Alan Wake originally came out in 2010 for the Xbox 360. It was developed by Remedy Studios who are now mostly known for their work on the often overlooked gem Control. Alan Wake is a psychological thriller that’s about a man who is searching for his wife that disappeared during her vacation within a small town called Bright Falls, Washington. Alan is a novelist who is deep into his current novel and while he is searching for his wife, he is beginning to notice events of his book come to life. The game unfolds as a typical thriller television series that is akin to Twin Peaks. There is a total of six episodes in the playthrough that is also complemented by DLC called “The Writer” and “The Signal.” Additionally, there is even a live-action series that serves as the prologue to Alan Wake that’s called simply “Bright Falls.”
Given that Alan Wake was an Xbox 360 exclusive, there is an entire generation of gamers that are oblivious to this story. Needless to say, the gaming community has been calling for a follow-up for this title for some time. Well, there was actually a sequel being formed but unforeseen circumstances caused the project to shut down. In a strange twist of fate, the Alan Wake sequel ended up becoming Quantum Break. Now, at least there’s some more madness to sink into with the remaster that was recently announced. This time, it is being published by Epic Games and it is going to be released on different platforms.
Retreading Old Steps
Alan Wake definitely has its share of fans. When it originally came out, gamers were hungry for a good old-fashioned mystery that is in the same vein as Alone In The Dark. The remastered version will certainly have a higher resolution and framerate, plus it will also include the aforementioned DLC chapters. This product will be the full package for players that either skipped this title or just couldn’t get a hold of it. This is a good time to dive into this IP and see what the buzz is about. There will also be commentary available by the creator Sam Lake. Any player that enjoys delving into the behind-the-scenes situations of projects will surely enjoy this little addition. Some would argue that Alan Wake would be another survival-horror game, but it doesn’t quite fit that mold. This game is more of a cerebral experience. It is somewhat more of an X-Files episode, in some cases. Things lurk within certain places in Bright Falls that do make this game feel like it belongs in the “horror” category, sure. However, these things are more nuanced and they’re not constantly clawing after the player like the zombies in Resident Evil or Pyramid Head in Silent Hill.
There are areas that happen during daytime hours and nighttime. This causes the gameplay to shift considerably. During the day, players can enjoy exploring Bright Falls without the worry about threats. However, once players venture into areas like the farm of the national park, things take a rather sharp turn. The darkness is an evil force that has the ability to manipulate the environment. During the heart of the night, things can get especially dicey since not only animals will become corrupted, but also inanimate objects. Dumpsters will tumble toward Alan and things will fly off shelves. Not to mention that entire murders of crows will jettison down from the smokey clouds and beam straight for him. These enemies are known as “The Taken.” They’re shrouded in a misty dark aura that shields them from physical attacks. The only way to peel away their armor is by using Alan’s trusty flashlight. Once their protection is gone, they’re vulnerable to physical attacks by firearms or otherwise.
Taking On The Taken
Furthermore, there are also human threats that players will have to deal with. They will storm after Alan with blunt instruments and even chainsaws. Luckily, Remedy is well-versed with high octane action since they produced Max Payne. Therefore, Alan comes with a slow-motion dodge mechanic that he can use to avoid bodily harm at the last second. Alan’s flashlight is paramount regarding the gameplay. Not only is it essential for combat, but for also finding clues and solving puzzles. Because of this, there was heavy product placement with Verizon and Energizer batteries in the original 2010 game. Thusly, the vehicles associated with Lincoln and Fords are strewn all over the streets of Bright Falls. With the remastered version, all of this product placement is going to be removed for professional reasons.
Light is a major element that is in Alan Wake’s arsenal. All forms of light can be used to his benefit, like spotlights and flare guns. Of course, resources must be managed constantly in order to survive. Batteries will drain feverishly and ammunition will be scarce. Naturally, there are also collectibles to find in this game that comes in a rather hearty list. There are up to 100 thermoses to find and pages of the book that Alan is supposedly writing. Scenes are written in these manuscripts that have yet to happen. Then, later on in the game, they’ll unfold in a real-time word for word. Alan Wake is rich with environmental narrative and it encourages players to take time to absorb everything that’s happening. There are even daytime segments where players can talk to NPCs and gather exposition to the story.
Sometimes a game comes out that’s special, yet it unfairly is out of reach for many gamers. Now, with the remastered version announced, this is the chance to catch up on this classic. Some would argue that the six-episode television format that comes with this game would deem it “too short.” Well, perhaps with the extra content that is coming with this version, maybe it’ll provide the meat for it to be fully satisfying. Also, since Remedy has fully acquired all the rights for this IP from Microsoft, there are now some new rumblings of a true sequel spiking up again. If this is the case, then now is the best time to try out this twisted tale. Alan Wake remastered will be available for the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC on October 5th.
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