Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alan Wake

Developer: Remedy Entertainment
Publisher: Microsoft
Release Date: May 18, 2010
Systems: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PC
ESRB Rating: T

In a nutshell: Being a writer takes you to some dark places.

0:00 The first and last time I saw a live demo of this game was way back at Microsoft's X06 event in Barcelona. Back then I called it "definitely one to watch for." Today, I guess we'll see if over three years of watching out have paid off.

0:01 A man with a flashlight looks around nervously. Zoom out as we see he's framed by the massive "A" in the "WAKE" of the brightly lit title. I press start and a lighthouse appears with ominous white smoke rising up to a bright moonlit sky.

0:02 Subtitles are disabled by default. Am I the only one who likes using them by default?

0:03 Selectable difficulties are Normal, Hard and Nightmare, the last of which is locked. If Normal is the lowest, doesn't that make it "Easy," technically? It's what I choose, anyway.

0:04 "Stephen King once wrote that, 'nightmares exist outside of logic...'" Horror story characters always question why, but answers are not and should not be forthcoming, according to King. So I guess we shouldn't expect a lot of concrete explanations from this game, huh?

0:05 "My name is Alan Wake. I'm a writer. I've always had a vivid imagination, but this dream unsettled me... So yes, it began with a dream." He's driving on a coastal road, desperately trying to reach a lighthouse for some unremembered reason. He hits a hitchiker, who lies unmoving... unblinking. "He was dead," Wake self-narrates before the headlights go out and the man disappears. "Episode 1: Nightmare."


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