Alan Wake – Afterthoughts


I must admit, I love horror movies.  The whole genre is just so damn great.  The blood , guts, and usually campy lame stories are all so fun.  However, when it comes to horror games, I’ve always had issues getting into them.  I don’t dislike them at all.  How could I?  It’s horror!  But for some reason it’s a genre that on more occasions then not, I’ll play for a little bit and then put it down.  I guess it could be the movie part of me since I’d rather watch someone play the game and enjoy the aspects that way.  I may need psychological help?  Anyway, there have been a lot of interesting horror games over the years.  We’ve had Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Fatal Frame, Manhunt, and the lovely ‘I have no mouth and I must scream’.  I understand that these aren’t all about blood and guts, but they usually try to convey the same idea – scaring you.  The thing is, you don’t need a ton of gore to be scary and really it isn’t that scary anymore.  You need atmosphere, which is what Alan Wake brings.

I was never cowering in the corner or hiding under my blankets while I played Alan Wake.  I’m 30 after all.  I only do that when I have to listen to a Nintendo press conference.  But Alan Wake gave me something that I felt a lot of games didn’t – an amazing atmosphere.  Throughout the game I found myself getting a bit tense and my anxiety rising.  That is what makes something scary, I believe, compared to gore which acts as a cool factor anymore then a scare factor.  That isn’t to say that I don’t want gore, gore is awesome!  But I think that’s where a lot of developers miss the target.  How about combining awesome gore with awesome atmosphere?  Perhaps in a few Silent Hill games, but sadly that series has been heading downhill.  Anyway, Alan Wake really doesn’t offer that gore factor but damn if they didn’t create a great world that doesn’t need it.

I never felt like I was pushing myself through the game.  I really enjoyed a lot of the aspects of it.  Sure, it had its repetitions and stupidity, but it was all worth it.  I do have to question though why it took five years to come out.  But hey, I’m not a game developer and I have no idea what goes on with all of that internally.  I’m just grateful the game finally made its way to release and was very well worth it.  And seriously, the use of the soundtrack in this game was great.  Using a song as an actual key component to Alan figuring out things was a brilliant touch.  I must get a hold of all the tracks in this game, I can’t say enough about them.

Speaking of tracks though, the Limited Edition of Alan Wake is one of the best I’ve seen.  It’s very crafty and a pleasure to look at.  If you haven’t bought this game and have some interest in it, do yourself a favor and pay the extra bit for the Limited Edition.  It comes with a 10-track audio disc (yes, I wish it were the full soundtrack but it’s good for what it is), an actual book, some bonus content like in-game commentary, and of course the game itself.  All the while this thing is shaped like an actually book that could fool some people.  It’s big, it’s awesome and it’s well worth the extra dough.

I highly enjoyed Alan Wake (obviously) which is something I don’t say a lot lately about horror games.  Its presentation, storytelling and atmosphere go a long way in creating an enjoyable experience.  Though it might be a bit dodgy here and there and confuse the shit out of you at times, it’s still worth a buy.

Check out my full review at gamefaqs.com

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