[Please note, this is not an early view or a huge preview, this is just what I managed to dig up about Alan Wake]
I’m really… not looking forward to Alan Wake. It’s hailed as a new interbreed of third person shooters and psychological horror, which I’m all for, but I just can’t even begin to like it. It’s spreading like wildfire and just about every gaming Twitter feed I follow seems to love it to bits, but I think I’ve seen more than enough to make a judgement. Because I know I won’t be buying the thing, I spoiled myself the full game. Since it went gold a few days ago, a lot of information has flooded the internet. One month before it going gold, somebody managed to play through the full game and spoil it for everyone. Thankfully it seemed everyone on the internet was asleep so it was only passed through spoiler tags.
I’m not going to spoil it, but I will talk about the spoiler itself (but not spoil the spoiler). Hard to describe really. If you don’t want to read the next section then it’s all on you.
What Alan Wake’s massive plot twist is about, is not for the plot. It’s not the giant epic tale with a massive twist, it’s not a “Would you kindly?”, it’s a kick to the balls. It’s a betrayal of everything that a player has done, much like Heavy Rain, it abuses the player’s intellect and empathy with the characters. I’ve seen some footage towards the end of the game and it is awful, I’ll even admit that at the beginning; the game looked promising. It was blending two great giant genres together and I was hoping for something big. More footage came out and the writing just didn’t flow well for me, the dialogue was off: for a story centered game it sure didn’t tell its story well.
I was more impressed by the environmental storytelling that Alan Wake exhibits, you have to shine your torch to see notes over walls (much like Splinter Cell Conviction). What they did as well as this was let Alan narrate the novel he wrote, and doesn’t remember writing, and after seeing the twist play out, I can tell some people will lap this up. Much like they did with Heavy Rain, any experiment should be massively applauded, even if it butchers what it set out to do.
I haven’t looked deep into the game length, but I do know it to be above 8 hours. It’s a good length for a modern day game, but I don’t know how replayable it will be.
This is just what I’ve seen so far, the footage I saw was near the end of the game. I’d link the Youtube clips from here, but Remedy asked to take them down.
It might turn out I’m absolutely wrong and Alan Wake is the best storytelling existence in videogames since Bioshock…