My review of Alan Wake will be based on 4 categories: Performance, Gameplay, Graphics,
. Please note that any underlined word will get its own section which will be reviewed based on its strengths and weaknesses.
An excellent port with lots of PC exclusive features. Performance on a FX-6300 processor, R9 270 GPU, and 8 GB of RAM in a 1080p resolution, ultra settings, V-Sync on yields an average of 59 FPS and a lowest of 39 FPS.Graphics options availablehttp://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=421007311
Game comes with support for controllers and rebindable keys as well as subtitles, HUD toggle on/off, and an FOV slider. Note that the pre-rendered cutscenes are locked at 720p, running at 30 FPS with black bars at the top and bottom. Also note that for the added immersion, Remedy used vector blur instead of the more traditionally used motion blur which will probably annoy some players. Starting the game with -noblur parameter will remove the effect. No bugs or crashes experienced during playthroughs but be wary that no game is bug-free. If by chance, you do encounter some bugs and crashes, you can visit this site
for a list of possible fixes.
Alan Wake's third-person shooter gameplay consists of exploration
with a very huge emphasis on the usage of light sources to defeat enemies and solve small puzzles. As players traverse the huge sprawling forests of Bright Falls and its various establishments, they'll come across various obstacles that will stop our protagonist, Alan Wake, from ever reaching his destination. The goal for each level that you come through is simple; reach the designated location and survive to further advance the story.EXPLORATION
The Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls is big and huge and the past remnants of its supposed to be open world shows everywhere. For those of you who may not know, Alan Wake was developed to be an open world game until they changed it to a more linear path. Because of this, the only goal for the game is to traverse from point A to point B. But while it may be linear in nature, the levels are designed to be long and big with huge boundaries. Think of a very huge sphere instead of a rectangular narrow path that's so common today in video game level design.
A quarter and a half of the game is spent on running through huge forests and mountains while the other quarter is spent on walking through the buildings of Bright Falls. Within these areas, little to no interaction between characters can be found as the protagonist is in constant motion due to the forces that intend on capturing him. Most of the time is spent on battling enemies or solving very small puzzles but there are very rare moments in the game where you just explore the beautiful wilderness of the game in sunlight (Just like Max Payne, most of the game takes place during night time) and move at your own pace - a much needed break from all the commotion that's happening in the game. The only thing that's going to stop you from the enjoyment is the much dreaded stamina bar which depletes faster than you can say "I'm a writer and I'm not supposed to be physically fit". In context, Remedy nailed that touch of realism where the unfit writer, a normal person, actually expends his breath in a bid to outrun his captors but they may have gotten overboard with the realism too much because I've known wimpy kids that can outrun our protagonist any day.COMBAT
Alan Wake's combat focuses on the usage of light sources to solve puzzles and defeat enemies. Basically, the supernatural forces that are following you around has shields of darkness covering them and it has the power to influence even inanimate objects. Players have to burn the shields away with whatever light source they have in the surroundings or their inventory and shoot to kill. It's repetitive, it's gimmicky, but it also tenses up the player knowing that the enemies are immune to bullets until you burn the shield away - and the enemies gang up on you real good. They appear in front of you, in the sides, and out of nowhere unexpectedly and mostly midway on swinging their axes at you. Good thing that there's a dodge mechanic around but it uses up stamina as well (you should know by now where this is going). There are lots of times when you are faced with 5 enemies at once and it's up to you on how you'll handle the situation. It also doesn't help that enemies can be speedy (fast-moving enemies), big (basically a tank), and flying (Remedy's nod to "The Birds" by Alfred Hitchcock.)
While this is the only game that I've seen to have a very small number of weapons with 5 guns and 2 throwables available to the player, keep in mind that the setting of the game is in a quiet, Pacific Northwest town that's only visited by tourists during the annual deer festival. Having a limited number of weapons makes sense since the only other inhabitants of the town are hunters and the local police force. The only negative aspect with the weapons is how there's no actual variety to them aside from the ones that can one-shot the enemies. The revolver is the only outstanding weapon since it holds six rounds that can be fired in succession which is vastly different from the single-shot and pump-action guns which reloads after firing a shot.
Alan Wake is a very beautiful game and a far cry from the industrial and techno trend that's found in AAA games. Since most of the time is spent outdoors, Remedy actually put care in how they modeled the natural environments. Each rock is placed without repetition in mind, each tree is positioned in a way that won't block the scenic views and hinder the player's movements, and they blended the natural and industrial aspects of a frontier town very well like old decrepit buildings blending in perfectly with the overgrowth surrounding it or log cabins that sit atop lonely hills like they hold something mysterious.
The same couldn't be said for the facial animations and lip-sync though as these characters are some of the most unfeeling characters to grace the AAA scene. Sure, they express a little anger or happiness but that's only applicable to the protagonist since he shows up more in the cutscenes than the others - meaning that he needs to be forced those emotions or he'll suffer from player boredom and disinterest.
The protagonist must be a descendant of Max Payne because he comments on every situation and everything that he sees (a trademark of Sam Lake it seems). Anyways, just like Max Payne and Max Payne 2, Sam Lake's penchant for writing strong characters with emotional turmoil translates very well into Alan Wake. The protagonist writer has very clear goals and he wants answers to the unreality that's slowly enveloping his world. He's scared of the darkness and the possible outcomes that will happen to his story but he doesn't falter, he doesn't question, and he keeps his composure throughout. Alan Wake is one of those fictional characters that's somehow grounded on reality that almost everyone can relate to.
The story has a lot of movie and literary influences and references in it. You've got Stephen King as a frequent mention in the game, horror movies' essence that can appear in the game in a form or two, a villain that can join the ranks of H.P. Lovecraft's Great Old Ones, basically a mix of some of the greatest horror works to have been produced - and the result is perfect. While the game does run on dream logic and it keeps playing with the player's head, the game is still a charm to play and is definitely one of the best stories in the horror genre.
And there you have it.