Some years back, I was all Project IGI.
No, not that I haven’t played any other. I have also had a taste of The Thing, Arma, Max Payne, Evolution, Banjo-Kazooie, Assassin’s Creed, Crysis, Call of Duty, Deadly Premonition and a hell lot of other games, some perhaps with insanely flattering graphics. Still, IGI seemed to be the one thing that managed to keep intriguing me for a long while.
And then came Remedy’s Alan Wake. And it changed everything!
For the first time ever, a story so engrossing, graphics so appealing and the most fascinating part – a writer for a protagonist – it was all amazing. Not some unconvincing superhero or a neuron-ticking supercop on the battleground – the last reserves to save the universe from apocalypse. Alan Wake is just a plain, simple writer, somewhat schizophrenic, driven apart from his beloved wife by dark forces and fighting all odds to find her.
And a grand concept too – the good over the evil, light over darkness, using only a gun and a torchlight to the rescue. A walk through the gripping woods with a heart pounding hurdle here and there, yes, adrenaline surges are bound to happen.
Things to be appreciated:
The plot – It’s different, absorbing – the writer’s own story that he doesn’t remember writing, coming to life, his fighting the evil, the Dark Presence, for the sake of love, a memory given to oblivion and a lot many questions left unanswered. Shadowy figures, Bright Falls – the dark, fictional so-wrong American town, a compelling background score, minute details, friends turned foes, shifting objects and their fear of the light which isn’t so available – it’s a gripping tale. The story comes in bits and parts as the game unwinds. And at the end, it’s like a bolt from the blue. It’s pretty much Stephen King-ish. Won’t say more; spoilers not intended, anyway.
Light, the most powerful weapon – Yes, it is. And it just isn’t a weapon. It’s your safe haven. It is one thing that you’ll greed for throughout the entire game.
The horror – The unknown, the darkness – maybe man’s biggest paranoia, is being portrayed as the antagonist here. It’s scary – the sudden eruptions of the evil from the black and the subsequent dramatic attack; scary enough to give you cold feet and hit the panic button with all haste. It’s a double ‘A’ from my side, just for the sake of horror.
Things to be ignored (because, trust me, it is a great, great game):
The simple gunplay – It’s basic. No dramatization of the firing events. But may be hamming it up would have spoiled the thrill.
The muffled characters – Alan’s wife, Alice, could have been presented as a more important character. And Barry Wheeler, Alan’s friend, is a rather dependent guy.
The confusing ending – Okay, so what does Alan Wake finally achieve? This question is bound to haunt you unless, of course, if there’s an Alan Wake 2 doing the rounds. But then, let’s also remember the writer’s ending note – “It’s not a lake – it’s an ocean.”
Now that you see that the minus points are only negligible, Alan Wake definitely comes in the league of great games ever developed in history. As for me, it is the best I’ve ever played. So, when are YOU trying it out?