Alan Wake: The First Night

So yeah, I started Alan Wake! After penning that massive HLL you see below, I promptly drove across the street to my local GameStop, snagged my copy, and returned home to play. (Man, I love living across the street from a GameStop.)

Actually, my first play session was reduced to 45 minutes. Why? Because Lost came on. And Charlie watches it religiously. (But hey, what Lost fan doesn’t?)

Since then, though, I’ve put in a sizable chunk of gametime. Enough to say that yes, I like Alan Wake. I haven’t been blown away quite yet, but I’m imagining that things only get better from here.

One of the first things you’ll notice when starting Alan Wake is how awkwardly Alan himself controls. He doesn’t move with ease like a typical videogame protagonist; he stumbles, gets tired, and moves with a general awkwardness that adds a distinct realism to the gameplay. Every action, from jumping a fence to firing a gun, feels as if it’s being performed by an actual human, rather than an action hero. This makes combat scenarios tense, and very challenging – if you’re not careful, you’ll be quickly killed.

But, while I’ve had some tense moments, I haven’t really been scared yet. This might be because the game’s initial hours spend so much time setting up the story. Alan Wake is a very plot-intensive game, which isn’t a bad thing – so far, it’s all fairly interesting. The dialog strays toward the melodramatic often, but given the nature of the game – it’s essentially meant to read like a novel – it’s forgivable. The voice acting is solid,though perhaps not as solid as it should be for a game with so much dialog.

Graphically, the game is a bit of a mixed bag. The real-time game environments actually look quite good; there’s some real artistry behind the visuals of Alan Wake. Environments are generally shrouded with darkness, with only your tiny flashlight to illuminate the path. It’s all suitably eerie, atmospheric, and oddly beautiful.

However, aside from the in-game visuals, Alan Wake tends to be pretty ugly. Character models during cutscenes don’t look particularly detailed, and facial animations are generally awful. The only exception from this rule is Alan Wake himself, and even he doesn’t look impressive. Heavy Rain, this is not.

I really don’t feel that I’ve played enough of Alan Wake to form a real opinion on it. It’s clear that there’s complex mystery to be unfolded over the course of the game, and in the opening hours I’ve barely scratched the surface. But as I said, I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far.

Later tonight, a certain Ethos should be posting his thoughts on the game in the form of a Scatter Storming. Look for it! And look for more of my thoughts on the game later this week.


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6 Responses to “Alan Wake: The First Night”

  1. SiliconNooB says:

    -Yeah I was surprised at how amateurish the character models looked in relation to the realism of environments.

  2. Ethos says:

    Yeah, Scatter Storming is coming tomorrow. Goodnight, world.

  3. StormofSwords says:

    This game has really gone under my radar. It looks cool, though. I was actually surprised when I found out t was only rated T…Call me strange, but that to me denotes they’re doing something different with the game, which is good. There are absolutely way too many M rated games out there, that have no real reason to be M…It’s not like Halo is actually a mature, adult game, to cite one example.

    Anyway…I’m done.

  4. SiliconNooB says:

    It looks like Remedy are showing off, they’re saying that they can make a scary game without blood and viscera, though personally I prefer my games bloody.

  5. Ethos says:

    From what I’ve seen, gore isn’t really necessary and would be counter to the mood. But then again, I’m apathetic about gore.

  6. SiliconNooB says:

    I see it as a value adding addition.

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