Jun. 22nd, 2010

Alan Wake

Jun. 22nd, 2010 08:42 am
overlord_mordax: (Default)
Two weeks ago I played a game called Alan Wake that had pretty much just come out. I've spent the last weeks kinda chewing it over in my mind and deciding what to say about it.

Firstly, I'd like to make it clear that I wasn't one of those people who'd been following the game's development for years. I'd probably heard about it somewhere along the line, but it wasn't on my radar until Yahtzee ripped the game a new on on Zero Punctuation. Wading through all of his vitriol, it actually seemed like a game I'd like, so I wend and looked up some info about it. It became clear that I NEEDED that game. I had it that evening.

I don't usually play games in one sitting. Alan Wake I powered through in 2 days in which I did 2 things; play Alan Wake and sleep.

There was nothing about the game that didn't utterly entrance me. Unlike Silent Hill, it didn't utterly terrify me, but the atmosphere was suffused with this creepy *weirdness* that I just thoroughly enjoyed. Yahtzee was right about one thing; the game really does preform pretty vigorous fellatio on Stephen King. But I *liked that*. XD Probably because King is probably my most admired author.

The recaps that Yahtzee had a problem with are because the game is deliberately structured as a TV miniseries; it hits the notes exactly rigtht. Its like you're watching it on the Sci-Fi network. (Since its a miniseries, not a made for TV movie, this is meant as a compliment.)

Yes, the game is linear, and I understand how that disappoints people who'd been following the development and looked forward to it as a sandbox game. However, it *works* in its linearity. Not only does it help the narrative stay coherent and tight, but it also means no wandering around for three hours trying to figure out what you're supposed to be doing to progress. I SUCK at video games (especially ones involving shooting) and I didn't once have to consult an FAQ on how to continue.

They managed to make the gunplay fun and intuitive to me, which means any veteran FPS player will probably find it childishly simple, but I don't care, because I found it so refreshingly fun to play. Yeah, I still died quite a few times, on the easiest setting, but never so many times in one spot that I got pissed off or wanted to stop playing.

The story however, is the real gem. I can't say too much about it without spoiling it, but it's pitch-perfect. It's extremely meta and mind-screwy. And awesome. I mean seriously, you play as a writer in a nightmare little Maine town, finding manuscript pages that you don't remember writing, that describe what's happening to you. And it GETS WEIRDER. Even if the gameplay sucked (which it doesn't) I would recommend this to any fan of the genre, (or any fan of writing) simply on merit of the story alone.

Speaking of things I would recommend Alan Wake soley on the merits of; the soundtrack. Seriously. Talk about pitch perfect.

Look... just. Just play this game, okay? Or watch a let's play, or something. I'm serious. Its like 15 hours if you suck at it. That's not a waste, that's an *investment*.



-David

PS: Oh, and if you're one of those people who won't play a game unless its graphics give you a blow job, THIS GAME'S GRAPHICS GAVE ME A BLOW JOB, OKAY? Just PLAY IT.

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