Alan Wake Review

Platform: Xbox 360/PC
Originally Reviewed: 2012

This current generation of games really has made us wait a long time for some titles. Alan Wake is another notorious game that spent years in development, having its original sandbox open-world concept scrapped for the more linear, narrative based title we see today.

The game focuses on the struggling fictional writer Alan Wake who vacations with his wife Alice to the seemingly quaint town of Bright Falls to try and regain his creative flow. Things quickly, and rather expectedly, turn sour as Alice is dragged from the cabin into the lake, leaving Alan to abandon his writing and try to track her down and rescue her.

The events of the game take an even more horrific turn when Bright Falls becomes enveloped in darkness and the locals become crazed and murderous psychopaths. The strange happenings seem to follow the pages from one of Wake’s unfinished novels that he doesn’t remember writing.

The game wears its influences on its sleeve and is even presented like a horror TV series, as the game is broken down into episodes, with a recap of the previous events before each new one starts. It’s a cool concept and helps immerse the player into the TV show feel, but makes the pacing rather obvious as most ‘episodes’ start off slowly in the daytime before the darkness sets in and the action kicks off once more.

The action itself sees the player ‘fighting with light’ as Alan has to shine a light on enemies to remove the darkness that surrounds them before being able to dispose of them with firearms. The mechanics involve a lot of slow motion, very much like Max Payne, developer Remedy’s previous title. The mechanics work reasonably well and the game is utterly terrifying in places.

Alan Wake is an entertaining and scary horror thriller with a reasonably good, if slightly unoriginal, concept, good production values and solid gameplay. Unfortunately it is let down by pacing issues and a lack of new features making the game feel rather repetitive by the end.

Alex Aldridge


The town of Bight Falls looks pretty and the lighting is thankfully also decent considering the huge part it plays. Character models could be better.



Scary as hell. The darkness mechanic is pretty cool and the game feels very Max Payne with its use of slow motion. Does get repetitive though.



It’s a decent and atmospheric thriller but its horror references are very obvious and the ‘episodes’ are good for immersion, but make the pacing suffer as a result.



There’s a couple of DLC packs, but once you’ve finished the game, the repetitive nature of the gameplay means you’re unlikely to go back for a round two.



The game shouldn’t set you back too much, which is a good thing as it’s not the longest and you won’t want to play it more than once. DLC isn’t free either (and not good for that matter).



A chilling and reasonably well written horror thriller. The story is a tad predictable and the game does start to drag at the end, but it’ll scare and entertain in equal measure for the most part.





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