I never felt that interested in Alan Wake. Sure, it looked good and seemed to have a cozy atmosphere but for some reason I wasn’t hooked. It wasn’t until a few months ago I felt that I had to try it out and borrowed it from a friend. At that point I hadn’t seen much of Twin Peaks (now I have) and I tried to approach the game with an open mind. These are my rambling thoughts.

My overall opinion of Alan Wake is not that good. To put it simply, I didn’t find it very interesting. The question is why? There is nothing wrong  with the setting; Bright Falls is cozy and very Twin Peak-ish. It is a relatively small (though Twin Peaks is really not that small to be honest), outlying and mysterious town. It is surrounded by great mountains and deep, old pine forests. The locals like to dress in lumberman shirts and drive big trucks. The diner and the sheriff’s station are of course locations that we recognise from Twin Peaks. All in all, it feels and looks beautiful. It is also here that I feel Alan Wake has it’s perhaps biggest flaw. Remedy gives us this scenery but hardly gives us any time to explore it. The game follows a quite traditional path; every chapter begins with you (Alan) walking around Bright Falls in daylight talking to people and propelling the story. These scenes are either cinematic or heavily scripted though playable. Unfourtunately they are also quite short. A few minutes later the day is vanquished by the terrible night and you have to run around shooting shadow-people-thingys in the dark using your flashlight and guns. I found these more gameplay oriented shooting parts to be dull. Fighting enemies wasn’t fun and the darkness made it hard to appreciate the beautiful scenery. Unfortunately these parts were long. Too long. Instead of letting me explore Bright Falls at my own pace I was only given small glimpse of the cozy town and was instead forced to run around in the dark. Alan Wake more or less drowns in gameplay and I wish Remedy had not tried so much to make a game as to make an experience. It feels even more sad when I so clearly can see how hard they have worked and when I get a glimpse of what they really wanted to make.

Unfortunately it never shines through enough.

The game gets in the way.

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March 17, 2011

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