townsfolk) have been overtaken by the darkness and are in a zombie-like state and as you go from level-to-level you have to kill them. Light is your friend and you regain health from going into the light, whether it be a house or roadside lamp.

The zombies will try and kill you in many different ways, either throwing things at you or trying to mow you down with a scythe. They vary in strength and along the way you collect flash bombs, flares, pistols, rifles and shotguns (plus the ammunition to go with them) to kill them. First you smother them with the light from a torch or flare, then you shoot them. It can get a bit repetitive and times, but they do appear at the most inopportune moment.

At the heart of all this is a mystery, which isn't revealed until the end as to how he came to be in this situation. Overall this is a great little game that held my interest from the get go.

Pros: Good story, great action, outstanding scenery
Cons: A little short

4 out of 5 Shacks



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