Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Alan Wake - First Impressions

So now that I am a couple hours into the game, I will give my official first impressions of Alan Wake. I stayed away from previews and reviews to keep from spoiling the surprises, so I wasn't sure what to expect. So far I will say that it's scary, but also pretty damn goofy at times.

What do I mean by goofy? Well like it's trying way too hard. Take Silent Hill for example. It's just scary, it doesn't have to tell you how scary it is every 5 minutes. It's all like "Yeah, we got demon babies and sexy demon nurses, so what?" At the very start of Alan Wake (Minor spoiler) the body of a dead hitchhiker disappears. Then it appears above you as a black, faceless demon wielding an axe. At this point I was shitting my pants. Then it stands there and tells Alan what a terrible writer he is. Stuff like "Aallaaan you will never win a pulitzer prize!" or "Aalaann your books are worse than Choose-your-own adventures!"

At this point I was laughing too hard to continue. "Please, chop my face off if you want but stop with this verbal abuse!!" The goofiness isn't just with the story either. For some reason they felt the need to include collectible doo-dads to satisfy achievement whores and people with OCD. So there are 100 Thermoses hidden in the game. It's like, how many fucking thermoses does a guy need? You never see him even use a thermos in the game.

Another thing you have to collect is pages of Alan's unfinished manuscript. Aside from being another time-waster, it also gives you a little more backstory about what's going on around you. It's also kind of funny because for a game that's supposed to be about this successful horror/thriller author, Alan is kind of a crappy writer. One page I picked up said something like "The axe murder raised his axe toward me and it dripped with the blood of his victims." Very riveting stuff there, Al.

Despite all this, I am still really enjoying the game. It looks good and has tons of atmosphere. I have to give them credit for some great level design. Instead of the standard creepy schoolhouse, creepy orphanage, creepy hospital, the state park is a memorable setting. The controls are tight and combat is satisfying. The voice acting is excellent and aside from the goofiness, the story keeps your interest.

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